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To The Green is our weekly look at one game current in Steam’s Greenlight process. There are many games mired here, and some of them have good ideas stuck in the gears that Valve has in place. Here we seek to bring to mind one game a week to discuss.

Ancestory is a 1-on-1 card turn-based strategy game that is currently in early alpha planning to be released in the 3rd quarter of 2015.
In Ancestory you take on the role of a shaman, a master of magic who is battling atop a golem against a single foe. Wielding magical powers, you have in your mind a handful of spells and energy at hand at any moment to summon minions to do your bidding or to interact with yours, or your opponents minions. Your goal, is to gain control of the totems on the Golem’s back – the mage who is able to accumulate 20 total turns of totem control (with there being 3 or more totems on a map ), wins the game. Summon your creatures and position them, speed them up, strike down your enemies… all of these you can do in Ancestory.

Ancestory is very early in development at this point and in the small alpha they sent me, it showed. Right now the map was a pretty simple one and I didn’t get to build my deck. However, deck building is promised, and the screenshot shows that it is a pretty well designed one in interface, which makes doing different combinations and styles easier. You’ll be able to better control your ‘mana curve’ – the term for making sure you have enough cards at each mana to do things. In many ways Ancestory combines ideas from things like Magic: The Gathering with 1vs1 tactical squad combat.

Ancestory

Positioning is a key part of it as each monster has their movement speed, attack, hit points and range to attack. Not only that, but to claim a totem, you have to be adjacent so position matters a lot to the tactics of a game of Ancestory.

During a game of Ancestory you start off 1 mana and add an additional point each turn. You can use that in whichever way you want, but obviously you can’t cast spells or summon minions you don’t have the mana for. Each turn your mana fully replenishes and you can cast new spells. Your opponent is working off the same constraints and so the game will often open with just the shaman moving or summoning a simple 1 mana minion.

The goal is to control more totems then your opponent does – and each totem is worth 1 point per round. The first to twenty points wins, and as of now there is no way to lose points so controlling the most totems is what you want to do. However, if you leave a totem undefended, your opponent could sneak a minion in to the side and turn it off and then capture it themselves… and if you leave too many you might not be able to occupy him from making a full press on one.

Ancestory in Progress

The game is very promising in ideas on the whole. There are a lot of strategic possibilities with the setup that Ancestory has and I’ve only scratched some of the surface here. More spells are coming then the ones I saw I’m sure – and abilities to move your opponents minions around or maybe obscure view of a minion of yours, are just some of the myriad of possibilities that could happen. I imagine that there’d be an assortment of maps as well, and how any given map is arranged would impact strategies, the value of a specific minion and other things significantly even if it is just how many totems, some size and where the ‘walls’ are in it.

Ancestory is designed to allow multiplayer from the start or against AI. Multiplayer can be done either hotseat, or in the future over the internet, and this seems like the type of game that would be a ton of fun to sit down and play against a friend over the computer. It’s quick enough that it doesn’t take all day, but engaging and allowing a lot of different potential ideas and styles to come through like many CCGs.

As of right now there is no final price for Ancestory though the plan is to release it as a ‘premium priced product’. That appears to mean like a normal game rather than a free to play model where you would buy additional cards and such – which I appreciate greatly as I’m not a fan of micro transaction models that have taken over so much of gaming.

You can vote for Ancestory on Greenlight now if you want to support them and follow them there to see what updates are coming. If you are a fan of card games or of 1v1 strategy games, I think following this games development is worthwhile for the potential it has to be loads of strategic fun!

Obligatory Trailer:

Do you know a game you think To The Green should focus on next? Email [email protected] about it and we’ll take a look!


Don Parsons

News Editor

I've been a gamer for years of various types starting with the Sega Genesis and Shining Force when I was young. If I'm not playing video games, I'm often roleplaying, reading, writing, or pondering things brought up by speculative fiction.