This past weekend was the annual Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle and Gamerwok was there checking out all the new stuff coming up shortly. This week (and probably a bit of next) we’ll fill you in on what went on at PAX and some of the cooler things we saw. Our first post features games developer Gary Games and what they had to offer this year:
I had the distinct pleasure of sitting down at this year’s PAX convention in Seattle, Washington, with Justin Gary, founder of Gary Games. Gary Games is the company behind SolForge—a new, digital, deck-building strategy game and responsible for the incredibly addictive Ascension (a review of which you can find here) and all subsequent iterations.
I encourage anyone interested in board games to check out all four of the current Ascension offerings: Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer and its expansion Return of the Fallen, and Ascension: Storm of Souls and its expansion (the newest addition) Immortal Heroes. I have yet to play the last two, but was able to see the changes that the newest games bring to the mix.
Storm of Souls adds two new kinds of cards to the Ascension game: event cards and trophy monsters. Event cards are in play one at a time, and add a new dimension of play to the game. Trophy monsters behave differently from regular monsters in that instead of simply being banished to the void when you defeat them, you can keep them with you and choose to reap the rewards at a later stage in the game. The new expansion, Immortal Heroes, sees the addition of Soul Gems, which house the souls of the heroes from the first game. As you play through, freeing the spirits from these gems grants the players special bonuses.
All the games can be mixed and matched to play together, or can be played on their own. As it is the intention of Gary Games to release one large game and an expansion each year, expect many more addicting offerings in the future.
Ascension is also available as a mobile app on iOS (review found here).
As much as I love Ascension, what I was most excited to experience was the newest brainchild of Gary Games: SolForge. SolForge is an all-digital, deck building experience. Gary Games has partnered with Richard Garfield (designer of Magic: the Gathering) to bring you this free-to-play, mobile game.
The all-digital format allows for a number of features that makes this game a combination of strategic, addictive, and fast. It pits two players against each other, each vying to deplete the opponents life before the other can do the same. You begin with a deck of cards, and each card has three different stages of development, with each level becoming subsequently more powerful, and sometimes offering unique bonuses.
As soon as you play a card, it levels up. The newly leveled card is discarded immediately, while the original card is left in play in one of the 5 playable slots. Whoever takes the very first turn is only allowed to play one card but every turn after that, each player can play two cards per turn.
There are two kinds of cards you can play: monster cards and structure cards. Monster cards are the cards that have the attack and defense scores, while the structure cards can be used to buff or modify the monsters you have in play. Both card types can be leveled up, making them more powerful.
At the end of each play turn, you go into the attack phase. All creatures (except those played in that turn) attack the slot directly in front of them. If the defense score of the card it is attacking is less than the attack score, that card is destroyed, and any remaining damage is dealt directly to the player. If there is no card in the slot opposite an attacking creature, there is no defense and ALL damage goes directly to the player.
At the end of four turns, all discarded cards are shuffled into the deck, and you can begin playing with your newly leveled cards.
Each player begins with 100 life. The game ends when one player reaches 0 life or below. I had the misfortune of finishing with -14 life, beaten handily by Gamerwok Managing Editor Jeff Clemens.
The game can be played for as long or as short as you like, and its inherent mobility makes it perfect for the long transit commutes to work or school.
The game also needs YOUR help. The project is being funded by Kickstarter, and needs your generous donations to help come to fruition! A list of donations and rewards, as well as a summary of the Kickstarter project and what you will be funding can be found here. There are two special prizes to be awarded if you donate before midnight on Wednesday, September 5, 2012: If you donate at least $25, you will receive a free bonus starter deck at launch, and if you donate at least $100, you will get 10 free booster packs upon launch. This is on top of the already amazing rewards being given!
SolForge will be available to play on PC, as well as iOS and Android devices.
I really hope that you check out the amazing games that Gary Games has to offer. I would like to thank Justin Gary and the team at Gary Games for taking the time to meet with us at PAX, and walking us through their amazing line up of products.