So the other day I started playing a new Strategy RPG game called Deck of Ashes which is a card based battler game in the style of Darkest Dungeon. This is a roguelike game with a clear campaign and story for each of the characters and you can unlock another chapter if you can complete the main campaign with each character.
Deck of Ashes on it’s normal mode has permadeath and as with any roguelike elements are randomized and you start over from the beginning after each death hopefully more wiser and prepared than you were than the last run. It took a few plays and deaths to start learning how to optimize my card deck for a more strategic win and you have to balance between cards that heal your character, damage your enemies or cause a lasting effect like bleeding, poison…etc on your enemies.
Watch a Former Live Stream of Deck of Ashes Card Game Play
Much as you would use strategy when playing something like IDN POKER in Deck of Ashes you have a hand of cards and have to strategically decide how you want to play them, including whether or not you want to redraw cards at the end of your turn or hold them in your hand and combine with new cards that are drawn. Unlike Darkest Dungeon you only have 1 character in this game in a combat, but you have a pool of “mana points” which are used as action points, cards have a point cost associated with them and often you can play several cards per turn depending on how you build your deck and the mana points of the cards. Each chapter in the story centers around you collecting resources and building up your character and deck before the boss of the land finds you and attacks you. You can scavenge the overhead map, mine resources which you can use for character upgrades, find recipes which you can craft into new cards with ash, and even explore a dungeon which has bigger rewards and more danger. Your character gets a pool of resting points after combat which you have to wisely and strategically decide how to spend on either recovering health or restoring cards back into your deck as each card you play goes into the ash pile. Some cards have effects when they are in the ash pile so those cards you want to leave in the ash pile.
When you run out of cards to play in your deck you have 0 point cost ash cards that will drain your health to do various effects, including one that restores 5 random cards from your ash pile but does 15 damage. You can also increase character stats, buy one time use items, and even pay to have yourself resurrected if you die from the shaman. Cards can even be upgraded to have greater effects, and the game has really captivated me after my first stream and I can’t wait to play it more.
So far after playing for around 2+ hours I am using the Pyromancer class and I have managed to beat the first chapter and am quite enjoying it, and while there are some reviews on the game showing there are bugs or complaining about the story I found it to be more engaging than Slay the Spire which is one of the most popular turn based card battler games out there. Now I will say after a few plays the amount of cards available is limited, but these are unique to each character you play and you can still vary your play style with the same character, so overall I am pretty satisfied with the game as a time filler as I am someone who has 1600+ hours in a roguelike permadeath space strategy game called Star Traders Frontiers which I also play very often.