The Card Games category contains some of the oldest and most popular games of chance that our civilization has ever produced. The cards are cheap, compact, can be used in multiple games, and if no one cheats, they ensure a level playing field for everyone, where luck plays an important factor. So it’s no surprise to see video games return to the concept of cards over and over again, even if it’s not a card game.
Foretales turns out to be an excellent example of this at Gamescom. Yes, you fight in the game and use card game mechanics for this, but in practice, everything in this title unfolds through your collection. From decisions to locations.
I can give the best example of this with the scene that I was allowed to play myself. I arrive with two main characters in a city, where I have to steal something. Before I get the loot, I have to prepare well. So gathering information is my first priority.
There are three maps on my screen that symbolize three locations I can visit. There are also cards at the bottom of my screen, with different actions I can take and different resources I can use. For example, I can steal apples from a market stall and bribe a hobo to learn more about my target. This promotion has been used and I can no longer use it immediately. Another option is to spend the money and just buy apples. I then have the option of steel on hand for a later scene, although I light a few gold pieces.
Eternal hunting grounds
The cards you play are not gone forever. The sites come back and you can also perform the actions again in the long run. So it’s tempting to play the waiting game and create the perfect conditions. However, the speaker who oversaw my play session assured me that this wasn’t a smart idea. Your characters recover Action Cards a limited number of times, and it’s tied to taking a break. Do it often and you will always be at rest. That’s what I call a bad hand!
This creates an interesting dynamic and pleasant surprises. Being forced to take an action you wouldn’t normally choose can lead to unexpected results and ups and downs you would never have seen otherwise. Of course that won’t always be the case, but knowing the opportunity exists keeps it interesting.
My first session of Foretales gave me a pretty good idea of what they wanted to do, but fifteen minutes was too short to appreciate how well it worked. Thus a more thorough session will follow. And with the impending release, you know it won’t be long.
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