It’s a really great game, in my opinion, held back a little bit by some technical and usability issues. To get those out of the way first:
- There’s some slowdown on certain maps when a lot of creatures are deployed, which doesn’t seem justified given the perceived GPU load. There’s also some visible tearing at different times during the game, which is ugly.
- There are some silly usability things like not being able to pan/examine the map when you reach a map junction (so you need to plan where you want to move in advance), and areas where it’s difficult to determine who/what a card will affect. (Typically these are cases that depend on the number/type of land owned by a cepter — as far as I can tell, there’s no easy way to get that information apart from examining the map and counting manually.)
The upside of the game, in my opinion, is still pretty high. I’m struck by how differently the game plays for me versus Sandy, just based on the compositions of our decks. I have built most of my decks around turtling strategies, with creatures like Leshy (who improves his land every time he survives a battle…before tolls are taken, which is awesome), Poseidon (who gives +20 HP to defenders), Rahab (+10 HP for blue/yellow creatures), Borgess (+20 HP for neutral creatures), Fontaciel (who can keep boosting the HP of all of your creatures), and a few of the Wall creatures. I try and avoid going on the offensive by using spells like Fog (and the Burnacle’s territory ability, which is the same thing) and Peace to reduce the tolls I have to pay, and fighting only when necessary. The Telegnosis and Find spells allow me to manipulate my territories at my leisure, and zip through my deck to find the cards that I need. When I have to fight, I try and muster the best items and penetrating attacks that I can, which are usually enough to do the trick. I can sit tight, zip around the board, and wait for the computer cepters to inevitably land on some of my high-toll lands, and it’s over.
Sandy, so far, has had to use more of a mixed deck and play more offensively than I have. She used offensive spells to take care of powerful enemies and take their land — I don’t believe I have very many (good) spells like that, so it’s interesting to me to see a different style in play. I have no idea how many cards I’m still missing (I suspect there’s still quite a few that I haven’t seen or obtained), but between that, my still hazy understanding of the symbol system in the game, and the fact that I haven’t yet played online, I think there’s still a lot more gameplay for me to experience.