It's been a while since I've done a You Should Try, so today I'd like to tell you about an early access game called Hand of Fate. I know, I know, "Early Access? Yuck!" but this game is looking very promising and is already a lot of fun! So without further ado, let's talk about Hand of Fate; currently in development by Australian studio Defiant Development.
Hand of Fate is a deck building, card based choose your own adventure game with Arkham style combat and RPG elements. An interesting concept to say the least. It was Kickstarted last December and just arrived on Steam Early Access in July. It's received monthly updates since arriving on early access, so it's safe to say that so far they seem dedicated to keeping their project moving forward.
So how do you play a game with such a unique mix of styles? At its core Hand of Fate is a choose your own adventure game, except that the events and locations are all cards. You sit before the Dealer at a table and he will place your player token on the table and set a path of cards face down before it. Each turn you move one space and take part in whatever event is dictated by the card you land on. One full round requires you to make your way through each "level" of cards until you reach the boss.
Your character starts off with the most basic of equipment and stats: an axe, light armor, 100 health, and 10 food. Moving one space consumes 1 food, which also heals your character for 5 health. If you run out of food however, you will begin to starve and lose 10 health instead. Each card on the table that you will move between represents its own scenario for you to take part in. Some can be avoided, but those will also be ones that you could receive rewards for completing. These scenarios can differ greatly, and become increasingly varied as you play through the game. One scenario may simply be a bandit attack where you'll be forced to fend off enemies in combat. Another scenario may give you the option to parlay with a kidnapper to make a deal rather than fight him off.
Going into combat in this game presents you with yet another style of gameplay. Entering a scenario that requires you to fend off enemies will load up an environment and you will take control of your character and use Arkham style combat to survive. You'll even get to see a cool little scene of each of your cards falling down onto the character and becoming the pieces of armor that he has equipped.
With the basic starting equipment you'll only have access to attacks and a dodge, but by acquiring a shield you gain a counter, and gathering trinkets gives you special abilities in combat. One such trinket will allow you to reverse any health loss that occurred within the last 10 seconds, while another will fire daggers in all directions. You can find traveling vendors and healers who will allow you to spend your gold you've acquired to restore your health or food or even buy new equipment.
From what I can tell there are 12 bosses total in the game, and beating each will move that boss's card to the card cabinet, which has 4 rows of 3 boss spaces each, along with a 4th space on each row for a bonus that you unlock for completing that row. These bonuses will permanently boost your character for the rest of that run in various ways, such as giving him better starting equipment or more max health.
Many of the scenario cards will have tokens attributed to them. These tokens are the equivalent of booster packs within the game. Successfully completing a scenario that has a token associated with it will add a token to your rewards pile. Upon beating the boss of the round you're playing you'll be able to activate each of the tokens you acquired to get bonus cards for your deck.
This is where the deck building aspect comes into play. Between rounds you will be able to customize your deck to your liking, and it is split into two parts: your armory and your scenarios. Your armory, naturally, contains all item cards that can be equipped to your character. Armor, weapons, trinkets, etc will all be found in this part. You'll have a set number of armory cards you can have in your deck, which increases as you progress through the game. The scenario deck works exactly the same, except it contains the many scenarios you can encounter. Yes, this means you can effectively customize the experience you'll have each round. Didn't like the Ambush scenario? Replace it with a Mage Tower scenario.
What keeps this interesting is that you will not be able to see what exactly new cards DO unless you've found that card while on one of your adventures. If you have a Mage Tower scenario card or a Fiery Vestment armor card, you will be unable to see exactly what they offer you until you stumble upon it in game. It gives you a great way to add your own bit of mystery and customization to your adventure, but there will always be more cards in your deck than you'll actually encounter on an adventure, so you never know that you'll get the exact ones you want. At the beginning of each round the Dealer will also add a few of his own cards to the deck to further spice things up.
The game has an interesting art style and the cards themselves are beautifully designed. I'd love to own an actual deck of my own like it! If you're intrigued but don't want to rush in just yet, or would prefer to play somewhere other than PC then good news: Hand of Fate will also be coming to PS4 and Vita when it releases. No word just yet on an official release date from what I can tell, but it's certainly looking promising. If you wanna check it out you can find it on Steam HERE. Thanks for reading!