The Weekend Hangover is Too Much Gaming's Monday rumination of the games or game we played over the weekend. Sometimes there is alcohol involved in the hangover we’re nursing, but most other times there’s just too much gaming.
I’m honestly not a big deck and card game guy. I’ve put in my fair share of time into games like Hearthstone and Card Hunter, and I’ve whittled away some office hours on Facebook-based card battlers like Warstorm (back in a decade when Facebook was more infamous as a destination for time-sucking vortices than a hotbed of hate groups.)
Partly it’s because I feel like so many of these games are structured around staying competitive against other players, and well, I’m not a really competitive fella. There’s more than enough stress in everyday life without inviting the anxiety of getting the right cards and keeping up with the meta. So, honestly I was a bit unsure about Deep Sky Derelicts.
The premise: you lead a team of freelancers, charged with exploring the abandoned husks of starships on the edge of space – derelicts, deep in the sky if you will – with the ultimate goal of finding a near mythical vessel filled with valuable treasures. From the scavenger freeport, you’ll trade loot, procure medical services, sign up for extra contracts and set out for more.
Each ship is a grid map of rooms, and every point of movement you take or combat turn you resolve consumes your energy, as does your ability to scan for nearby danger or treasure. So basically each derelict is its own dungeon, a dark delve into danger that requires you to keep energy left over to make your way back to its exit points.
It’s in combat where Deep Sky Derelicts plays out as a card game, with each of your characters being able to equip a variety of weapons, gadgets and mods that effectively builds the deck they draw from on their turn. Meaning if you don’t have a medical tool, then you’re not drawing any curative cards and if you’re wielding an energy shotgun, then your attack cards will hit multiple targets in a spread.
This I like. Rather than having to manage an entire battlefield – Gwent or Hearthstone style – from one fat stack of cards, you’re drawing from three individuated piles you define according to gear and roles. Those people who like to min-max a “proper” single deck are liable to be frustrated with this game, but I like it just fine, since it affords me more tactical control over how each turn plays out.
Deep Sky Derelicts isn’t perfect due to its lack of proper tutorialization, especially with regards to the finer details of combat, and some UI elements fade sooner than you can read them – if you don’t click past them by mistake as well – but it’s a game that rewards you for being deliberate even if it never challenges you in complexity.