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Digital trading card game Hex: Shards of Fate loses its publisher

Almost 4 years after signing on to help publish Cryptozoic and Hex Entertainment’s F2P online TCG, Gameforge Entertainment is stepping away from the game and leaving it in the hands of its creators. …


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Top Of The Table – Bloodborne: The Card Game

Licensed board or card games don’t carry the same stigma as they do in the video game world. In video games, a licensed release has some preconceptions to overcome, thanks to years of lackluster cash-ins. In the tabletop world, some of the finest games every year are adaptations of existing properties from movies, comics, and video games. The recent release of Bloodborne: The Card Game joins the ranks of excellent card games that do justice to the video games they’re based on. Publisher CMON has put together a high-quality release that ensures a tense and action-packed game session for three to five friends, and a whole session plays in a little less than an hour. 

Designer Eric M. Lang has a prolific history in adapting big-name properties like Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and XCOM. He has a talent for recognizing what makes a given franchise or world distinct, and then bringing that concept into the mechanics of his games. That’s especially true with Bloodborne, in which Lang has zeroed in on the fierce encounters between Hunter and monster, and found ways to emulate the quick pacing and constant character death that characterized the original video game. 

Rather than try and retell the story of the video game, Bloodborne: The Card Game deals with an adventure into one of the Chalice Dungeons, the sprawling underground ruins that are chock-full of both dangerous encounters and big loot rewards. The player group works together to bring down the monsters they uncover in the dungeon, but the game is only partially cooperative. At the end of the game, only one player can win by having collected the most blood echoes, and escaping to the surface. 

In order to manage that push and pull between working together and fighting for the most echoes, the game focuses on risk management as each subsequent monster encounter unfolds. In each battle, you choose whether to contribute to doing damage, usually by playing a weapon card, or whether you will withdraw from combat into the Hunter’s Dream. By doing so, you take greatly reduced damage from the fight, you get all your health and resources back, and you bank all your currently collected blood echoes, but at the cost of the blood echoes you might have collected in that round of battle. 

Death is a constant threat. Even low-power monsters have the potential to completely devastate your health dial. That’s because there’s no sure way of knowing how much damage they’ll inflict. Custom dice are rolled to indicate how much damage is dealt to every Hunter involved in the conflict. But several sides of each die indicate a symbol to “roll again.”  If you have the bad luck to remain in a fight when the monster happens to roll a big damage number, then you die, and all the blood echoes you haven’t banked are lost. Your character immediately comes back into the action in the next round, but you’ve lost a lot of progress toward winning. I love the way this dynamic emulates the feel of playing the Bloodborne video game, and moments where I found myself plagued by indecision about whether I should continue into the unknown, or hobble back to safety to save and power up. 

Every player starts with an identical set of weapon and item cards to get going, but both dying and returning to the Hunter’s Dream location provide opportunities to draw new upgrade cards, including familiar items like the Kirkhammer, Ludwig’s Rifle, or the Molotov Cocktail. It’s here that the real strategy begins to unfold, as your card choice in each round lets you maximize benefit to your Hunter while often simultaneously hampering or hurting other Hunters. A ranged weapon might let you get in that last hit on a boss (and collect his blood echoes) before another character who played a melee weapon. Perhaps you throw out an explosive that does damage to both Hunters and monsters, but the action is especially devastating to your low-health competitor. The strategic choices are also aided by your memory; cards come into play face-up, and remain that way after being used. If you can track and recall which items any one player has in their hand, you can gauge the risk posed by their potential actions.  

Bloodborne’s dark themes and intentional betrayals aren’t going to be the right fit for every gaming group. And there’s no doubt that the game will be best enjoyed by folks who are familiar with the source material. But neither of those facts are enough to sway my strongly positive impression of Bloodborne: The Card Game. Action moves quickly, and the any given game is over in time to let the loser hop in for another round and try again. The high-quality cards and other components do an admirable job of honoring the original video game, and it’s great fun to test yourself against infamous foes like Vicar Amelia or Rom the Vacuous Spider. And the constant threat of grisly death lends the same tension and thrill that made the digital incarnation so frustrating and entrancing. If you and your buddies nurse fond memories of your adventures through Yharnam, as I do, then I’d encourage you to check out this new adventure beneath the beleaguered city. 

For other tabletop recommendations, including selections for the best games that released in 2016, hop over to the Top of the Table hub by clicking on the banner below. If there are other games you’d like to recommend, or you just want to chat about tabletop games, feel free to drop me a line by email or Twitter, available through the links below. 

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Test Chamber – The New Yu-Gi-Oh! Mobile Card Game Looks Promising

If you had told me 2017 was the year I'd play Yu-Gi-Oh! again, I wouldn't have believed you. But with the number of digital card games hitting the market recently, I guess it was only a matter of time before the card game with the best-dressed and most stylish characters saw a good mobile entry.

To see how the anime-based card game has adapted to mobile, Daniel Tack, Javy Gwaltney and I sat down to see how the free-to-play Yu-Gi-Oh!: Duel Links speeds up the classic card game, throws in some interesting progression hooks, and does its best to relive the nostalgia of the first Yu-Gi-Oh! anime series.

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For more Test Chamber, click the banner below, or check out our hub.

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Top Digital Card Games Of 2016

The world of digital trading card games sees plenty of entries each year, so there are many options to pick from. 2016 had many options to pick from – whether they were released in prior years, or in some form of alpha or beta, you have plenty of great choices. Here are some of the best.

Hearthstone
Blizzard’s entry into the card game world still has it, and with the recent Mean Streets of Gadgetzan expansion you can get into the mix with new strategies without having to track down old cards. With weekly tavern brawls and daily quests, getting your collection going is much easier than when the game initially launched. We’ll probably continue to see Hearthstone imitators for years and years to come. Check out the review for the original game here.

Shadowverse
This stylized anime-infused brawl shares some similarities with Hearthstone, but featyures aspects that make it interesting and different as well. With an evolution system that makes timing your plays a critical part of the strategy and a wealth of classes each with unique cards and mechanics, Shadowverse has lots to offer. You can watch us play a few games in this episode of Test Chamber.

Duelyst
Duelyst offers a more tactical take on things than many digital card games with a board to move your units around and a leader that must be protected in the playspace. If you’re looking for something closer to a “miniatures battle” experience rooted in cards, Duelyst might be the right choice.

Gwent: The Witcher Card Game
The classic mini-game from The Witcher 3 works surprisingly well as a standalone card game, with a few necessary tweaks to make it work. Watch us play a few matches in this episode of Test Chamber!

HEX: Shards of Fate
With heaps of single-player campaign content to go along with all the standard drafting and competitive play that most digital card games offer, HEX continues to get great updates and additional cards.

The Elder Scrolls: Legends
While it’s not quite the same as traveling around Skyrim and completing quests, Bethesda’s big IP does a great job at serving up card-slinging action. Watch us work the arena in this episode of Test Chamber!

Eternal
Featuring five factions and cool mechanics that take advantage of the digital backdrop, Eternal’s mix of gunslinging and magic is compelling. With dual-faction cards and a resource system that hearkens back to Magic:  The Gathering instead of Hearthstone, card game enthusiasts will find a lot to love here.

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Test Chamber – 20 Minutes Of Gwent: The Witcher Card Game Beta

The Witcher 3's mini-game Gwent was a popular favorite for those seeking additional adventures amidst tavern mugs and tournament halls, and next year it will move into a full-fledged game experience as a competitive standalone card game.

The beta is available now and if you sign up it's likely you'll get an invite during the course of testing, tweaking, and balancing. Gwent: The Witcher Card game will hit major consoles as well as PC, with Xbox One and PS4 both on the platform list.

Join Daniel Tack and Wade Wojcik to get a glimpse of how the sidegame translates to the real game in this episode of Test Chamber!

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Pokémon Website Goes ’90s For New Trading Card Game Expansion

The Pokémon TCG is releasing a nostalgia fueled expansion called XY – Evolutions complete with reprints of cards from previous sets. It's only fitting that their website took a trip down memory lane as well.

The Evolutions set includes more than 100 cards and there will be two theme decks (Pikachu Power and Mewtwo Mayhem) available for purchase from Toys R Us and GameStop today. The decks will be available at other retailers on November 2. The expansion is also available in the digital edition of the TCG starting today.

The site itself contains a couple wonderful nods to the past when sites had guestbooks and silly music. You can visit it here or check out some images of it below.

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U.S. Residents Who Bought GTX 970 Graphics Card May Be Able To Claim $30 Settlement

Last year, some customers who bought an nVidia GTX 970 graphics card found it wasn't quite performing to standards. As it turns out, it was because the card had a dedicated 3.5GB of video ram instead of the advertised 4GB.

As a result of this false advertising, nVidia had to settle a lawsuit for lying to its customers, as Ars Technica reported. Part of the settlement involves paying out $ 30 to anyone who bought a GTX 970 from September 1, 2014 to August 24, 2016. Today nVidia set up a website, gtx970settlement.com, where users can submit their request to receive $ 30 as part of the lawsuit. The other part of the settlement involves paying out $ 1.3 million in legal and attorney fees.

As the Ars Technica report points out, the $ 30 number amounts to 8.6 percent of the price of each card (Which sold for around $ 350). The missing difference in horsepower (0.5GB of video ram) amounts to 12.5 percent, meaning customers would have had to receive about $ 44 dollars to have been fully compensated for the difference. The customers in the lawsuit claimed as much, but the eventually settlement came down to $ 30.

Anyone eligible for a settlement payout has until November 30 to file their request for a payout. They can also send a letter requesting to opt out and sue nVidia on their own, file a comment in support or against the settlement, or ask to appear in court about the settlement.

[Source: gtx970settlement.com via NeoGAF]

 

Our Take
I know a couple people who bought 970s, though I don't think they noticed the difference in horsepower. It's a shame customers are only getting about 70 percent of what they're owed, as false advertising can have huge implications on unknowing consumers.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

U.S. Residents Who Bought GTX 970 Graphics Card May Be Able To Claim $30 Settlement

Last year, some customers who bought an nVidia GTX 970 graphics card found it wasn't quite performing to standards. As it turns out, it was because the card had a dedicated 3.5GB of video ram instead of the advertised 4GB.

As a result of this false advertising, nVidia had to settle a lawsuit for lying to its customers, as Ars Technica reported. Part of the settlement involves paying out $ 30 to anyone who bought a GTX 970 from September 1, 2014 to August 24, 2016. Today nVidia set up a website, gtx970settlement.com, where users can submit their request to receive $ 30 as part of the lawsuit. The other part of the settlement involves paying out $ 1.3 million in legal and attorney fees.

As the Ars Technica report points out, the $ 30 number amounts to 8.6 percent of the price of each card (Which sold for around $ 350). The missing difference in horsepower (0.5GB of video ram) amounts to 12.5 percent, meaning customers would have had to receive about $ 44 dollars to have been fully compensated for the difference. The customers in the lawsuit claimed as much, but the eventually settlement came down to $ 30.

Anyone eligible for a settlement payout has until November 30 to file their request for a payout. They can also send a letter requesting to opt out and sue nVidia on their own, file a comment in support or against the settlement, or ask to appear in court about the settlement.

[Source: gtx970settlement.com via NeoGAF]

 

Our Take
I know a couple people who bought 970s, though I don't think they noticed the difference in horsepower. It's a shame customers are only getting about 70 percent of what they're owed, as false advertising can have huge implications on unknowing consumers.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Astro Boy Digital Card Game Takes Off With Kickstarter

The iconic legacy of Astro Boy heads to Kickstarter today in digital card game form, with Astro Boy: Edge of Time. Active Gaming Media, Tezuka Productions, and Macoto Tezka are aiming for a $ 50,000 goal to bring Astro Boy to the digital table.

The collectible card game is planned to launch on PC and Mac. Console releases are being considered as stretch goals.

Astro Boy: Edge of Time takes the characters from Osamu Tezuka's works and transports them to a completely new world. Players can build decks and play against other players or the AI in 1v1 matches. Gameplay takes a positional "row" approach where cards in the offensive lane can attack the enemy but are unable to defend, and cards in the defensive row can defend but not attack.

Ranked and unranked online competitive modes will be available. You can check out the Kickstarter campaign for more.

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Our Take
We've seen a deluge of digital card games come rushing to replicate the success of titles like Hearthstone, and as with many others, it remains to be seen whether this will be a powerful addition to the congested DCG market or a forgettable replica riding on the back of a somewhat obscure IP for this day and age, at least in Western circles. I'm going to hope for the best and see what happens with the Kickstarter.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Astro Boy Digital Card Game Takes Off With Kickstarter

The iconic legacy of Astro Boy heads to Kickstarter today in digital card game form, with Astro Boy: Edge of Time. Active Gaming Media, Tezuka Productions, and Macoto Tezka are aiming for a $ 50,000 goal to bring Astro Boy to the digital table.

The collectible card game is planned to launch on PC and Mac. Console releases are being considered as stretch goals.

Astro Boy: Edge of Time takes the characters from Osamu Tezuka's works and transports them to a completely new world. Players can build decks and play against other players or the AI in 1v1 matches. Gameplay takes a positional "row" approach where cards in the offensive lane can attack the enemy but are unable to defend, and cards in the defensive row can defend but not attack.

Ranked and unranked online competitive modes will be available. You can check out the Kickstarter campaign for more.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

 

Our Take
We've seen a deluge of digital card games come rushing to replicate the success of titles like Hearthstone, and as with many others, it remains to be seen whether this will be a powerful addition to the congested DCG market or a forgettable replica riding on the back of a somewhat obscure IP for this day and age, at least in Western circles. I'm going to hope for the best and see what happens with the Kickstarter.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed