Impressions: Duelyst

If this year’s E3 was anything to go by, 2015 may well prove to be the year of the collectible card game. All the big names seemed to have one, but none of them seemed to be able to tell you why theirs was the one you should play. For me, these johnny-come-latelys may have already been rather handily upstaged: none seemed to advertise anything like the ingenuity of the free-to-play Duelyst [official site], with its whip-smart mixture of card play and turnbased tactics, whereby you summon fantastical units to a gridded arena and duke it out until one general falls.

It’s in closed alpha at the moment, and I’ve been really enjoying it – though I feel I’ve barely scratched the surface of the strategies that are possible. Luckily, I’ve been able to pick the ample brains of Counterplay Games’ Keith Lee about Duelyst’s six factions, their varied tactics and the long-term ambitions to use the aggregated wins and losses of players to inform an ongoing epic narrative.

It’s a pacey little game, in which confrontation is ignited almost immediately and wraps up with the death of one player’s general in about ten minutes time. But though its bouts are short, its tactical depth is far from trivial, and each faction offers thrilling asymmetry and distinctive synergies between the various spells and units they can play. Of the many things I like about it, first and foremost is the fact that each player’s general is a physical presence on the board. Alongside cards that summon units and cards that cast spells is a third tier of cards: artefacts which allow you to empower your general alone, potentially making them a bulwark of the battlefield. But at no little risk: lose your general, and you lose the game.

“When we first started designing this game a year and half ago, we were playing a lot of games like Hearthstone and Heroes of Might and Magic,” says Lee. “We love those games, but we felt we wanted a game with very clear victory conditions. We didn’t want the player to have to calculate victory points like a board game, and we wanted it to be really intuitive and compress it into a short ten minute session. So we liked the fantasy of having a general, and decided he should be on the battlefield itself – it felt weird in Might and Magic that your general is abstracted out. The moment we prototyped this, it immediately felt more intuitive. And that opened up new opportunities: gear that only your general can equip. So do you keep your general at the back, or do I go in much more aggressively and put the general into the battle itself? It becomes a really interesting gameplay tradeoff.”

But even if you choose discretion, the game doesn’t really allow you much opportunity to turtle. In the centre of the board are three mana fountains – capture one of those tiles by moving onto it or summoning a unit there, and you’ll gain a boost to your mana pool for that round, allowing you to summon higher powered units earlier in the game than you otherwise might. Play too defensively, and you will concede this advantage to your opponent. But, equally, overstretching yourself early on, when you have few units to block opponents from reaching your general, can quickly lead to disaster.

Positioning is vitally important: you can’t move through enemies and can only summon units to squares adjacent to friendlies. Get blocked in, and you may well be screwed. I’ve played a bit as the Abyssian faction – one of their tricks is to summon a swarm of weak, nightmarish sprites, plonking one down after another in a single turn. You can quickly encircle an enemy and deny them movement, forcing them to waste their next turn swatting away your minions. A rather sinister, vault-dwelling people, the Abyssians have devised their own type of macabre magic: “They have an ability called Deathwatch,” explains Lee. “It triggers abilities and effects when any unit dies on the battlefield.” This can prove particularly devastating when used in combination with your swarms of fragile monsters, forcing the opponent to choose between paralysis and grudgingly springing your Deathwatch trap.

“They also have Shadowcreep,” continues Lee. “It can be planted on the ground and when enemies occupy that tile they get damaged.” Another faction, the Lyonar, favour close formations and can gain massive buffs when clustered – Shadowcreep is a nightmare for them in particular, Lee explains. “Drop a two-by-two Shadowcreep on them and now they have to move and spread their units apart.”

The Lyonar are nonetheless one of the hardier factions, and one of the few to riff on more familiar Western fantasy tropes, with their chunky plate-armoured knights. The Songhai are almost their opposite: “They’re more mage-like or rogue-like,” says Lee. “They have very high burst damage and spell efficiency, and more of an asian cultural vibe. Some Songhai units have the Backstab ability, so you do more damage when you’re behind an enemy, and prevents strikeback damage from your opponent.

“Vetruvian are like a Stargate cyber-Egyptian class. They have these immovable obelisks that they can plant on the battlefield that’ll continuously spawn enemies. They also have really powerful abilities like Blast, which allows a unit to hit all enemies in a straight line across the battlefield.

“Magmar are a combination of dragons and dinosaurs – a cool monster class. They have the Rebirth ability: if you’re able to kill a unit, they’ll leave an egg, and if you don’t kill that egg soon, a new form of that monster will come back. They also have Grow – every turn they get stronger and stronger.”

The final faction, the Nordic-themed ice-wizards of Vanar, are the most technical according to Lee, with lots of area denial, allowing them to conjure walls to block or funnel enemies, and tricksy spells that flip units’ defence and attack stats or return minions to the enemy’s hand.

Fortunately, there is help at hand to explain these many elaborate strategies: a codex, which combines both lore and gameplay tips, and a series of challenges “designed to let people experiment with different combinations in a guided way”, that quickly segue from tutorial basics to tough puzzles of procedure. The team are also looking to find ways of encouraging more experienced players to mentor newbies through guilds. And then there’s the progression system, which ensures you aren’t overwhelmed by the 300 possible cards from the get go, and instead unlock batches of skill-level-appropriate cards as you level up each faction.

Needless to say, this also provides incentive for the player to splash some cash to hurry that progress along. But as far as F2P economies go, this appears at present to be one of the less aggressive, with an ample supply of cards for each factions unlocked from the start. I’ll need to see how it plays out over the long term, but my feeling is that the ways you can spend money don’t risk distorting the game too badly: you can’t buy specific cards, only random batches of five, and there are plenty of ways to earn the in-game currency, too, through daily quests.

Counterplay Games will also sell cosmetic items for real world cash in the hopes of sustaining their development effort across the coming years. Lee says they’re in it for the long haul, and their narrative ambitions for the game suggest this is not merely puff. Normally, I’d be cautious about endorsing the necessity for an abundance of lore in a CCG – but here it’s a framework designed to support a rolling player-driven story, planned to unfold over the course of years.

“We’re going to create a system where the decisions that people make in the game will change and evolve the storyline,” says Lee. “If you come back to the game, let’s say, a year later, we’ll actually chronicle and catalogue the events that have occurred and freeze it as a book.”

The success of the various factions in the meta will be one of the contributing factors to the direction the story takes, says Lee. “We’ll also have an overworld map where people will start to take territories. And we haven’t announced this yet, but we do plan to have guilds and ways for friends to work together. We’re really interested to see how we can create these social constructs that allow players to self-organise and do cool things together.”

Lee cites Bungie’s Myth, The Black Company fantasy novels and the work of author Joe Abercrombie as tonal inspirations for their setting: a vibrantly imagined world composed of floating islands of rock, which orbit around a huge monolith, and align only rarely to allow land access to the centre. When this happens, the city states that exist on these floating rocks send emissaries on a pilgrimage to the monolith where they do battle to claim cores – a powerful energy source.

“It’s a very similar situation to the Tragedy of the Commons,” Lee says. “Each city state gradually transitions their entire focus from hoarding as many cores as possible to powering their continent’s anti-entropic field. So to avoid a cataclysmic war each nation agrees to a rigorous standardised set of trials and rules and tournaments to properly earn and distribute these cores. That’s a tenuous balance of power.”

I’m intrigued by the direction this is heading – but I’m more easily persuaded by Duelyst on the basis of its snappy, tactical combat, and the fact that the game exists not merely to service an old IP – like so many upcoming CCGs, MOBAs and other me-too genres – but appears to be attempting boldly novel things with its peculiar blend of mechanics. While the megabranded Star Wars and Elder Scrolls CCGs prepare to slug it out, it’s the Duelyst – smaller, sleeker and smarter – that may prove the more deserving victor.

48 Comments

  1. jasta85 says:

    I kickstarted this and had some fun in the alpha but going to wait until release before really diving in as they have done a number of wipes and large scale balance changes, it is pretty fun though. Definitely looking forward to this

  2. draglikepull says:

    I note that the article doesn’t mention that the game was originally funded through Kickstarter, where it was explicitly pitched to potential Backers as a game that would never be F2P; the pitch was the Backers were purchasing the full, complete game. Then they pulled a bait-and-switch and turned it into a F2P game after taking money for something else.

    From what I played of the game before they announced the switch to F2P, it’s fun and well-designed, but the way they lied to Backers and took money to build something other than the game they promised was (and remains) BS.

    • Phinor says:

      Aye, I kickstarted it as well but was going to wait until the release to try it out. When they announced the switch to F2P, I dropped the idea of ever playing the game. Hard to call it my first Kickstarter failure but in the sense that it’s no longer the product I backed, it kind of is a failure.

      Still, I hope it’s a success for them. I liked what they showed during the Kickstarter so it’s probably still on track to be that game, just with a business model that I won’t support.

    • ChairmanYang says:

      I’m hesitant to get into this game for exactly the same reason. I’m not sure I want to support a creator who explicitly sells his game with the promise of no F2P, and then, funding in hand, goes F2P.

      I’m also extremely skeptical that F2P won’t distort the game too badly. If it was just cosmetics or even pay-to-speed-up-unlocks, that would be one thing, but randomized packs? That’s a formula for whale-catching…getting people to pump lots and lots of money into the game with no guarantee of getting any particular cards. Hearthstone has the same model, and frankly, despite that game’s many qualities, it severely undercuts the game.

      There’s going to be lots of competition in this space in the next few years. The first game that gets the business model right (like a game that uses only Android: Netrunner-style pre-set, buyable packs) is going to get my money. It’s unfortunate that this game won’t be it.

      • malkav11 says:

        I’m going to go one step further: any digital card game that’s any good and uses a sane, LCG-style fixed set business model instead of a randomized collectible cash grab will get my money. Because the thing is, when getting into a card game is an up front, known price that’s a direct exchange of money for product (with no screwing around with aftermarkets or player trading), there’s room at the table for more than one. As long as it remains an infinite cash sink, that’s not really sustainable or practical for most people. Certainly not if you want to be competitive. Moreover, you’re going to get a very MMO-like effect where people will probably stick with one particular game because that’s where their investment of time and money was made and later games, even if they happen to be better, can’t really compete unless they’re -drastically- better. And most won’t be.

        I really wish companies pitching digital CCGs would take a good, hard look at what happened with tabletop CCGs back in the 90s when Magic hit it big and everyone else rushed out CCGs to try and get a piece of the action. Spoiler alert: it didn’t go so hot for 99.8% of them.

        • ExitDose says:

          I would kill for an online Netrunner with a good interface along the lines of Hearthstone.

        • Kitsunin says:

          Faeria doesn’t quite adopt the LCG model, but it does TCG without any form of transactions beyond purchasing the game, whatsoever. It’s not out yet, but it’s been in beta for over a year since the Kickstarter and they’ve shown no indication of changing it.

          It’s actually really, really great. My opinion is that a TCG or CCG style is perfect for progression, where playing the game gets you more cards (as opposed to money getting you more cards, boo) at a rate similar to NON-F2P games’ progression. So, you get some nice new options every few games, rather than every few days or tens of hours as it tends to be in “free” games.

          • Kitsunin says:

            Hard to say since they’re still drifting along based on Kickstarter success, but I imagine their long-term goal is to use the TCG style collection to retain players (maybe they’ll add foil cards to be traded into, so even once people have a complete collection (which didn’t take long at all when I last played) they will want to keep collecting).

            Then they can continue development by adding card packs in LCG style, but maybe instead of getting 100 cards up front you’ll pay to be able to buy packs containing those cards with in-game currency or something along those lines. Of course I have absolutely no idea if that is their intent, and right now they’re just focusing on making the game and its base set of cards great, but if you want to see some folks trying something different when it comes to the pay-system, keep an eye on Faeria.

    • tonallyoff says:

      quit complaining about kickstarter, everybody knows what they’re getting into over there and nobody cares

      • Hobbes says:

        That’s not a valid line of argument, and the whole bait-and-switch they pulled is the precise reason I dodged that Kickstarter. I had no interest in the kind of shenanigans they pulled.

      • Steven Hutton says:

        Actually I think the point is that no one knows what they’re getting over there. This specific game was pitched as a fair, competitive experience. People (including me) backed specifically because they promised to make a fair, competitive game where everyone would have access to all of the cards.

        Then the turned around and did the exact opposite. I’m so furious about this game.

      • draglikepull says:

        I’m not complaining about “Kickstarter” (I’ve backed several games on Kickstarter and generally been happy with them), I’m complaining about the fact that one particular developer lied about the game they were creating. This wasn’t a good faith “We tried our best but had to make some changes”, this was a deliberate decision not to give what was promised even though it was perfectly plausible to do so.

    • Sicariase says:

      That’s complete bull, they absolutely did not pull a bait & switch. I’m a backer too, & sure it was pitched as a non free to play game, but they waited a year before deciding to switch to a free to play model. After, I think it is important to note, Hearthstone came out. It was a move they thought they had to make in order to compete in a world where Hearthstone exists. I mean, lets be honest here, how many paid CCGs are going to be able to attract players now? Even free to play games are going to have a hard time.
      Am I disappointed that its free to play? A little, but its the same feeling for any game that’s gone free to play after I bought a copy. I really think its unfair to go around calling the developers liars. They actually never explicitly said anything about free to play, simply saying that it wouldn’t be pay to win.

      • Steven Hutton says:

        And now its P2W

        • Kronikle says:

          How is it P2W? You can’t even spend money on the game. They haven’t even officially announced how their cash shop is going to work. I’ve been playing for only a few months and I already have almost every card I want. The game provides a ton of opportunities to earn gold.

      • wraithgr says:

        So, money in hand, they decided to change the parameters of the product vs. what they had originally pitched to their clients. Call it whatever you like, it is not good practice and certainly does not inspire confidence.

        The only good thing I can say about them is that they offered some people refunds. I was happy to back this ks but I was even happier that I managed to pull out when this thing went f2p

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      drewww says:

      The idea that a game can support a meaningful long-term community without being F2P is a fantasy. Yes, they sold that fantasy and some people slurped it up. But it was nonetheless a fantasy and I’m proud of them for realizing it sooner rather than later because this is a gem of a game that deserves to do really well.

      There are two viable models for games that have ongoing major development over > 3 years:

      – monthly subscriptions
      – free to play continuous monetization of some variety

      The idea that a studio can sustain itself on an up front purchase is crazy. You have to re-run a major marketing campaign every time you need a cash infusion. You’ve seen steam sales graphs, right? There’s a huge spike and then … nothing. Until the game goes on sale. But you can’t support a big development team on that flow unless you’re aiming to release big packages of new content on a regular drumbeat. At which point, you’re in DLC territory which also drives purists nuts. Guild Wars is the one weird exception but that is essentially a subscription, just one that you pay in bursts at expansion time.

      Free to play means it’s easy for a small studio with a new IP to grow smoothly. Word of mouth is easier, the threshold for giving a novel idea a shot is lower, and all around player acquisition is easier. This is super mega critical for a multiplayer game because if a multiplayer game doesn’t have players, and lots of them, in every time zone, it dies. If matchmaking is too slow, it dies.

      Free to play is the only sane option in this genre to build a meaningful community and ongoing revenue source to justify development. Counterplay’s only sin in this was drinking their own koolaid too much during their kickstarter period and not thinking clearly about the future or believing in their game. If they followed the kickstarter model they would have at best had a burst of activity and money, and then had to start looking for another game and been unable to justify supporting Duelyst. Moving to F2P represents a commitment to a very solid core game that they’re betting they can build a company around for 5+ years.

      • ChairmanYang says:

        You’re absolutely wrong.

        Off the top of my head, the tiny teams behind Rimworld, Factorio, Minecraft, and some Paradox-published games like Cities: Skylines have built sizable long-term communities without F2P and without DLC (modding seems to be key here). They’ve sold well–enough to sustain years of development. Their “ongoing revenue source” is pretty simple; they keep selling copies of their games. And even if they suddenly stop selling, the creators have made enough to survive on for years without doing anything; and even longer if they do decide to do expansions/DLC (which, if done well, few people complain about nowadays). And after that, well…at some point, it’s okay if developers have to make new games to keep making money.

        I mean, even if all of that wasn’t true, the Duelyst devs lied, and deserve some consequences for that. But it is true, and you honestly sound like the Microsoft apologists saying the Xbox One’s initial disastrous direction (always-online, no used games, etc.) was inevitable, the way of the future, and even desirable. Nothing’s inevitable in the game industry, no one business model works all the time, and sometimes, chickens come home to roost.

        • Premium User Badge

          drewww says:

          Only one of those games is multiplayer and then only sometimes. You can continue to have a great time with Rimworld or Cities: Skyline or Factorio or Minecraft without a flourishing online community, so buying it in two years in a Steam sale is totally fine – you’ll get a great experience. Single developer games like Rimworld can survive on that cash drip, but there is no way Paradox doesn’t move on to a new Cities: Skyline SKU at some point inside 2 years. Look at what they did with CK:2 – they’ve been releasing DLC and expansion packs for years. I think that’s great! But is it really so different from F2P? The only critical difference is the upfront cost to get started playing one of those games, and I don’t get why people are so exercised about keeping that wall up, other than the “it’s not a full game” canard. No one cried about demos and shareware, why is this so awful?

          Multiplayer games require a certain critical mass to take off and you can’t get ignition without F2P.

          • malkav11 says:

            The difference is that with CKII, you pay once for each piece of DLC, you know exactly what you’re getting, and you only need to buy the bits that interest you. You could theoretically do F2P like that – have a starting game experience that’s free and then charge for fixed content DLC – but that’s not what any F2P CCG is doing, Duelyst included.

          • EhexT says:

            There are still servers running for the DEMO of Battlefield 1942. If you don’t fuck your customers over you can easily have long term success without going F2P.

        • malkav11 says:

          And let’s say they didn’t manage to generate the sort of steady sales that’s allowed continuous development for the same single price for the games you mention. There are still plenty of revenue models that involve charging a fair price for fixed content packs released on a regular basis without requiring either an ongoing subscription or doing free to play money makers like randomized content packs or consumables, etc. But those models don’t have nearly the same potential for spraying cash all over the developers, so they’re not exciting enough, I guess.

          • Premium User Badge

            drewww says:

            The LCG model in an online context is definitely interesting and I imagine they thought about it. I’m not aware of anyone having done it, so it would represent another risk. How do you feel about Hearthstone’s PVE content? That seems pretty close to what you’re asking for and I think is part of Counterplay’s plans too.

            I guess I just don’t understand how to construct bright lines of right and wrong in designing games like this. Would it be okay if you could pay real money for a complete faction set? Does trading change things? What if you can buy specific cards? Is Magic a manipulative design too? What if I wanted to start playing Netrunner now, is having to buy data packs where I only want a few cards but have to buy the whole thing fair? How do you feel about Warhammer? The holy war against F2P is just perplexing to me. If you don’t want to spend money in these ecosystems, so be it – most people don’t. But arguing that there is something fundamentally unpure about F2P seems to miss the forest for a few bad trees.

          • malkav11 says:

            It’s not a matter of right or wrong, or of F2P being “impure”. You could argue that some implementations of F2P are unethical, and I might support that idea, but that’s not what I’m discussing here. I think promising one business model when doing a Kickstarter and then settling on another after you’ve already taken backers’ money is uncool, but if you provide full refunds on request then it’s not the end of the world. But I do think that the randomized content pack model for card games of this sort is one that’s unfavorable to consumers, often bad for the design of the game and ultimately bad for most companies that try it too, while being incredibly lucrative -if- you happen to be the game that gets traction. The problem being that there’s historically only really been room for that sort of success to happen to a handful of games tops, because most people can’t afford to invest in more than one or two games with that sort of business model and as you say, community is a huge factor in this sort of game surviving. And yes, Magic is the ur-example of this business model, both the myriad ways in which it’s bad for consumers and the game design, and in the giant buckets of cash that come when you’re the one that caught on.

            The randomized model is bad for consumers because you don’t know what you’re getting for your money and it is an essentially infinite money sink, and it’s bad for design (a lot of the time, anyway) because if there are any tiers of rarity (and there nearly always are), there’s an inherent drive to make the rarer cards more “special”. Ideally this isn’t just a straight correlation of rarity = power, but even if rarer cards are simply more “fun” and weirder, you still have the best toys arbitrarily held back from most people’s collections. The aftermarket can address this to an extent, but then you’re at the mercy of other people’s notions of value and you can expect to spend absurd amounts of money on the good stuff.

            The fixed content model is much more intrinsically fair to everyone involved because it is a straight exchange of a known quantity of money for a specific set of content. No weird aftermarket fluctuations, no card scalpers, no gouging, and no luck. Yes, you might have to buy some content you don’t want in order to get content that you do, but since you know both ends of the equation you are free to judge for yourself whether that exchange is fair for you. There’s still plenty of room for the developers to set prices that are higher than a given customer is willing to pay, of course, but again, you know what they’re asking and whether you’re willing to pay is up to you. With the random model, you are tossing money into a well and perhaps someday you’ll get what you want. Perhaps.

            As for Hearthstone’s Adventure packs, the player vs AI content seems extremely limited and stingy and the price way too high for my tastes, but in principle I am interested in both player vs AI content and fixed distribution cards. I just don’t think Blizzard have the formula down right. Also, it’s kind of an all or nothing thing. Having a few cards that are guaranteed doesn’t do anything to fix the issues with the randomized card distribution system that remains the primary source of cards in Hearthstone.

            Finally, for the most part the LCG model is so far unexplored in the digital space (I guess Spectromancer could be kind of considered to be close, and I think there are a couple of others), but I don’t think it’s accurate to suggest that it’s any sort of real risk given that it’s been a proven success for a bunch of different games in the physical card game space, including a number of games like Netrunner and Doomtown that died on the vine as CCGs. If it can be said to be one at all, I’d say it’s certainly much lower than the risk of trying to be the top dog among an already crowded digital CCG market in a business model where only the biggest players get anywhere.

    • VoxelHeart says:

      You forgot to mention something too. They offered full refunds for anyone who backed the game after they announced the switch to free to play. They didn’t “lie to backers and take their money to make a different game.” If you purchased from the kickstarter and like a refund, I think you can still get one due to their highly helpful support. The developers are really friendly, and I enjoy talking to them in their public chat room.

      • SkyChief says:

        Hi Voxel!! :) SkyChief here…fellow Songhai comrade. Unless you switched factions.

    • TWOpies says:

      Meh,
      As a Kickstarter I feel this was the best move they could make and the indignant response regarding the issue is BS.

      The game as it is now is way bigger and better than they originally set out to create and thus the form in which they want to present and sustain it has changed. And it was always a grindy card pack buying fest.

      Evolution and change is key to a quality product.

      I’m extremely excited to see how it evolves and grows as they can ideally now keep a team on it full time, a la MtG or Hearthstone tuning and releasing expansions.

      • Hmm-Hmm. says:

        That doesn’t change the fact that they promised one thing and then go and do another. Was it wise to make that change? Maybe, but then it was very unwise of them to make that particular promise. Or maybe just devious, in case they just wanted to get more money and don’t care about their backers.

        Either way, there’s sufficient reason for backer dissatisfaction. That doesn’t say anything about the final state of the game when (or if) it releases, but that doesn’t mean people have to be happy about it.

  3. neoncat says:

    I got in on the alpha… it’s definitely an interesting, fast-paced tactical combat game. However, when I last checked in (back in May) there were lingering problems with the grind to unlock uber-powerful uber-rare cards. The gameplay was incredibly fun when everybody was using low-level underpowered cards, because the tactical advantage accumulated through decisions rather than the inherent strength of cards.

  4. BluePencil says:

    The developers say they love Hearthstone “but wanted a game with very clear victory conditions”. Er… the victory condition in Hearthstone really isn’t difficult to grasp.

  5. Cockie says:

    Chromatic abberation on pixelart?
    Why?

  6. tonallyoff says:

    FYI tabletop game genius and Rab Florence’s favourite Eric Lang is working on this.

  7. MadFox says:

    wait is there going to be a new star wars ccg?

    • tonallyoff says:

      hearthstone rip off
      link to slashfilm.com

      • MadFox says:

        This hurts. Seriously, just try to copy netrunner or doomtown or vampires ccg or dune ccg or any of the lcgs. Why would you copy hearthstone on mobile devices, which are already overflowing with the same type of ccg when you can copy another ccg which doesn’t fight for market share?

  8. Terics says:

    I was kinda bummed out how much this felt like Hearthstone. It also did feel nearly tactical enough for me. I basically wanted some weird Final Fantasy Tactics type thing but this is not it.

    • VoxelHeart says:

      I hear what you say, it kinda bummed me out too. They mentioned it’s on the lines of “70% CCG, 30% Tactic Game” on the forums, but when I first played I was a little bummed out too. Still though, it’s a great game if you’re looking for a CCG with a twist.

      • Captain Narol says:

        Terics and Voxel, if you want a TCG game with deeper tactics than Duelyst, please try “Conquest of Champions” :

        link to store.steampowered.com

        It’s a FTP Early Access game very similar to Duelyst in concept and made by some people from the original team that designed Pox Nora. It’s already well polished, I discovered it by accident a few days ago and I’m already hooked on it !

        • Kronikle says:

          There seems to be quite a lot of negative reviews for Conquest of Champions, the main ones being that it’s incredibly pay-to-win and live matches can take up to an hour to finish. What makes this game have “deeper” tactics than Duelyst?

      • Captain Narol says:

        Terics and Voxel, if you want a TCG game with deeper tactics than Duelyst, please try “Conquest of Champions”.

        It’s a FTP Early Access game available on Steam, very similar to Duelyst in concept and made by some people from the original team that designed Pox Nora. It’s already well polished, I discovered it by accident a few days ago and I’m already hooked on it !

        • Captain Narol says:

          Sorry for the double post ! (not for the necroposting as I hadn’t discovered that game yet when this article was posted)

  9. Raiju says:

    This is pretty simple; Go play Yomi instead. Also kickstarted, but not F2P, and much better designed card game. UI is rather crap, but doesn’t detract from the fun.

  10. SkyChief says:

    This game is great!! I’ve been in the pre-alpha for 3 months and it’s been a blast . It’s true that they changed their minds on the one time purchase model but I know they made available an option for disgruntled backers to have their money back. That at least is fair enough and no robbery. I’m actually happy for the F2P model ‘cos I’m in West Africa Ghana (online transactions is clunky and uncommon) but got a free key (thanks Keith) to try out the game. The slight downside NOW to the game is the way it hogs memory but plans have been announced on forums to roll out a desktop client in the coming weeks. I’ve seen Hearthstone and it’s magical but Duelyst is the next step in tactical card games!

  11. Kitsunin says:

    By the way, it’s pretty easy to get your hands on a key anyone is particularly interested.