Collectible card game without the cards

22 01 2009

What, you don’t want to buy piles of expensive junk that takes up loads of space and only serves use in an imaginary fantasy world of questionable ethics?

PoxNora certainly wins points from me for attempting a “green” concept of hobby gaming.

You still spend money. But only if you want to. They have free sample-style play, which can certainly keep you amused and not at a significant disadvantage to premium players. No subscriptions either. When you do decide to cash in for some premium cards (“runes”) you don’t actually get anything corporeal.

Some people might be disappointed at that, but I think its refreshing. I just want to play games without a fuss. I don’t want a horde of plastic or cardboard I have to worry about storing during non-game time.

Hobby gaming usually involves you buying heaps and heaps of stuff, expensive stuff – usually cards or miniatures (or sometimes both).

Some hobby games have brought out online-editions, or tie ins, and some have been successful. But most have avoided full on ports of their staple meatspace game mehanics into digital form.

Pox doesn’t have that worry of suddenly losing an offline income source, because its been digital based from the start.

Gameplay is sort of collectible card gaming meets turn-based tactical RPG. You spawn monster runes onto a grid battlefield. You also have buffs, equipment and spells which are usually a hidden effect (opponent suffers next time he does X) or area effect spells (a fireball).

Story, as is often the case, can be ignored. Umm, some kind of past war, a meteor, a cataclysms, refugees and a schism between the elves. There are *good* and *bad* factions but everyone seems to want to kill each other (or at least desecrate each others shrines). Lovely.

You can sign up for free. And you are given a sample deck for each race faction. You can play the computer to learn how to play, and then move onto a noob lobby where you face other noobs with their noob sample deck.

But if you really want to get into it, you can purchase real playing decks and/or individual cards. Your bought monster-runes can now go up levels and you can contribute to MMO-style campaign events.

The downloads are available for both Mac and PC, so if you like give it a whirl.

I don’t think its quite my cup of tea. As usual noob areas are populated by lots of non-noobs who are intolerant of noob gameplay.  The computer AI seems too easily beaten by attrition. Attrition in a PvP match leads to unsavoury language and accusations of “wasting time” (I could have sworn that was the idea of computer games). Several of the cards in certain sample decks seemed a bit silly, as useful companion-type cards were left out. Additionally while the selection of multiple playing fields helped reduce boredom, the exact effects of different terrain were not immediately apparent.

Or maybe I just really sucked at complex chess.

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