20 May Tabletopia and Super Fantasy Brawl
Over the last few weeks, I have been writing almost exclusively about social distancing and its effect on board gaming. While I have mentioned various ways this can be done, I have failed to mention a very important platform that is making it much easier to play games online: Tabletopia.
Tabletopia is an open world platform where players can interact with components as though they were sitting at a table playing with real components. This includes dropping items on the board, shuffling and flipping cards “manually”, and dragging and dropping decks, cards, tiles, and other various components around the table. While some of the flipping and dragging can feel fiddly at times, Tabletopia does a fantastic job in offering a very user-friendly experience that is easy to pick up on. Additionally, Tabletopia always provides a link to the instructions, so it is easy to learn new games as well.
One of the other perks of Tabletopia is that many of the games available are games on Kickstarter or soon to be on Kickstarter. This makes Tabletopia one of the best options for getting a feel for a game prior to backing a game. This also means that if you have recently backed something but have yet to try a print and play version or another format, you may be able to find it on this platform. In the last week, I downloaded Tabletopia and found some games I have been dying to play; one of which was a game I backed last year called Super Fantasy Brawl.
If you haven’t seen or heard of this game, you are truly missing out on an elegant, arena-combat style game. In Super Fantasy Brawl, players assume the role of wizards recruiting the most talented warriors of all time to fight in the arena. To do so, players draft three Champions to play with. From there, setup ensues. Each player lays out dangerous traps in the arena, shuffles the three Champion decks together (according to which Champions they drafted), draws five cards, and places their Champions on the map in the designated deployment area. From here, these teams of Champions fight to defeat the enemy Champions and/or compete over specific challenges like controlling parts of the arena or having Champions in specific placements on the board.
While this may sound like many other arena combat games, the designers have come up some pretty slick innovations that make the game feel very different from other games in a similar vein. To begin with, players are always able to play three actions a round. Cards are yellow, blue, and red and every round each player is able to execute 1 yellow, 1 blue, and 1 red action. Beyond requiring a different color, all actions cost the exact same to complete. Rather than having to save up a bunch of resources to do a big action, great moves are always available to both players and are always equal in cost.
Additionally, the cores (these symbolize the different colors) refresh at the end of a player’s turn. This differs from other games where you collect your resources at the beginning of the turn. This is incredibly important because it means a player will always have the ability to play react cards (cards that can only be played on an opponent’s turn in reaction to an attack they are completing). Given that a player’s resources do not refresh until the end of that player’s turn, playing a reaction card also means that player has fewer options available during their own turn. This differs from other games because a player usually has to lessen their own plans to accommodate the optionality of being able to react. In Super Fantasy Brawl, players can react however you need to (realizing a player’s own turn will take a hit in order to do so) and then play all of the remaining actions on a player’s turn. Nothing goes to waste.
Lastly, possibly my favorite innovation, players check to see if they have completed a challenge at the start of their turn. This means that the opponent always has the opportunity to disrupt a player from winning a challenge. To be successful, planning a few steps ahead is imperative. This adds the perfect amount of preemptive coordinating needed in a tactical arena-combat game. For these reasons, I cannot do anything but recommend that you give this game a try. And while you’re at it, take a tour of Tabletopia. There are some other really great games on here I have been meaning to try out including Sea Change, Vampire: The Masquerade – Vendetta, Ausonia, and many more.
As always, thanks for reading and keep on gaming,