QuantaCat, on June 19th 2008, 03:35 PM, said:
Still. Why this game, and not Magic Online? The cards will be "lost" anyway, or is there an actual way to order your cards into real live ones? (along with board)
Because as soon as there is, I'm there. Otherwise, I rarely play online, and definitely not MMOs. (It's probably much smaller scale, but still)
I too love physical board/card strategy games, and have plenty of them that I enjoy playing. Unfortunately, my wife and most of our local friends aren't into strategy games. I missed playing Magic with my college buddies, and actually wanted to join Magic Online, but it wasn't available for Mac which is why I gave Starchamber a shot after reading its review on img. I convinced my brother (who lives half a country away) and several of my distant friends to join. At first I mostly played them online, but soon discovered what a great group of people play this game. I still play my Bro and distant friends, but have made a number of new ones through the game.
There is no physical version of Starchamber. There would be so much math and dice rolling involved that any physical version would be extremely cumbersome to play. I used to love to play the physical boardgame Risk as a kid... until I played the computer version and discovered that a 3 hour game could be played in 5 minutes with the computer doing the calculation.
Starchamber was designed to be exclusively a computer game, and as such has many advantages over Magic online.
1: Having now tried Magic online, I realize how poorly suited a game it is to being played online. On your turn every time you play a card, you have to wait to see if your opponent will play a card in response to that. This is easy playing physically, but is very annoying in a computer game. Lots of extra clicking. Starchamber has simultaneous turns with no response cards, and the game flows much smoother on the computer.
2: If a card turns out to be too powerfull, it can be fixed or "nerfed". This makes the game a lot more balanced and fixed any truely abusive cards. This would be impossible to do if the game also existed in printed form short of banning cards or adding cumbersome errata.
3. The board play aspect makes it impossible to lose a game by bad luck in card draws. In Magic, because land cards are in your deck, many games are won by one person being "mana screwed" where they draw either too little, too much, or the wrong color land. In Starchamber this is fixed. You get regular "tech" increases on certain turns with which to play your cards, and can gain additional tech by capturing artifact planets. You are never completely powerless in the game.