You like card games right? Sure you do. You also like table top games correct? “Well duh” is an appropriate response. Well then let me tell you about a game called Minion Master.
The basic gameplay is as follows. You have a deck of virtual cards that you have built for matches. During a match you will receive five of those cards at a time. Each one of the cards has a “Play” and “Discard” point value. When you discard a card you are then able to use those points towards summoning another.
After you have collected enough points and summoned a character, they will appear on the playing field next to your castle avatar. From there the character will move and attack on its own depending on its set attributes, some are aggressive and some are more passive. You can change those attributes through additional “Modifier” cards as well. So if you are the type that wants to micromanage your players, you can do so. When a character is killed you will lose one point of heath from your avatar. When you run out of cards you will also lose one point of health from your avatar every turn. Run out of points and you lose the round.
Now that you have all the basic mechanics, let me tell you how much fun I had with it. A lot. I have a weak spot for strategy games, even though I am terrible at them, and I have an even weaker spot for card games. Combining the two seemed like a no brainer, but in fact it was a… brainer.
The basic design behind summoning your characters and playing with them was easy enough, but underneath all that was a huge amount of strategy. Since you do not actually control your characters you have to take into account their properties much more heavily. In the first round I played I had a need to summon Knights, a powerful horse riding character, at the expense of having almost any Foot Soldiers. This worked for a time until I got about half way across the board and the archers the computer had summoned started ripping me to shreds. Things looked dire until I got lucky with a couple cards Modifier cards.
If I remember correctly two card came to my aid in one hand, one gave a Knight one extra health point and another summoned two Foot Soldiers around a Knight. At the time I had two Knights out on the field. I decided that one of them was going to die and so I used both enhancements on the Knight that was a bit further back and let the other perish. But now my next turn I would be able to get close enough to the archers with my Knight, by taking some of the aggro with my Soldiers, and royally mess them up. I won this round, and with it, Minion Master won me.
After this I was taken through the level and deck building modes. Building a level is reasonably straightforward; you build land with a bunch of hexagons. There are several tools as well, to help make sure your sides are balanced and for giving the level some horizontal variety. The card building too is quite simple. Every card has a specific point value. That point value goes into your overall points for a deck. Decks can vary in point restrictions based on how you and your opponent want to play. Want to play a match with only 50-point decks? How about one with 200? Even on the same field your play style can change drastically with higher or lower restrictions.
When I first showed up to see Minion Master I really had no idea what to expect. The concept seemed like a good idea, but how would it actually play out. What I saw more than “wowed” me. The simple cardplay, semi hands off RTS mechanics, and fun art direction all came together to make Minion Master a game that is right up my alley.
Video courtesy of PixaByte