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Trials Of Fire is turn-based strategy with deckbuilding and post-apocalyptic ethics

Sometimes, press releases just throw as many words as possible at you and see what sticks. Words like “vast procedural overworld adventure”, “multi-character deck-driven combat”, and even “recurrent tactical optimisation”. That last phrase makes me want to stick my head in a bin, but “deck-driven” has been grabbing my attention ever since Slay The Spire sucked up 300 hours of it, so here we are.

Trials Of Fire is an upcoming turn-based strategy game, announced yesterday by Whatboy Games. That’s a new indie studio formed partly from people who worked on the Batman: Arkham series, so hopefully super-slick punching translates into… oh god, we’re going to have to figure out what more of those words mean. And watch a nice trailer.

It’s set in a “post-cataclysmic” fantasy world, where said cataclysm has turned the deserts to glass (a bit like what real nukes do). Horrible, but pretty.

Pretty, but not informative.

The actual game has you exploring a procedurally generated overworld, usually getting into fights. You give commands to your heroes using cards drawn from a deck, while at the same time moving them around a board, a la something like Duelyst. That “recurrent tactical optimisation” waffle refers to how heroes also come equipped with weapons and items, and the claim that “discovering one new epic weapon could cause the player to rethink their entire strategy!” Interesting if true!

Even more interesting are “Judgement” encounters, where you make moral decisions in the context of a post-apocalyptic world where normal justice systems have broken down, and default moral assumptions along with them. That’s very much my jam.

It took me far, far too long to realise, but it also has permadeath. Proper confirmation of that is mysteriously buried in the early access part of the Steam blurb, where Whatboy also mention that they plan to spend 12 months adding more classes, cards and modes before the full-fledged release.

Trials Of Fire launches on May 3rd in early access. More (confusing, buzzwordy) info can be found on Steam or Whatboy’s website.

I’m quite keen to give this ago, despite everything.

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Matt Cox

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Matt is the founding member of RPS's youth contingent. He's played more games of Dota than you've had hot dinners.

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