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Digital Cardboard: Mahokenshi

Those ninja turtles are in trouble now!

It’s been a few years now since video games cribbed big time from the realm of cardboard with Slay the Spire, the roguelike deck-builder that spawned a hundred copycats, none of them more compelling than the wickedly glorious Monster Train (CHOOT CHOOT). As someone who weathered the Great Deck-Building Imitation that followed in the wake of Donald X. Vaccarino’s genre-establishing Dominion, I’ve followed this outpouring with some interest. My expert conclusion: both hobbies seem to be operating on the “flinging spaghetti at the wall” model. And too often, the noodles have yet to be wetted.

The latest case in point in Mahokenshi, a lavishly animated deck-builder that sees one of four heroes roaming a landscape inspired by Japanese mythology, poking goblins and hiding in forests. Its closest cousin is Vlaada Chvátil’s supernal Mage Knight. Unfortunately, its consanguinity is thrice removed.

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(Digital) Trading in the Mediterranean

Just in case you weren't aware this is from the digital edition, here's my game's main screen! Publishers — always a good idea to provide basic assets for headers. Just sayin'.

There’s a pair of reasons why I’ve never written about Mac Gerdts’ Concordia. First, it’s already been reviewed four thousand times, and the odds I’ll slip something worthwhile between the cracks is slight at best. Second, and perhaps more importantly, I’d never played the thing. Trading in the Mediterranean? That’s as novel as settings come, but I’ve been busy tackling such rare beasts as vikings and zombies.

In any case, in light of tomorrow’s release of Acram Digital’s, er, digital edition, I’ve finally learned how to play Concordia. And let me tell you something nobody else has mentioned: it’s quite good.

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Digital Cardboard: Antihero

Ah! A man of MYSTERY and HOODIES!

If I were the Grand Emperor of Defining Things, in order to qualify as a digital board game — as opposed to qualifying as a digital adaptation of a cardboard board game — it would be a requirement that your digital board game do something that a regular board game couldn’t do sitting on my table. Yes, I just used the phrase “board game” four times in one sentence. That’s probably a world record.

To its credit, Tim Conkling’s Antihero is a digital board game that understands both the limitations of board games and how to stretch them when you place a screen between its players. Let me show you what I mean.

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