Thursday, 22 January 2015

Ranneko and Jarenth Play Star Realms

Today I have something a little bit different for you. A multiplayer game of Star Realms with my friend Jarenth of Ninja-Blues. I have been playing this game every day for the past several months and been having a lot of fun and thought it would be cool to do a lets play of it.

Star Realms is a deck building duelling game it plays a little bit like the combination of dominion and magic the gathering. At the end of each turn you draw 5 cards, then during your next turn you play and use all of the cards in your hand, generating trade, damage and authority which you use to purchase more ships and stations (cards for your deck), damage your enemy, or heal (authority is the term for health in this game).

The trade row determines the cards you can buy and because their ordering is random every game plays out very differently but the game isn't so random that you can't develop a strategy and try to come out on top.

The digital version of the game is also played asynchronously, an individual turn typically only takes 30 seconds or so which means that there isn't a particularly large time commitment to play as long as you can find about 30 seconds a game every couple of days. I often will play a few turns on the bus or while walking to the shops. I note this aspect primarily to explain why in the video Jarenth and I both keep checking what cards each of us have, the game was recorded over the course of about a week and I would have played a good 10 other games of star realms in that time, I in no way try to keep the entire game state in my head.

Star Realms is currently part of the Humble Card Game Bundle, the digital copy is in the lowest tier and the game runs not only on your PC, but also on android and iOS.

Okay, that is all I have to say about the game, the rest of this post is going to be about the idea for the video and the thinking behind it.

I had this idea while I was back in Sydney, Star Realms was one of the games I was still able to keep going pretty regularly despite the fairly hectic schedule and making the New Years Eve death montage specials for Spelunky and Necrodancer got me thinking about other videos that would be interesting to do.

The idea of doing a lets play for Star Realms seemed like a good one, but I recalled listening to something about what had helped make TV Poker successful; the hole cam. The idea being that the audience getting access to that hidden information helps to build tension, where the audience knows who is bluffing and can try to see not just how well the bluffer is hiding this information but can try to see if their opponent is able to pick up on it.

So that is where I got the idea of having a 2 player Star Realms video, hopefully the access to both what we have in our hands but also what we are able to express of our thought processes and strategies will help make the video more engaging especially to people unfamiliar with Star Realms.

I hope at the very least you enjoyed this video, if you did then please let me know it will likely influence whether or not I do these kinds of things in the future.

If you want to read what Jarenth wrote about this whole thing, you can read it over at Ninja Blues here

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