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Card-Based Trials of Fire - card-based tactics in a post-apocalyptic fantasy world

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https://www.whatboy.com/game/




https://af.gog.com/game/trials_of_fire?as=1649904300

Trials of Fire, a cool-looking strategy game with deck-building and tabletop-ish aesthetics:

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Trials of Fire is a single player, turn-based strategy game set in a post-cataclysmic fantasy realm.

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The threat of starvation and conflict are never far away as Trials of Fire combines free-form exploration of an expansive open world, multi-character, card-driven combat and an innovative new fusion of loot, load-out and deck-building systems delivering massive depth of play and unique strategic opportunities for the player on every run.

Trials of Fire also features an extensive range of narrative ‘judgement’ encounters where the player is challenged to weigh moral dilemmas in a lawless world, assuming the roles of judge, jury and (often) executioner.

The tactical rogue-like design, procedurally generated game events and expanding gallery of playable characters and abilities challenges the player make every decision count as they journey across a dying world… in search of hope.

The hope that will save your forsaken people, the hope to survive in the desolate and dangerous wastelands, the hope that you and your party of heroes will live to fight again and to see the dawn of a new day.

Key Features
Multi-Character Deck-Driven Combat
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During combat encounters, the player is able to issue commands to each Hero based on their draw cards. The random draw of cards presents new and interesting challenges at every turn and it is up to the player to consider their best immediate tactical choices via positional play and to optimize their offensive and defensive capacities while taking advantage of any available card synergies that may have arisen in the draw by combining the unique abilities of their three heroes.

Recurrent Tactical Optimisation
Optimisation.jpg


At any time between combat encounters, the player can tweak their character’s loadout of weapons, items and gear and in so doing alter their card-defined abilities. The player has the option of assigning resources across their heroes and interchanging items in order to maximise the effectiveness of the triad. New items and weapons are acquired when scavenging in ancient ruins, or looting an encampment after an ambush and so the player is constantly challenged to consider the optimal state of their party’s load-out. Discovering one new Epic weapon could cause the player to rethink their entire strategy!

Vast Procedural Overworld Adventure
Overworld_v2.gif


Players will traverse an immense overworld map, choosing their heading and defining their own adventure as they embark upon a journey across a vast and varied wasteland in a perilous hunt for resources critical to the survival of their home settlement. The threat of ambush and skirmish are never far away as the player’s triad of heroes do battle with the roaming denizens of the wild, monsters of lore and legend and the unforgiving lands of the realm of Ashe.
 
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Infinitron

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Codex Year of the Donut Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Pathfinder: Wrath I'm very into cock and ball torture I helped put crap in Monomyth
https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/...-rpg-a-card-battler-and-a-lovely-digital-book

Trials of Fire is an RPG, a card-battler and a lovely digital book

Trials of Fire is a video game that is also a card game, a card game that is also an RPG, and an RPG that is also a book. This last piece is surprisingly important when it comes down to how lovely the whole thing is to interact with. The book is a great fiction. The game's title screen is stamped on its cover, and the early pages - the front matter, as they say, wonderfully, in the trade - is where you find tutorials and party stuff and all of that other front matter jazz. Adventures see you turning pages as you make choices, overworld maps or battle arenas rising out of the paper itself. When you want to go back or forward or muddle around with your equipment you can use bookmarks to get you there. Books, it turns out, even when they're digital books like this, are pretty great technology.

And the choice of a book isn't accidental. Trials of Fire takes notes from the likes of FTL as it tells procedural stories that unfold as you move from one node to the next. In Trials of Fire these nodes crop up as question marks as you shunt your party around a map, and each node gives you a bit of narrative - just a few paragraphs generally, but more than FTL or many of its followers opt for. Choices crop up quickly, and there are plenty of chances to scavenge for food or take a rest - hunger and tiredness being the things you're generally managing as you set off across the game's scarred landscape following any of its quests. There are also battles, growing in difficulty as you work your way closer to the story's goal. The battles, reader, are wonderful.

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Each party you take out on an adventure is composed of three people - classes, I guess, ranging from spellcasters and archers to melee specialists. Each class comes with its own cards, three of which are dealt at the start of each turn. That means that you have nine cards to play with each round, although you won't be able to use them all. Some cards come with no costs, while others need a certain amount of Willpower - the game's version of mana - in order to be played. This can be built up by binning off cards, so there's a bit of tactical stuff in the mix from the very start.

Binning off cards also allows you to move your characters (there are also specific movement cards just for this), and movement's the second layer of combat to think about. While the cards detail your attacks and spells and buffs and whatnot, you also need to think about your positioning in the game's top-down battle arenas. Line of sight is important. Magic attacks come with specific areas of damage. Melee requires you to be right up next to the person you want to give a lamping to. It sounds complex, but it's actually very easy to get your head around. The fun it creates is complex, but in the best way. It's a laboratory of magical violence as you work out how to maintain tempo and unleash combos.

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When the battle's done, you get to level one of your party, and the game's sharpness is on display here too. Levelling means you get a new card, but you also need to make room for it in your deck, which means getting rid of a card too. Decisions! Thrift!

Beyond this are main-quests and side-quests, equipment (more cards!) and loot and crafting. And there's always hunger and tiredness to take into account as you work out when and where to settle down for the night, and whether or not to risk a battle just to get some food. Trials of Fire is early access (presently only four classes are included, though four more are on the way) but it's already extremely slick, as you'd probably expect given that the small team working on it is built around a core of ex-Rocksteady staff. What I love about this game is how busy it already is. It's the work of a developer throwing everything into the pot. You could say, I guess, that they've thrown the book at it.

https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2019/05/07/trials-of-fire-early-access-review/

Premature Evaluation: Trials Of Fire

90
90
90
90


Premature Evaluation is the weekly column in which Steve Hogarty explores the wilds of early access. This week Steve went on a post-apocalyptic deck building quest inTrials Of Fire, but failed to save a servant from stoning.

Trials Of Fire, besides having such a generic sounding title that you forget it every time you’re not looking directly at the words, is a turn-based, single-player, deck-building, choice-driven, procedurally-generated, top-down, role-playing strategy game, set in a post-cataclysmic, dark fantasy world. It’s part The Road, part Tolkien offcuts, as you guide a miserable band of fighters through a blasted wasteland in search of a series of Emerald MacGuffins that will reignite a fallen civilisation and bring balance to the something something.

Familiar questing tropes aside, this is really good. The world is presented as a thick ledger, a beefy tome of a storybook that when cracked open reveals the landscapes and battlefields on which your little dudes do all of their adventuring and scrapping. Pencil sketches extrude themselves into stone arches and crumbling ruins, rising out from the page like a psychedelic pop-up book. Inventory and equipment screens are found by leafing back and forth through bookmarks and tabs. The unwavering dedication to this nested reality perspective is impressive, and from the title screen to the moment you quit back to the desktop, the game never pulls away from the vantage point of standing above a book about the time three people went on a big walk and got into a bunch of fights with rat people.



This is a deck-building thing, which means that fights shake out by playing cards from your hand that enable you to move, attack, cast spells and buff your boys and girls. The battles are arranged like hexagonal chess games, your fighters represented by chunky counters that can be moved around the playing area either by activating movement cards, or by discarding cards to give you the willpower needed to get around the board. Each fighter draws three cards from their personal decks at the beginning of each turn, each with varying willpower costs associated with playing them, and it’s up to you – the reader – to decide which cards are discarded for willpower, so that others can be played.

Cannibalising your drawn cards to feed your team is a strategic balancing act that prompts you to think tactically and to consider your next few moves in advance, as the limited supply of willpower is shared among your three fighters. By way of example: you’ve got an archer, whose basic deck includes cards that will boost his ranged damage if played before an attack. So if mister archer man were to draw the card that lets him take a couple of steps before attacking with plus one damage, alongside a card that lets him fire an immobilising shot, you’d likely want to sacrifice a couple of your sorceress’s spell cards to let him realise his ambition of moving and attacking in the same turn. Similarly, your wizarding sorceress can pop off a powerful and expensive magic fireball attack that pretty much requires that the rest of your team stands perfectly still and watches. Your third fighter is a warrior, whose deck is jam packed with spicy melee attacks, and needs to navigate herself to enemy-adjacent tiles to do any good.


Your deck evolves as your fighters level up, with the option to swap out old cards for new ones, and decks remain small enough to stay manageable for even the most dim-witted of card strategist. Everyone’s got two movement cards, for example, so when presented with the opportunity to add a new card that say, moves four spaces and adds two points to your defence stat, it’s pretty obvious which card you should replace to keep a balanced deck. Or, if you’d like to tune a fighter to be a little more agile, you could stack their deck with more movement cards to ensure they have more opportunities to draw them.

On top of that basic set, any weapons, accessories and armour you equip will add one or more cards to your deck. This is the meat and veg of the deck-building exercise, and higher grade weapons will often come with downsides that have to be mitigated by adding some balancing cards into the mix. My archer found a fancy Met Gala robe that turned him into a willpower-generating engine, but doubled any damage he took from baddies. By slipping a few defence-boosting cards into the deck, I turned him into a sort of armoured cheerleader, whose job it was to hide in the bushes and shout encouraging things at his teammates.



That’s the card fighty bit. On top of all that there’s the overworld, another tile-based map across which your crew must adventure in search of their precious orbs or whatever. There’s permadeath and a survival element to contend with here, as your food supplies are constantly dwindling and must be topped up by landing on glowing event tiles, which present you with a few paragraphs of story and some moral choices to fret about, usually ending in combat. Go hungry or fall off a cliff, and the game starts feeding useless fatigue and injury cards into your deck, tripping you up in battles until you can make camp and rest.

This part of the game is a wall to wall miseryfest, the kind of unrelenting bleakness that would make Cormac McCarthy himself wince, with diseased caravans of emaciated refugees dragging their dying children across the wasteland in search of water, or rat bandits torturing their prisoners to death in abandoned villages, or a friendly wizard who got crushed under a big rock on his birthday.



Nothing very nice is happening in Trials Of Fire. On one particularly grim occasion, I was given the option to rescue some unfortunate servant who was about to be stoned to death by an angry mob, by starting a fire in the woods and shouting that a dragon had done it. But by the time I’d created the diversion and returned to the village, confident that my cunning plan would work, the guy had been stoned to absolute ribbons in my absence. Just a big pulpy mess of servant smeared across the town square. No card in the world could piece him back together again.

Trials Of Fire strikes a refreshingly desolate tone in its storytelling, and nudges you towards selfish actions, or at least non-interventionist ones, especially once your resources run low and your empty stomach and broken legs start to poison your deck with fatigue cards. If the knife-edge, house of cards survivalism of roguelikes appeals to you, then this deck-building tour of a ruined and unwelcoming fantasy landscape will be right up your morose little alley.
 
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Galdred

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Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag.
Anyone tried this? https://store.steampowered.com/app/1038370/Trials_of_Fire/

Looks like the game Knights of the Chalice 2 wishes it could be, but mainstream media - RPS and Eurogamer - are fellating it quite rapidly, so I'm wondering who they know on the development team.

Perhaps I'm just cynical, though. Steam reviews are also pretty good.

I'm not into the cards aspect of it.
Some board games had good deckbuilding aspects (Starcraft or mage knight for instance), so this could work. Actually, it definitely sounds like Mage Knight (or Gloomhaven), so we cannot rule out the game being good. But I would really like to hear how different it plays from Slay the Spire, or Dreamquest.
 

Projas

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Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag.
Looks coolio, would try if Druidstone wasn't coming out tomorrow. Will prob. try at some point and report back if no one else does.
 

Dickie

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Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag.
Looks coolio, would try if Druidstone wasn't coming out tomorrow. Will prob. try at some point and report back if no one else does.
Did you ever get around to trying it? I just got an email saying it was on sale, but I have no memory of adding this game to my wishlist. Checking the Steam page shows weekly updates, which is promising.
 

Projas

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Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag.
Looks coolio, would try if Druidstone wasn't coming out tomorrow. Will prob. try at some point and report back if no one else does.
Did you ever get around to trying it? I just got an email saying it was on sale, but I have no memory of adding this game to my wishlist. Checking the Steam page shows weekly updates, which is promising.
Kinda ended up forgetting about this tbh. Perhaps one day. It does look interesting though.
 

Dickie

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I went ahead and bought it. I like it. If I took the time to write out why I like it, would anybody care to read it?

The short version is that the combat is interesting, especially for card games. It's nothing like Monster Slayers or Slay the Spire where your goal is to generally make decks that allow infinite plays per turn. It's more about using the few cards you have in the most effective way. Discarding cards is the primary way to generate the resource you need to play cards, so you usually can't even play the 9 cards you get each turn (3 for each character).

I like this tactical approach that makes your decisions in battles feel more engaging.

There's a big update coming in the next two months that'll supposedly make some big changes to the non-combat portions of the game, but I already think it's worth the money. I've put 43 hours on it, and it's still interesting to try things.
 
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Dickie

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Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag.
Have you played Gloomhaven? Does it compare?
I haven't bought the board game because I don't buy legacy games. I haven't played the PC version because I watched a trailer and it looks like just a bunch of slow-ass animations in the trailer. Sorry, I can't compare.
 

J1M

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Looks like the same mechanics as Card Hunter, but with better abilities and more money put into the art.
 

Dickie

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Huge update released today.

Trials of Fire Power Creep Update (v0.60) Release Notes
(English version only).

Good afternoon all,

WE’RE BACK!

This update focusses on replayability by further differentiating the Hero Classes and giving the player more ways to tweak and customise their loadout as you progress through each adventure.

There are lot of changes to get through in this update, so buckle up.

As always, let us know what you think on Discord. On with the changes….

IMPORTANT: Leaderboard Warning
  • Once we’ve got in a bit of balance data on the changes from the community, we will be doing a reset on all leaderboards to reflect the updated mechanics.
  • The plan is to do this in 2 weeks from today (on 31st July). Will post an update if anything changes.
Big Changes

Talents
  • Each Hero now has a unique Talent which replaces the Soul Scarred talent from previous versions. A Talent is a once per turn ability that is triggered under certain conditions.
  • Mouse over a Hero to view their Talent description and try to make the most of the Talents every turn!
Power Cards
  • Power cards can now be played on any Hero and not just the Hero that brings them into battle. Use this to your advantage to protect or buff specific Heroes and try out new combinations of abilities.
Line of Sight and Movement
  • Friendly characters no longer block movement or Line of Sight for ranged attacks. This gives a bit more room to manoeuvre and position without blocking off your other Heroes.
  • You can also preview Line of Sight to any space by holding down Alt or the Right Mouse button on the arena.
    • Yellow: Any character standing in this space can see.
    • Green: Only friendly characters standing in this space can see. (Blocked by friendly.)
    • Red: Only enemy characters standing in this space can see. (Blocked by enemy.)
Upgradable Cards
  • Many cards in you deck can now be upgraded to make them even more effective.
  • All item + class cards (Basic, Action, Power, Summon and Heroic) are upgradeable through a few new methods.
Levelling Up
  • When levelling up a Hero, you will now have the option to upgrade a card in your deck rather than swapping in an advanced card.
  • Both Basic and Advanced cards can be upgraded so there are always options to improve your deck when levelling!
  • Beware, though, you no longer gain any Health when levelling up.
Camping Changes
  • When camping, you can now use the crafting materials you find to upgrade your items – along with all their Skill Cards.
  • In addition to healing injuries, Mystic Herbs can now be Meditate to either upgrade or remove a card from one of your Heroes’ decks. Find them in towns and forest areas to help refine your deck.
  • Crafting items directly is no longer available.
Content Updates
  • 2 new item types have been added, Dagger & Robe, to further differentiate the classes a bit.
  • Full review on in-game text to edit and abbreviate. Get into the action more quickly.
    • All the lore is still there in hyperlinks/mission briefs for those who wish to dive in.

  • Endless Odyssey now presents a whole new challenge.
    • Once you have run through all the standard boss tiers, you will start encountering multiple bosses at each objective!
    • See how far you can progress.

  • Combat Run is currently disabled whilst I incorporate the new progress/camping mechanics.
    • Should be back up and running in next week’s update.
Other Changes
  • You can now Fast-Forward the enemy turn by holding down [Ctrl] when they are playing.
  • All Side Quests now grant a Level Up upon completion in addition to any other reward.
  • Updated Burning Effect to, ‘Suffer 2 Status Damage at the end of your turn or whenever you suffer Magic Damage,’ to make it more interactive.
Cataclysm Difficulty Updates
  • If you’ve got this far then you are one of the hardcore so this is for you!
  • Cataclysm 1: All enemies gain +15% health.
  • Cataclysm 2: Enemy team gets +1 WP every turn.
  • Cataclysm 3: 50% of Bosses' cards are upgraded.
  • Cataclysm 4: Less health regained from resting and consuming food.
  • Cataclysm 5: 50% of Elites' cards are upgraded.
  • Cataclysm 6: Bosses gain an additional +35% health.
  • Cataclysm 7: 50% Standard enemies' cards are upgraded.
  • Cataclysm 8: Bosses draw 1 additional card every turn.
  • Cataclysm 9: All enemies gain an additional +20% health.
  • Cataclysm 10: All Bosses' and Elites' cards are upgraded.
Chinese build will follow in a week or 2.
 

Infinitron

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Codex Year of the Donut Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Pathfinder: Wrath I'm very into cock and ball torture I helped put crap in Monomyth
Coming April 9th.



https://www.pcgamer.com/trials-of-fire-review/

TRIALS OF FIRE REVIEW
An irresistible card-based roguelike.

On paper, Trials of Fire is everything I despise. I don't like turn-based roguelikes. I don't like card battlers, and I really don't like anything involving hexagons—the Poochie of the shape world. Trials of Fire features all of these, which in any sensible reality makes me the last person who should be reviewing it. But if you've looked out the window lately, through the haze of coronavirus toward the icecap-melting sun, you'll have noticed reality died on the way back to its home planet some time ago. As such, I'm unsurprised to discover that Trials of Fire is flipping excellent.

Set in a blighted fantasy land where wild Conans would happily graze, Trials of Fire sees you pick a trio of adventurers from an eventual pool of nine, before embarking upon a series of set quests across procedurally generated maps. Trials of Fire is presented in literal storybook fashion, with the game map sketched across the pages of a hefty sword and sorcery tome, while your characters are depicted as pop-up paper figures who scroll across the cracked roads and dusty plains of Ashe.

Between you and your key objectives are regular points of interest, ranging from small settlements to ancient ruins, cursed temples, prowling monsters and spooky forests. Encounters are initially presented in journal format, with the game describing the situation before offering a range of choices. Sometimes these choices require a skill check that results in a reward if successful, or damages your characters if you fail. Other times, your decisions will trigger a fight, in which case the world map disappears, and a top-down, 3D combat map rises from the book's pages.

Combat is a blend of turn-based strategy and fierce card duelling. The map is hex-based, with both your party and your opponents represented as beefy, colourful counters that slide toward one another, occasionally taking shelter behind the sprinkling of cover across the map. On your turn, your characters draw three cards each from their respective deck, which vary widely depending on their class. The default characters are Rastin, a hunter who specialises in ranged combat, with a sideline in summoning, Jarrah, a damage-dealing melee fighter, and Malkin, an elemental mage.

What's immediately striking about Trials of Fire is how good the combat feels. When you drag out one of Rastin's ranged attacks to target an enemy, an arrow flies out from his counter and thuds into your opponent, causing it to skitter on its space like a spun coin. When a character is killed, their counter bursts like a grenade, scattering shrapnel across the board. Trials of Fire does a fantastic job of evoking the abilities on the cards, which goes a long way to selling the game to a CCG sceptic like me.

Yet while this makes Trials of Fire more immediately engaging, it isn't what makes it special. That would be how cards simultaneously act as abilities and a resource. By default, playing a card requires you to spend a resource known as willpower. There are a handful of cards that generate willpower such as Advance, which also enables you to move forward. But the primary way of acquiring willpower is to sacrifice cards in your hand. This pool can be drawn from by all three party members unless you're using willpower for movement, in which case the sacrificed card must come directly from that character's deck.

Hence, of the nine cards in your hand, only around half of them are likely to be played in a standard round. You must figure out which cards to play and when. Jarrah might be your main damage dealer, for example, but it often takes her a turn or two to get into close range. So do you focus your efforts on pushing her forward, or spend your willpower on Rastin's and Malkin's ranged abilities?

The tactical scenarios that result from this are gripping, with each new hand bringing new challenges. The card battling is further bolstered by how the RPG systems tie into it. Winning battles and completing quests levels up your characters, letting you either upgrade cards in your current deck, or replace them with new, more powerful abilities. Similarly, new weapons and equipment will also expand your deck. A breastplate might provide defensive cards like Bulwark, which adds +7 to your defence when played, while a new bow might give Rastin the Headshot ability, which will instantly kill an enemy if the attack drops them to 3 HP or less. The real treasures, though, are the cards that provide free actions, extra movement, and particularly those that let your play more cards. My favourite card is probably Teamwork, which, when used on an ally, draws an extra card into the player's hand for every card your ally plays.

Yet the RPG elements can also work against you. Travelling across the world map tires your party out, and the more tired your party is, the more your deck will fill with cards like Fatigued and Exhausted, which serve no purpose other than clogging up your hand. Similarly, too much time spent exploring will diminish party morale, meaning you can't scour the land for every scrap of loot.

Balancing survival with progress is one of the game's main challenges, especially since reaching a quest objective usually triggers a tough boss fight that will test your affinity with your deck. If your party gets wiped out, the quest is over. This can be a little galling, especially if you're near the end. But both the main Trials of Fire quest and the subsidiary Lore quests are designed to be completed in two-to-four hours. Meanwhile, failure still grants experience, unlocking new cards for your existing party, and new characters like the Witch, who specialises in stealing enemy cards and using them against your foes.

For a game that borrows so many different ideas and mechanics, Trials of Fire is impressively seamless. The only area where it could be more consistent is the art. For me, the depiction of Ashe as this scoured and blasted land doesn't entirely gel with the bold, boardgame-like colours of your counters and cards. I particularly dislike the ludicrously chunky buttons on the game menus, which look like a soft toy will pop out the screen and sing a nursery rhyme if you push them.

More broadly, the storytelling suffers as a consequence of the game structure. While not startlingly original, Trials of Fire's wild and desolate fantasy world is convincing, while the encounters are written in pacey and engaging prose. Yet the quests themselves are straightforward MacGuffin hunts, while your party characters have little personality outside of battle. Admittedly, this is in keeping with classic sword and sorcery fiction, which tends to prioritise eventful action over character development. Nonetheless, once you've completed the main Trials of Fire quest, you've more or less seen what the game has to offer narratively, and while there are other quests available, it'll be the new cards and new characters that keep you playing.

Overall though, these are minor blemishes. Trials of Fire is a taut and muscular RPG roguelike that successfully distils the action and mystique of sword and sorcery into card battling form.

THE VERDICT
85

TRIALS OF FIRE
Trials of Fire's list of features may read like a videogame word salad, but the resulting combination makes for a fine RPG feast.
 

Dickie

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Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag.
is this good
I like it. I've logged about 80 hours on it. I just fired it up for the first time in a while, and it's fairly different from last time I played it. So far, it seems harder, but that could just be because I went straight to Cataclysm 1 after resetting all my progress. There are unlocks of classes, cards, and basic starting items, but you can toggle an option to just get it all from the start if you don't like the grind. The classes offer a fair bit of variety, and you get to choose 3, so it's got some good replayability even if you skip the unlocks.

I think giving your guys a reason to move around during combat is important for a good tactical game, so that's why I focus on that in this post. If you hate card games, I'd skip this one, but if you like card games, it's different enough to be worth a look.

Positioning is very important, so it's not just your guys running straight across the battlefield to clobber the monsters. A key mechanic of the game is combo attacks when a melee attacker has an ally standing next to the target, and that ally has no other adjacent enemies. Even the warrior will be clobbered in short order if she gets surrounded on the enemy turn without any of your other party nearby. Also, movement from one space adjacent to an enemy to another space adjacent to an enemy spends all the movement from a card, so it can be really tough to get out of a pack.

There are cards with pushes, pulls, flight, and "this movement ignores enemies" effects. There's AoE to keep you from wanting to bunch up all the time, obstacles to get around, chokepoints, battle effects like random lightning strikes that are telegraphed 1 turn, and so on. Ranged attacks have infinite range but can be blocked by obstacles. Magic attacks all ignore obstacles, but most have limited range. Melee attacks do the most efficient damage, but are obviously more risky.
 

Andhaira

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Just found out about this; I normally loathe the card aspects that have been plauging cRPGs over the past half decade, but this looks really good. Only other flaw I can see is that it uses tokens instead of real models/animations/sprites. But looks a lot of fun...is the storyline any good/worth getting invested?
 

Dickie

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Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag.
Only other flaw I can see is that it uses tokens instead of real models/animations/sprites.
I actually like the tokens and the way the game looks like a book turned into a board game. One fun thing to do is see how high you can get enemy tokens to bounce. They bounce higher the more damage you do in a single attack.

.is the storyline any good/worth getting invested?
There's a tiny bit of story on each adventure, but the adventures are only 1-3 hours each, and you're expected to replay them a lot. I don't think it'd be a good game if you need a strong narrative element. It's your typical post-apocalyptic setting with mutants, raiders, and slavery. I mean, the first adventure is to find a water chip gem to save your village...
 

Andhaira

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Only other flaw I can see is that it uses tokens instead of real models/animations/sprites.
I actually like the tokens and the way the game looks like a book turned into a board game. One fun thing to do is see how high you can get enemy tokens to bounce. They bounce higher the more damage you do in a single attack.

.is the storyline any good/worth getting invested?
There's a tiny bit of story on each adventure, but the adventures are only 1-3 hours each, and you're expected to replay them a lot. I don't think it'd be a good game if you need a strong narrative element. It's your typical post-apocalyptic setting with mutants, raiders, and slavery. I mean, the first adventure is to find a water chip gem to save your village...

Are the spellcaster classes unique in their spells or is there any overlap?
 

Andhaira

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Ok broke down and got it. Got wayy to much on my plate already but couldn't resist, alsot each run is about 1-3 hours after which your party resets, so it could be good for pick up and play.
 

Dickie

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Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag.
Are the spellcaster classes unique in their spells or is there any overlap?
I realize you already bought the game, but to answer this question for anyone else, the spellcasters all have unique cards in their class deck, but equipment also gives you cards. Each class has six specific equipment slots, though, so the cards from equipment are completely available to every class.

The different spellcasters do have different uses for sure. The witch is all about making enemies discard cards (extremely helpful for bosses), the elementalist is more about direct AoE damage, and the alchemist has lots of cards that create random cards, but the cost to play them is reduced. I guess the warlord is sort of a caster in that she can be set up with no cards that actually attack and just buff other characters or grant them bonus actions, even though she gets some decent weapon and armor slots.

Since cards can always be discarded for movement, gaining defense, or gaining willpower (resource to play cards), the alchemist isn't as bad as you'd expect. He also gets a power (semi-battle-long buff) that gives willpower when you play a card that creates cards, so he can actually get into a situation where he's gaining willpower repeatedly without even using up his hand.
 

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https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/...iew-seduced-by-sculpting-the-perfect-rpg-team

Trials of Fire review - seduced by sculpting the perfect RPG team
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Trials of Fire is a complex but seductive deck-building strategy game about sculpting the perfect RPG team.


Trials of Fire is a powerfully seductive game. It pulls on a desire to sculpt a perfect RPG team, to have them gleam in the best equipment and have them wield the strongest powers, and to see them work together in beautiful synergy. I find few things more pleasing in an RPG, and I bet you do too, and Trials of Fire knows it.

But rather than make you play for tens of hours to achieve this, Trials of Fire condenses everything into around one or two. Everything's still there, all the hallmarks of an RPG adventure - picking a team, journeying across a map, battling, levelling, looting, dilemmas, bosses - it's just squished into a much shorter period of time. Short enough to play again and again and again. And you will: it's a very hard game to put down!

But it takes time to get to grips with. It's because it's three games in one. Fundamentally, it's a card game, a deck-building Roguelike, so you get one collective life to see how far you can get. Everything you do in battle is powered by cards. You start with a basic few, and upgrade and swap them as you level. But cards also come attached to equipment, and the better the equipment, the more there are attached to it. So as you equip, your arsenal builds, but as with any deck-building game, more is not always better, as it lowers the chance of drawing the cards you most want to use.

Then, there are grid-based, turn-based battles, where your characters and the enemies are tokens. The important part here is these tokens need to move around the grid (by using movement cards) to get in range for spells or melee attacks or whatever you have up your sleeve. They're specific. And if you're surrounded by enemies, it can mean death because of triggered combo strikes, which can whittle you down, so movement is very important.
Each round, each hero draws three cards, and you use a collective pool of willpower to use them. Enemies do the same. You can recycle a card (get rid of it) for extra willpower and/or defence, too. Therefore, in addition to movement, things like willpower, card-draw, defence, and obviously attacks, become key things to consider, and there are myriad cards and powers that play off of them.

The third part of the game is exploration. This literally takes place on the pages of a book, where battles eye-catchingly pop up and out from the page when triggering them. The whole game is presented as a book, which you open when you load it up, the suggestion being, I think, that there's a new story awaiting you each time you play. And there is a new story for each mission you take on, nothing too absorbing, but it adds nice flavour to the game.

While exploring, you direct your team around a map, stopping at question-mark objectives while pursuing a golden main-quest arrow. These points of interests can be a number of things: battles, shops, dilemmas of a kind. And what they are depends a lot on how you interact with them. A group of ratlings are forcing some humans to hand over their possessions. Do you want to intervene? It will mean a battle. Do you want to ignore the humans and trade with the ratlings? It will mean a shop. Or do you want to move on and ignore the whole thing entirely?

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The map and battle screens. The battle arenas literally pop up out of the page. It's very cool.
These question-mark locations are also, crucially, places to rest, because as you explore, you become tired, and if you let yourself become too tired, it will begin to affect you in battle. You need to use a food resource to rest regularly, at which point you can do some upgrading. But if you run out of food, you won't be able to rest, and then things really start going pear-shaped.

Another important gauge is your determination, which falls the further from your main objective you get. It's there to put pressure on your side-exploration. Venture too far afield and get caught behind a mountain range, for example, which I have done, and you may end up losing all determination and giving into despair. And it's game over when you do.

So there are lots of elements working together in Trials of Fire to make one whole, and even 30 hours later, I still feel a degree of not quite knowing what I'm doing, or how something actually works. But therein lies the difficulty curve in a game like this, I suppose: a strategy mastered over many playings, not a few.

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There are inherent skills and then those attached to items. You can also suffer injuries and traits, for dying and over-exerting, and other things, along the way. This one is actually quite helpful.

It can be surprisingly difficult, too. There's a wicked deceptiveness to it sometimes, almost a kind of trap for player arrogance, in how you can wade into battle, late in a campaign, feeling nigh-on invulnerable, only to come unstuck by a pack of harmless-looking enemies you grossly underestimated. They don't even appear to do anything special, but somehow by working as a team, they methodically and efficiently surround you and take you down. And by you I mean me: this has happened to me a lot, and it is crushing. That moment the tide turns and I know I'm done for: it's like a stone of dread dropping in my stomach. And I've tried quick-quitting to trick the game into thinking the battle never began, but no! It remembers.

But I've also succeeded. I've posted high scores, which I think is the point of it all in the end: finding the team that will propel you to greatness. And win or lose, you'll still unlock new cards to use next time, and it's not the last you'll see of your champions either. You can choose teams you've created to take on other challenges, such as boss rushes, to see how many of the bosses you can beat in a row. I wish other RPGs did this.

So there's faff in Trials of Fire but the appeal is strong and simple. I don't mind that it's broadly the same thing over and over, with a similar kind of story, because I'm not really paying any attention to it anyway. I'm paying attention to the mechanics, to the combinations, and to making this one my team to remember.
 

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