Television bores me. Instead I spend obsessive hours scouring the internet for entertainment. Most times you find nothing of interest, sometimes you find amusing games to pass the time (see Motocross), but at other times you stumble upon one of those rare gems. My most recent find is Octipi's PoxNora. PoxNora is a turn-based strategy game based on playing cards. It resembles a Magic: The Gathering and a Heroes of Might & Magic hybrid. The game is java based and a very quick download. Players may play for free with a few full sets of pre-set, faction-based "Battlegroups".
Players take turns moving various units around the terrain on the game board. Cards are played in turn to spawn units, relics, spells and equipment. Each unit has its strengths and weakness such as movement speed, attack, defense, and special abilities. Essentially the game is like a fantasy-lover's dream chessboard.
If the game interests you after playing through a few of the demo decks, players have the option to purchase various size decks to construct there own battle groups. Purchase decks will have a mix of common, uncommon, rare and the ever-elusive exotic cards. The hand drawn artwork for the cards is breath-taking and is half of the coolness factor of PoxNora. A player can essentially get started with $10.00 (US). Once a player gets a bit established they can start playing rank games, level-up their cards, trade and bid with other players for cards, and enter online tournaments. There is an upcoming tournament with $10,000.00 in cash prizes. So if find yourself looking for something new, I would definitely recommend this title.
Aggro Note: Like potato chips dipped in luscious chocolate, sometimes two very different flavors taste so good together. Pox Nora is delicious. The card battle elements work very well with the SRPG portion (think Shining Force or FF Tactics). What I love about it is that a person with an excellent deck can sometimes defeat a person with superior strategy on the battlefield. And a tactical genius can sometimes defeat a player who has a more skillfully constructed deck.
Then for good measure PoxNora throws in the persistent MMO-lite element of being able to gain xp which can add abilities to your cards. Note that this doesn't necessarily make your deck stronger because it increases the casting cost of those cards. So don't feel you're at a disadvantage to established players. More xp really just gives you more options, not an automatically better deck.
While the card artwork is fantastic, sometimes the battlefield can get very cluttered and it can be hard to tell which piece is yours. It would be nice if this was made more apparent.
The sample decks are strong so don't feel you have to purchase the game to enjoy it.
I believe SOE's Pirates game will have similar elements of deck-building and tactical strategy so I'll be keeping an eye on that as well.