When it comes down to it, there’s not much I like more than a great fighting game. I’ve played pretty much any and all of them that I’ve ever been able to get my hands on- even the absolutely atrocious Fight for Life on the Atari Jaguar. For all of my “I’m a picky critic” rambling about Soul Calibur V I’ve kept it through two trade-in rounds and I’m totally loving BlazBlue on the Vita. And I hung my head in shame after that whole Cross Assault affair last week. Thanks for making fighting games and the community that enjoys them look like a bunch of childish, abusively sexist creeps, you assholes.
Like David Sirlin’s Yomi and Flash Duel, BattleCon: War of Indines is a fighting video game translated into tabletop card game mechanics. You wouldn’t think that fighting games would make the transition to cardboard very well since so much of what makes them great is a combination of purely video game elements- animation, timing, skill-based play, momentum, visual razzle-dazzle. But somehow it’s a concept that works- and far better than it has in past games such as a couple of lackluster Street Fighter CCGs and other games that haven’t quite brought the right kind of approach to bear on the subject matter.
Sirlin pulled it off by breaking down the core mechanics into combinations, spacing, and a rock-paper-scissors priority system. But it took him two games to do this, and although both are great games a new challenger approaches. It’s designer D. Brad Talton, and the game is BattleCon: War of Indines. It’s a much more comprehensive, narrative, and fun-to-play game that offers more characters as well as a variety of ways to play including tag matches, stages, variant characters (“Almighty” and “EX” varieties), and an innovative card-flip mechanic that requires players to create attacks using paired style and base cards.
The review is this week’s Cracked LCD, and it’s an Editor’s Choice. If you like fighting games- or any kind of two-player dueling card game- it’s one well worth checking out. It requires a little commitment to get at its subtle depth and metagame, but 15 minute matches and a definite “let’s play that again” appeal make it easy to dig into. It’s also a great value at $40 retail, with tons of possibilities right out of the box including multiplayer matches and tournament play.