A downloadable game for Windows and macOS

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Battle, build your deck and earn new cards in this roguelite where your hand is your health: if you get hit when you don't have any cards, it's game over. If you prevail, however, you get to draft new cards for your deck before moving on to the next fight.

  • Battle your way through 9 rooms against enemies with custom decks.
  • Your hand is your health. Take damage while your hand is empty, you die.
  • Build up your deck after each battle by drafting from 20 unique card.

This game is the first I've ever shipped, and was developed for the 7drl 2019.

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Click download now to get access to the following files:

cantrip 1.1.0 4 MB
cantrip 1.1.0 1 MB

Development log

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(1 edit)

Oh yes, I also found an issue with a softlock.

If you have a hand of shields and siphon, and the opponent does not have any attack cards, it will not let you discard and draw.

Basically, add some limitation to shields up it gets really ridiculous.

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It'd be great if there were a windowed option! Also, you might want to nerf the necromancer a bit.

EDIT: I just found the windowed option.

EDIT 2: It's impossibly small.

EDIT 3: It can be resized.

ADDITION UNRELATED TO THE ISSUE ABOVE!: It'd be cool if there was some way to remove cards from the deck, increase the odds of card draw.

What a journey hahaha. And yeah necromancer can be quite a pesky one.

Thanks for the feedback! I have some notes on further improvements and ideas, and more control over deck contents (yours and your opponents) and card draw is a big one.

Hello, 

I have like a lot your games but it can be better if you illustrate each of the cards. For that i just wanted to know you a website that i use frequently. It's name flaticon.

Neat!

Card advantage is very important in this game, even more than in Hearthstone or Magic, since it's also your health. So it's odd watching early enemies play cards which do very little - Attack costs 1 AP, makes me opponent lose a card, and also makes me lose a card (the Attack itself). I'd often rather not play it and let my opponent come to me.

The Necromancer especially - they'd sometimes play their Siphon card at a time when it did literally nothing. And in doing so, leave themselves with 1 card in hand, letting me kill them on my turn.

This strategy worked pretty well until I fought the more control-oriented Blacksmith, and the fight dragged on until both our hands were completely full... of Shields. Some way to break the stalemate would be nice.

In any case, this is a very neat design, good work! The cards slide around the screen very fluidly, and there's an interesting variety of abilities. The animations feel a bit slow sometimes - they were fine when I'm still learning the game, but once I knew what all the cards did I didn't need as much time to read them. As you can see, the rules are deep enough that it makes me ponder the balance and really think about which abilities are most useful. (2AP to draw 3 cards, you say? Gimme gimme!) And good thinking on _forcing_ me to pick a card during the draft - in Slay the Spire, I always found it hard to know when to turn down a card and keep my deck small. Keeping it a choice of "which of these three cards is best?" makes the decision clearer.

Ha! Ok, I've beaten the game now, and... I was wrong about a lot of things in my last comment :D

I maintain that Healing Potion, and Fireblast, and indeed most of the 2AP cards are very powerful, if I can hang onto 2AP and the card for long enough to play them. Relying on that means that the most useful card in my deck is probably Rest.

I haven't tried the shield-heavy strategy with Shields Up, Shield Bash, and Transmute Shields yet. It looks like it'll be tricky to get going. Too slow to end the game on turn 2 the way Fireblast does. But it clogs my deck with unplayable Shields so it's not a good slow-game plan either.

I found a completely useless infinite loop where I play the 0-cost card that mimics whatever's on top of their graveyard, and that card in turn draws the top card of my graveyard, which of course is the one I just played. What a convoluted way of doing nothing at all!

... anyway! This game is lovely. A bit of graphical polish and some sound effects are all it needs.

Thanks for the detailed analysis! I enjoyed reading your take on it.

The game indeed has a problem with characters olaying useless cards. There are a lot of cases and they’re quite easy to fix in a basic way. I’m expecting that the difficulty and challange of the battles will increase quite a bit with that.

Part of the difficulty of any synergies of the game (mainly shields & mana burst) right now is probably access: there are very few moments in which they can be drafted.p, so you mayne only see shield bash once or twice as an option per game. Was that also why you didn’t go for shields? Or was it just too convoluted to work with? 

Indeed, a quick fireblast gets you much further. Perhaps fireblast is a little OP, especially since enemies often and quickly empty their hand. Something I should think about, for sure.

I’ve been trying to figure out a way to prevent the hand-full-of-shields stalemate. It’s possible to end up with 2 characters who can do nothing but pass their turns. Is that what happened to you? I’m considering automatically discarding a card when drawing on a full hand, allowing voluntary discards, or a full hand mulligan at the cost of 1 card. If you have any ideas, let me know.

All the above and some other tweaks and balancing are coming up in a next patch somewhere in the next 2 weeks. “Transmute shields”, for instance, will go down to 0 cost, making tempo shield decks a bit more viable. “Raise the dead” is never an interesting draft pick, so it will also go down to 0 cost. “Seance” is way too powerful at 0 and will go to 1. Things like that.

I’d love to add sound and some more graphical flourish at some point. Perhaps card illustrations or effect animations will be nice. And yeah, the animations can get a bit slow after a while. Probably I’ll make them skippable by clicking anywhere.

It’s possible to end up with 2 characters who can do nothing but pass their turns. Is that what happened to you?

Almost - I was unable to do anything but pass my turns. The enemy nearly was too; I quit the game before finding out if they were going to draw an attack, since I judged that I wouldn't be able to win even if they did help clear my hand.

Automatically discarding a card when drawing on a full hand does have the benefit that you don't need an extra UI button to trigger it.

Was that also why you didn’t go for shields? Or was it just too convoluted to work with? 

I tried it once -- that's when I got stuck on the hand-full-of-shields, which scared me off trying it again. (Although I didn't get Shield Bash that time, which would have been helpful.)

I'll play again tomorrow and see if I can make it work.

 Perhaps fireblast is a little OP

Reduce it to 2 damage, perhaps? That's 2AP for only one card advantage, but any card advantage at all should be 2AP (or some equivalent cost) and it's very easy to finish enemies off with 3 damage at once.

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Hi! Thanks again for the feedback you gave me way back when; it was very helpful. It's been a minute and I've since updated the game with some mechanical changes and card tweaks to allow for more synergies and make some cards worth a pick to begin with. Most importantly, all characters start with their hand filled completely. Among other things, this makes fireball much less instakill and more just good card, and gives 2AP cards a chance to shine because of the longer games.

I'm wondering, if you played it, what you think, and if it changes the feel of the game.

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I did! I like the changes a lot, and I still come back to Cantrip every couple of weeks or so.

* The change to Stamina Potion is welcome - I hadn't realised until now just how strong it was. Or perhaps you've made 2AP cards more interesting in general, so Stamina Potion is a good way to get them out against enemies who use Siphon.

* Transmute Shields is still very niche. Powerful in a shield-heavy deck, but often a dead card otherwise - and it appears in the early levels, so I often have to decide whether to take it before I know if I'll have enough shields to make it good.

* Raise The Dead is my favourite earlygame card. It's another use of whatever the strongest card in my deck is! Extremely flexible, and useful in every deck... perhaps a little OP at times, but using it right takes some thought. (Which of my cards would I want to replay, here and now?)

* Desecrate and Leech make "Steal the enemy's cards until all their combos are missing pieces" a viable build. Interesting that Shields Up and Read Mind add cards to the game, but there's no effect that removes cards - stealing the enemy's cards is the only way to disrupt their deck.

* I've noticed that some cards only appear as rewards for later battles, but I'm not sure which. I know they're supposed to be rarer and more powerful - for example, Healing Potion is always better than Read Mind, but Read Mind is available from the start. Could it be clearer when this is happening, so I know I should be excited when a rare/powerful card shows up?

* Revenge From Beyond has a weird effect if the top two cards of the opponent's graveyard are also Revenge From Beyond. I think the game let me play another card before the animations had finished resolving?

* I have no idea how to use Mindswap.

* Shields Up is much better now. 1AP for one card-advantage - it's comparable to Leech, but with shields. It's strong enough to take with no other synergies, but it naturally leads me into a shield-based build  later on. 1 card-advantage for a cost of 1AP makes it a good card to see as my first reward in the game, but the risk of clogging my deck with shields means I can't rely on it forever. Great change.

Finally, let me see if I've understood the basic strategy of this game. The change to starting with a full hand has really driven home how important card-advantage is in the first three battles. For example, Leech replaces itself in my hand while removing one card from my opponent's, and Shields Up and Read Mind both leave me with one more card than I'd had before playing them. None of the starting deck does that (Attack and Combust hurt both sides equally, Rest cycles itself, and Shield isn't playable anyway). Against enemies who start with more cards than me, it's literally impossible to win without a way of creating card-advantage - and usually, the first time that matters is against the first boss.

It's sometimes possible to beat the first boss regardless if it has cards that disadvantage them (particularly Siphon and Stamina Potion), and it uses them incorrectly - reducing such fights to luck and exploiting the AI. For example, when losing against the Necromancer, I'll end my turn with 1AP left, to bait out its Siphon when it doesn't have an effective way of spending the extra AP from Siphon.

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All in all, I really like this game, and I like talking about it.

Nice rule idea, yet seems this points also make the playing so loose. It seems better to put more advantage of attack or the flow is getting loose and slower.

How am I supposed to run a .dmg file?

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The .dmg file is an archive containing the game for MacOS. Open the archive and move the game onto your system. I've also just uploaded a Windows executable, if that's what you're looking for.