[dropcap size=big]O[/dropcap]kay, I’ll admit it. When it comes to playing BattleCON Online I’m a total newb. I had never played the board game and I barely knew how to play it and only because I watched the gameplay video on the Kickstarter page. Still, I had the honor of virtually sitting down with JR Honeycutt for a quick game of the current build. Before I get into my impressions on it, I want to point out that this is a pretty early Alpha build and nowhere near the polish that backers will be treated to when the Beta hits around December.
To start off, we played in “Turbo Mode”, which is a fast paced mode where each round is timed at 90 seconds. Which means that someone who’s never heard of BattleCON and its expansions like myself would find playing it daunting. Thankfully, I’m an avid card gamer so I picked it up relatively quickly. And I think that I did pretty well during the match all things considered.
Here’s the basic gist of BattleCON Online. You and another player square off against each other in a battle royale trying to whittle each others’ health down to zero. But, as I quickly learned it’s not quite that simple. Strategy is much more important than luck in this game compared to others. There’s also a lot to take in in such a short time. In fact, I barely scratched the surface during our quickie match.
The current build is limited to two fighters: the aggressive Shekhtur and the defensive Eligor. Being the type that prefers to play games on a more defensive footing I chose Eligor. As did JR. So it was a clone battle. And it was an interesting experience to say the least. And it was a much closer fight than I had expected due to my lack of understanding the game and its rules. I had him down to 4 life before he trounced me mercilessly.
Anyway, each round consists of deciding on a pair of cards to use as your attack…a “style” and a “base” which modify each others’ stats and offer special abilities which add to the strategic aspect of BattleCON Online. You can also ante up special tokens for your chosen character to help out in the fight. Eligor’s gives stun guard which is very important when your playing because you don’t want to lose a turn.
Despite being in an early build BattleCON Online already looks great and it plays relatively smoothly as well. I can only imagine how everything will look once it launches. I already backed the Kickstarter but after experiencing it firsthand I’m sorely tempted to up my pledge because I love what I’ve seen so far. And if the other characters are as addicting to play as Eligor I’m sure to be spending a lot of time playing.
Here’s the kicker. Until I saw the campaign drop into my lap I didn’t even know BattleCON as a franchise even existed let alone a digital version on its way. And apparently it’s been around for years without me realizing it. I may have started to get away from tabletop gaming but for this I’ll most certainly be making an exception.