Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Virtualizing Plastic Crack

So of all the hobbies I've picked up and left behind over the years, the greatest money sink by far would have to be Mage Knight.

FALSE EDIT: It's actually video games, but I'm working on substantially reducing the impact it has on my resources. And holy crap, I'm succeeding, so go me!

I'm a sucker for dungeon crawlers, which is why their Dungeons brand has been on my radar for the past eleven years (seven years after Wizkids killed the product line). I admit, it's a brand of crazy I'm not particularly proud of.

Unfortunately, Mage Knight never succeeded in both of their forays into the world of video games. Nothing ever came close to emulating plastic crack until Blood Brothers came out.

At its core, Blood Brothers plays like a cross between an RPG and a boardgame, much like the aforementioned Mage Knight Dungeons. Players pit bands of creatures against NPCs and other players. While the game's story is pretty much generic fantasy, the gameplay more than makes up for it.

New creatures are obtained using a gashapon-like mechanic, where rarer and more powerful pieces are substantially harder to obtain.

Progress is limited by an energy counter which replenishes over time, encouraging players to return often. The developers release updates and ingame events regularly which keep players occupied with things to do other than grinding.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the game is when players configure their bands for adventuring and PVP. It's entertaining to see how creature mechanics play against one another, similar to most CCGs today.

Okay, I lied. The most interesting part is the gashapon. Currency for buying packs can both be obtained by adventuring, fighting other players or spending real life cash. I guess a lot of the players love the thrill of opening new creature packs. I think a lot of players seethe with rage when those packs contain nothing but fillers. And I think a lot of players smile involuntarily when something rare comes out of the packs.

As for me, old habits die hard. However, I swore off spending cash on virtual goods years ago, so throw me a bone. It's a nice time waster, and definitely worth a try for Android users.

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