I have been playing various versions of solitaire card games for many years. I’ve played a large number of solitaire variants from Klondike and Hoyle versions of this classic card game to home-brew rules where I used the cards like chess pieces. My most-played variant has to be tri-peaks and I don’t know which rules were the least played.
I recently noticed a Twitter friend of mine playing a solitaire variant about dungeon crawling called CardCrawl (@cardcrawl, http://www.cardcrawl.com). The graphics seemed well done and humorous and apparently, the game allowed you to post your score to Twitter. That was something missing from a bunch of other games that I enjoy playing (well, the ones with high score tracking). The more I saw these posts, the more I wanted to try the game. There was only one problem: the game was only available for iOS…but after speaking with the devs, Tinytouchables (@tinytouchtales, http://www.tinytouchtales.com/) I found out that they had a beta test going for the game! But it was over. After a few months of trying to keep track of beta tester requests, the game finally released for Android. And so I finally got to play, and purchase, the game.
This is the type of solitaire game that I really enjoy! It’s laced with theme, uses the cards in a fashion that makes some choices pretty challenging, and you fight monsters! Basically, you’re going through a dungeon crawl, fighting monsters, finding coins, using weapons, and wearing armor. You also gain keys which you can use to unlock special abilities that interact with the cards in different ways. AND one of the game modes allows you to construct your own dungeon crawl deck.
The game is pretty simple in its layout: Seven spaces for cards which are all filled from the deck and one space for your adventurer. You start with 13 health and nothing on you. The dealer shuffles the deck and deals four cards in the top row. You can find potions, swords, shields, coins, monsters, and abilities in that row. Dropping coins or potions in an empty slot (left or right hand) uses them. Dropping coins on your inventory slot uses the card. Dropping a sword, shield, or ability on a hand or in your backpack allows you to carry the item.
Swords are dropped on monsters to deal damage. Monsters are dropped on shields to reduce incoming damage. Abilities are dropped on whatever cards it effects. Some abilities turn items into potions, others banish cards to the deck, while others allow you to attack or defend in different ways. There are many, many other abilities you can use and I haven’t uncovered them all.
Your goal is to keep your adventurer alive while you deal with the cards that are dealt to you. It might seem like an easy and straightforward task, but sometimes you have to choose which monster does damage first so that you can free up a hand for a potion. Sometimes you get hit with monsters and no sword, shield, or potion to save you. It can get pretty hairy. You can also sacrifice non-monster cards to the shop in an effort to discard them or turn them into gold.
There is another mode, the daily dungeon, which allows you to play a different deck each day; a refreshing feature for a solitaire game.
The graphics are pretty nice in a Tim Burton-esque sort of way. The colors are muted but fit the theme very well. I tend to play with sounds off but they also fit the theme very well, especially when the dealer gets angry that you’ve won or when he drinks his mug of ale between hands.
I haven’t played this game long, but I can tell you that it has quickly become one of my go-to games for when I want a quick game to play while doing other things. I highly suggest this game to anyone who enjoys solitaire and fantasy-themed games. I also hope that the developers turn this into a physical game. If they did, I’d be the first in line to buy it.
Expect to see me post my game score once every few days, perhaps alternating between the Normal and Daily Dungeon modes.