Said at one point I'd make a thread for it and vomit some rambling on it, so here I am.
Most basic gist is it's a singleplayer deckbuilding game. Where it differs from something like Slay the Spire or Dominion or Ascension is rather than having a razor-sharp design, Erannorth's a big sloppy mess that somehow still works. It's hard to accurately describe it even after putting some 20 hours in, but the game's got so many little moving parts it's easy to write some off completely, and after you put more time into the game those useless sub-mechanics have a bit more weight to them.
As a basic example, cards can level up in Erannorth. Similar to the system in Griftlands, each time you play a card that card (All instances of cards with that name in that particular run/character) gains experience, and when it levels up some of the values on it will improve a little bit. Fairly straightforward, means your early shit cards tend to get stronger because you're using them a lot early game. But a card can only level up to it's "Tier" which is a vague estimate of a card's power level, so while your tier 1 Slap might seem to be dealing comparable damage to that tier 3 Punch you just got as a reward, your Slap card may be fully leveled and won't improve while the Punch has room to grow. Beyond that, every single card will have associated "Types" on it. A Shield Block card may have the Blunt type on it. That can leave you scratching your head when you start playing because Blunt is a damage type and Shield Block is a completely defensive card, but an extremely common mechanic in Erannorth is cards adding synergies and damage to the next card you play. So you may play a card that gives +3 damage to your next card, then you play Shield Block on an enemy like an attack and it deals Blunt damage which your character has perks to enhance so you did 7 damage on top of defending yourself with the card. All of this rambling is extremely basic mechanics that apply to basically every class and card in the game, I'm not even getting into specific mechanics for any of the classes or races (Since races have their own unique card pools as well, some of which play well with certain classes).
On top of all THAT while I'm rambling about neutral mechanics, your character has stats, can gain XP and level up which gives you more stat points and access to perks. The stats aren't as exciting as they may appear at first glance, rarely (If ever) do your stats have any influence on text-based events that show up on occasion, but stats DO influence your offensive and defensive capabilities (Increasing damage with certain types, increasing maximum hand size, increasing AP (Essentially mana, what you spend to play cards) cap and generation, increasing your resistances to different types, etc) and, importantly, can influence how some cards behave. Monk is a prime example of a class that leverages that a lot, as some of the monk's cards benefit from extremely high agility letting you chain a continual string of cards off of it, while other monk cards benefit from low agility. The perks tend to be more of a gamechanger since you can get more sizable bonuses out of them. I tend to find that waiting a level or two to gain cards and look over my deck before locking in the kind of deck I want to build via perks is beneficial. Especially if you don't know a class/race yet. Perks can also give you "Skills" which DO occasionally give you options during the text events. There's also a whole side-mechanic for picking factions which is largely DLC related which I won't even go into since I'm not very experienced with it. There's also equipment, which tends to work by reducing your AP gained each turn and either gives you certain flat bonuses (Armor typically giving you damage reduction against certain types of damage) or in the case of weapons, giving you a weapon attack card in your hand every turn. There can be times when you wouldn't want a weapon equipped so you're drawing as many cards from your actual deck as possible, but there's also a benefit to knowing you'll always have at least one decent offensive card a turn for example.
And finally for basic mechanics of the game, there's one of the weirdest parts to me, the enemies. The enemies in Erannorth tend to be mechanically fairly simple, often running the basic tactics of "Offense if I'm in good health, specialty at mid-health, and healing or defensive shit if low health". Enemies in Slay the Spire for example tend to be simple as well, but different enemy types will have very clear strengths and weaknesses and you tend to build your deck specifically around dealing with them. In Erannorth you basically build your deck without too much concern about enemies and focusing on your own strengths. Even though that sounds like Erannorth should be easy, it can bite you in the ass. You might encounter flying enemies when your deck hasn't got any ranged cards for example so you just flat out can't hurt them and have to desperately change your deck on the fly, you might get hit with a ton of poison stacks, you might face more enemies than you can reliably deal with in a single hand of cards and they start nibbling away at you, you could be a bleed/poison based deck and come up against undead that are immune to bleed and poison, you could find an enemy that stacks a ton of retribution and smacks you every time you try to attack, etc. Even though the enemies are simple and they aren't as clear to understand as something like Slay the Spire things can turn around after the first few levels.
I'll start wrapping it up here since the game's so damn strange that even rambling here, rambling to a few buddies, and thinking about it myself it's still a strange game. I'd recommend it to people who enjoy deckbuilders, but make sure you're a degenerate card-fondler because I don't think I'd recommend it to anyone casually dipping their toes in. The funky card art and UI and the occasionally clunky writing and rules put up a bit of a barrier to entry and even once you start digging in, it leaves me feeling conflicted. It's enjoyable, it does give you that satisfying feeling when a deck and character start coming together and you're stomping the shit out of encounters, but when I sit back and try to think about why I enjoy it the best answer I can come up with is because you get that positive feeling from when a deckbuilder comes together and it's in a game as messy and sprawling as Erannorth, which gives it a unique flavor. I didn't even get into the millions of play formats, some of which include fairly linear runs more like a StS run where you're picking up cards on the go, and some of which are draft modes, and one which is like a weird pseudo-Shandalar where you travel around a map and go on adventures. The jumbo adventure mode puts a little more emphasis on your character learning skills via perks but it's also a little less exciting than playing one of the more linear modes since your character advances a little more slowly and you can try to get certain cards as rewards from specific locations, and specific locations also let you partially control what sort of enemies you'll be facing. Avoiding undead-sounding locations if you're going for the aforementioned poison/bleed kind of a character.
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