DungeonTop (2020) Spell Sword Cards is a dungeon-exploring adventure where you play cards to fight your way through the monster-infested levels to collect loot. As you play you collect Spells, Weapons and Unit cards to help your fight. Where it really comes to life, is its focus on your hero, who has limited health and if defeated ends your run. Balancing your cards around this risk and the reward of bringing back more treasure is a huge amount of fun.
Play consists of short turn-based card placement battles where the objective is to kill the enemy leader. Your hero is the most powerful unit on the board, but they must survive the battle at all costs. Damage carries over from battle to battle, so every point of damage matters and it requires strategic decision-making to survive.
You start by choosing a hero, a faction, and a theme for your starting troops to create a small starting deck. Each time you complete a battle, you can add one or more cards to your deck: Unit cards to fight on the board with your hero, Spell cards you can cast directly from your hand and Weapon cards to equip your hero. As you progress you gain access to more powerful cards along with way to improve your existing cards. You can also cut some cards from your deck to hone a build that fits your strategy.
It's a game that makes you really think about your resources carefully. Like with the Treasure cards. Do you keep them to access a powerful unit, strong weapon or rare artefact? Or do you stash them without using them ensure they are safe and available to unlock new powerful cards for future playthroughs? Or maybe you should trade them with characters you meet for goods and services? You have to constantly reassess the value of your loot as the battles get harder because if you die in the dungeon you lose all the treasure you are holding!
The result is a game about balancing risk and reward. A deck built around a hard-hitting offensive blitz might be able to take out some enemy leaders in a single turn but could leave your hero vulnerable to an early demise against tough foes. A deck full of treasures could be very powerful on the final floor, but if you perish in the dungeon, you don’t have any loot to show for the run. The battles are full of depth but also short enough to always want to delve again.
Our examiner, Angela Hickman Newnham
, first checked DungeonTop 14 months ago. It was re-examined by Jo Robertson
and updated 5 months ago.