February 17, 2015

Hand of Fate

Lasting First Impressions

When a game developer boasts that they are going to make a game that is a hybrid of several different genres, the chances of such a game going horribly wrong are great. Fortunately, this can’t be said about Defiant Development‘s Hand of Fate, the Kickstarter funded hybrid Rogue-like/Action RPG/Tabletop/Deck Builder game. That description may sound like a daunting game to play, but it presents itself in a very approachable and appealing way.

Hand of Fate Screen (5)

In Hand of Fate, you are an adventurer who has challenged a master card dealer to a duel. In order to duel him directly, however, you must first challenge and defeat each of his twelve lieutenants. In a simple twist on standard face cards, the lieutenants and minions that can be fought are named such things as the Jack of Dust (Clubs), the Jack of Bones (Hearts), and so on. Cards such as the two or three of Dust are minions of that quantity that must also be defeated in battle. These cards are shuffled into a deck consisting of enemies, equipment, weapons, and event cards. They are then dealt onto the table in a sort of dungeon path that must be traveled one card at a time.  In short, imagine your deck of cards, which can be customized as the game progresses, as both your randomly drawn path and your DM in a game of D&D.

Hand of Fate Screen (2)

Your player token moves from one card to another, each time revealing the card stepped on which could be anything from an ambush, to an event, to a shop to purchase items. Encounter cards give you choices like those in an RPG. For example, I came across an Elf Maiden who would grant me more Heath, more money, or more food, and the choice was mine. Another card may give you the choice to attempt to retrieve a sword from a corpse. In this sort of event, you must choose one of 4 cards revealing either a Success or a Failure.  Success would grant you a new weapon while a failure will grant nothing.  Other card encounters could reveal traps or enemies and this is there the action in Hand of Fate comes in.

The action phase is a fairly standard isometric battle arena with controls not unlike those found in the Batman Arkham series.  Attack and roll are standard moves given as you battle the enemies to the death. If you were lucky enough to uncover or purchase a shield, however, countering the enemy’s attacks becomes available.  More advanced cards revealed throughout the game can also grant you special abilities such as throwing daggers simultaneously in eight different directions.

Hand of Fate Screen (3)

Hand of Fate is not unlike playing a tabletop RPG like D&D.  Only this time, your deck will determine both your path and the events you encounter on your way to defeat the Card Dealer’s 12 lieutenants before taking him on directly.  As the game progresses, new cards will be revealed that contain tokens. If you successfully complete the event on the card, the token is yours to keep, but only of you manage to reach and defeat the boss on that stage.  Any tokens collection then become “booster packs” containing more cards.  Before entering any new dungeon, you have the opportunity to completely customize both an Encounters Deck and an Equipment Deck of 12 cards each.  The Encounters deck is what will make up your dungeon floor plan (along with a few unknown card thrown in by the Card Master), while the equipment deck will give you a random weapon or armour as the encounters reward them.

Hand of Fate is most certainly a unique combination of game styles that truly work together to make something quite fun.  Combining the elements of a deck building game, with that of an RPG, and an action brawler, brings layers of both strategy and shear luck to any dungeon encounter.  It was a risky choice to try to combine so many different game genres, but Defiant Development managed to do it, and do it well.  Do you have what it takes to defeat the Card Master himself?

Hand of Fate Screen (4)

About the Author

Sean is an avid gamer and lover of all thing tech. He is a dedicated husband and the father to three beautiful daughters. In addition to taking his love of gaming to a new level with this site, Sean is also host of our podcasts: The OMG! Hour, Lost Treasures of Gaming, and Primetime as well as the bi-weekly podcast mashup show, Gamers Unscripted. Follow Sean on Twitter as @Xiantayne and this blog as @OMGnexus.



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