A wonderful cross between what makes Monopoly and Magic: The Gathering fun
When I first read the description of Culdcept, it immediately peaked my curiousity. I love board games, especially Monopoly. I also love Magic the Gathering, a game I have played since shortly after it's release. What really drew my attention was the fact that this game boasted over 400 cards to 'collect' in the game. One thing I look for in a game is how much replay I am going to get. If that is important to you as well, Culdcept will keep you busy for hours upon hours.
The storyline is pretty standard: You have been chosen by a god's walking stick to save the world with the magic of 'cards'. Those that use this power are called Cepters. Of course, a big baddie is looking to wreak holy havic unless you can stop him through a series of duels.
You start with one of two decks of 50 cards of 5 colors (blue, red, yellow, green and colorless). The decks consist of creatures, items and spells. Creatures are the main staple of the game. You use these to claim a space you land on within the gameboard. You can also use them to challenge other cepter's creatures who are holding spaces. The main objective is to get to a certain number of Total Magic (read as your net worth in board spaces). Once you reach that amount and land/pass "Go" (or the Castle in this game), you win. The creatures have a strength rating (how much damage they do) and hit points (how much they take before they die). Some creatures have different abilities that add to the strategy of the game. Also if you match a creature color and the space color (which you can change for some gold), that creature gets a bonus on hit points. Also, if they match and you level up the land (build houses and hotels like monopoly) they also get tougher. When another cepter lands on your space they can either pay or pay the cost to send a creature in their hand to fight yours. If they lose, they pay. If they win, you lose the space and any building up you did to it (you CAN switch creatures on from your hand to certain spaces, so you aren't stuck with whatever you place).
Items can help even the odds. Swords, maces, shields, scrolls and armor can make your creature more offensive or defensive depending on what is needed. They also cost magic to use and when you can only hold a certain number of cards at any one time, you sometimes have to decide whether to hold something or pitch it.
Spells allow you to do neat things like steal magic, make creatures bigger, do direct damage to creatures, etc. In the beginning they can slow you down, but later on, become crucial to survival.
Other aspects of the game are symbols which are another way to generate magic. They simply act as stocks for the various colors and go up when more of a certain color are occupied. They generate magic when you pass Go or you can sell them for money later on if you need it (for paying a toll). There are other spaces that allow you to draw a certain kind of card or another that produces a random effect that can affect all or none of the players.
The cards are really balanced and allow for a variety of strategy. The artwork is simply awesome and some put Magic the Gathering cards to shame. You can trade with other users and also battle them.
Overall, this game has been great. My only complaint with it (and the reason I didn't give it an A+) is the AI cheats when it comes to dice rolls. There are times the AI won't land on your stuff, but you always seem to land on theirs. It does help offset some of their mistakes during gameplay (sending out creatures that have NO way of winning and not having any items), but nothing is more frustrating than having 4 maxed out territories in a prime position and having 2 AI characters never land on them...ever. Spells that control the dice roll are a must in these battles. Also, you can save in the middle of a match and come back to it, as some of the matches will last an hour or more. If the game sounds interesting so far, check it out. For $39.99, it is a great value.