Hand Of Fate: More like Hand of eight… out of ten - Games Weekly

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Hand Of Fate: More like Hand of eight… out of ten

Boardgames are the nerdy equivalent of canapés. Moreish, awesome and incredibly fiddly, you’ll try one once and it’ll be like a gateway to bigger, scarier ones with even tinier pieces. But the problem with both is that when you first start, you don’t really know what to do. Do I put this in my mouth? Do I use my fingers? What’s the difference between a paladin and a vol-au-vent?

Hand of Fate is a mixture of tarot cards, Dungeons & Dragons and Jumanji like all the best things are and it looks like the lovechild of Fable and Hearthstone. It’s essentially a card-based role-playing game within a role-playing game (that’s the D&D part) with your path through the game dictated by tarot-style cards that come alive when your token lands on them like Jumanji. Cards are laid out in front of you, with names like ‘The Maiden’ and ‘Maze of Traps’, and you move your token to the next card to continue on your quest. Each round unlocks new cards to add to your deck, making each successive journey more unpredictable and more likely to screw you over as the cards get more and more punishingly cruel.

Your deck will be full of battle cards and other events that together build a coherent story as you attempt to find the ‘boss’ of each quest you’ll meet wizened old goblins that may or may not trick you, maidens that may  or may not grant your wishes and shops that may or may not be  wayyyyy above your budget. In  between those are battle cards like ‘Ambush’, which is exactly what it sounds like. These initiate a 3D battle, with the weapons and accessories you’ve gathered so far.

The combat that follows is a bit rubbish, being more about rapid button-mashing than strategy, but it comes in short bursts and improves once you’ve been playing for a bit longer, adding curses, blessings and more powerful weapons. Better than the 3D combat sections are the  mazes, filled with traps that threaten to knock off chunks of your health if you don’t dodge, roll and disable  them in order to get to the tasty treasure at the end.

If you enjoy boardgames, canapés, Dungeons & Dragons, text adventures or all of the above, get on this game like a geek on a D20. It’s as good as finding out the party you’re going to has smoked-salmon blinis and  deep-fried prawns. 

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