Combat Monsters, the virtual card battle game with echoes of Magic: The Gathering is now in full release, and if you played and enjoyed it during the beta period, you'll be pleased to know that very little has changed over the past couple of months. And if you haven't, you probably should – it's a fun, challenging strategy card game, and while some of the multiplayer features are lacking, it gets the free-to-play formula right, a rare accomplishment these days.
Even if you have only a basic idea of what Magic: The Gathering is, there's no mistaking the similarities between that famous card game and Combat Monsters. In fact, Paul Johnson, the co-founder of Rubicon Development is an "avid player" of Magic, but wanted a video game with a more tactical experience. Thus, Combat Monsters, in which you not only collect virtual cards of various types and abilities and deploy them in single and multiplayer duels, but also maneuver on a 3D game board, complete with special hexes that can amplify your powers – or your enemy's.
Combat Monsters is very much an "easy to learn, tough to master" game. You begin by choosing a hero – a warrior, an archer, or a mage – who will serve as your personal avatar, and are then given a basic starting deck with which to play. The bulk of your deck will, initially at least, be composed of various fantasy monsters like orcs, minotaurs, elves, zombies and so forth, each of which belongs to one of the three character classes; there are also cards for weapons, armor, equipment, spells, and magical runes. Some "supplemental" cards only work with specific races or classes, and some monster cards have special abilities that manifest under the right conditions: zombies gain health whenever a monster on the board dies, for instance, while orcs gain an attack bonus for every friendly orc in play. Read more »