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Creative Journalling

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Slay The Spire

In Slay the Spire, the player, through one of four characters, attempts to ascend a spire of multiple floors, created through procedural generation, battling through enemies and bosses. Combat takes place through a collectible card game-based system, with the player gaining new cards as rewards from combat and other means, requiring the player to use strategies of deck-building games to construct an effective deck to complete the climb.

Slay the Spire

Slay the Spire is a combination of roguelike-inspired progression and the gameplay of a deck-building card game. At the start of a playthrough the player selects one of four predetermined characters,[a] which sets a starting amount of health, gold, a starting relic that provides a unique ability for that character, and an initial deck of cards with basic attack and defense cards as well what potential color-coded cards tailored to that character they will see through the run.[1] The goal is to work through several levels of a spire, each level having a number of potential encounters distributed in a branching structure with a boss character at the end of the level. Encounters include monsters which vary in strength; elite enemies which offer enhanced rewards; campfires to heal or upgrade cards to more powerful versions; shopkeepers to buy cards, relics and potions from, as well as to remove cards from the deck; chests with random loot; and random choice-based encounters.[2]

Combat is played in turns. Each turn the player receives a fresh hand of cards and three energy points. The player can play any combination of cards as long as they have the energy to pay for the energy cost of each card, and at the end of the turn, all cards not played are sent to a discard pile. Players' cards vary by the character but generally consist of attack cards to damage opponents, skill cards that buff themselves, debuff opponents, or add to their blocking power for the turn, and power cards where the effect remains in play until the end of combat. Each opponent on the field will telegraph what move they will make: if they will attack and with how much damage, if they will block, cast a spell to buff themselves or debuff the player.[3] In some cases, the opponents' attack or the player cards may add unplayable cards representing battle conditions like Wounds and Curses to the player's deck that can dilute a player's hand and may add negative effects while in the player's hand.[4] The player can determine the best strategy to avoid taking any damage after they complete their turn. If the player's health drops to zero, the game is over and they must restart from the bottom of the spire. Otherwise, if the player defeats all the monsters in an encounter, they typically receive gold and a choice of one of three randomly-selected cards to add to their deck, if desired. Other loot that can be obtained from monsters or other encounters include relics that provide a permanent character buff for the duration of the game, such as increased maximum health, additional energy points, lower casting costs, and automatic blocking, and single-use potions that can be used during any turn for no cost to restore health, buff the player, and debuff or damage the enemy.[3]

Slay the Spire features metagaming aspects. Completed or failed runs contribute points towards unlocking new characters or new relics and cards that will be made available for the specific character. Up to 20 Ascension difficulty levels unlock with each successfully completed run, each adding a cumulative negative effect such as lower health or stronger enemy attacks. Achievements provide several challenges to the player such as to climb the tower with a character using only their starting relic or with only common cards in their decks. A daily challenge gives players a single chance to get as high in the spire as they can under pre-set conditions and a fixed random seed, so that each player is starting from the same point and sees the same encounters.[5]

Slay the Spire is developed by Seattle-based studio Mega Crit, with Anthony Giovannetti and Casey Yano as lead developers. Their initial goal was to fuse the concept of a roguelike game with deck-building games like Dominion.[6] The game was also inspired partially by the Netrunner collectible card game, which Giovannetti was a fan of and for which he maintains a community website.[7] The game was built on the libGDX framework.[8]

Originally, enemies did not show their next intended action as is common to most turn-based role-playing video games, but this design did not mesh well with the roguelike nature of permadeath.[6] During playtests, they found that players were confused about the number of card abilities without any clear situation to apply them.[10] They first created a "Next Turn" system where the player could select individual targets to see what their chosen action would be in part of the game's user interface. The "Next Turn" system brought something unique to the game, according to Giovannetti, and enabled them to create new buffs and debuffs that were easy to describe to players through the interface. However, from a user-interface perspective, there were still issues particularly when multiple enemies were present.[6] They then transitioned from the "Next Turn" to the new "Intents" system, which used icons to represent the enemy's next move, though originally this lacked exact numbers for attack values, instead representing certain ranges of attacks by different weapons. Giovannetti felt they didn't want to present too many numbers to players to overwhelm them and make the game off-putting, but they discovered through playtesters that having the numbers available was more engaging, did not require the player to have to memorize what each symbol meant, and enabled players to create new strategies.[6] The approach for players to progress through the spires with branching pathways and random events was inspired by FTL: Faster Than Light.[8]

Slay the Spire splits its 283 cards into three siloed archetypes (The Ironclad, The Silent, and The Defect), characters that are as asymmetrical as StarCraft's Terran, Protoss, and Zerg. But the fantasy monsters that stand between you and the top of the spire don't play cards of their own. Instead, they fight sort of like Pokémon, inflicting damage, pesky status effects, or buffing themselves each turn. These actions are telegraphed in advance by UI and, like our most recent Game of the Year, provide near-perfect information. The good outcome of this design is that I never feel cheated when I die, rare for a roguelike or card game, let alone one that intersects the two.

Which path you take up the spire is a fun test of your ability to weigh long-term goals against short-term needs. Like the decisions you make deckbuilding, learning when to detour is a skill, and different strategies are viable.

Slay the Spire is a single-player deck builder that combines elements of card games with roguelike-inspired progression systems. In the game, the player gradually builds a one-of-a-kind deck of cards, with which he faces off against strange creatures, unlocks new powers, and discovers relics, in a series of card game encounters.

The gameplay revolves around ascending a spire of floors (levels) while fighting off enemies and bosses along the way. At the beginning of a playthrough, the player chooses one character from four pre-set options. The selected character comes with specific base stats (such as health, gold, and a relic that grants him a special ability) and a starting hand of cards. 041b061a72


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