Trying Regicide (The Game)
Yesterday I came across a free game called Regicide. It's a cooperative boss rush card game that can be played with a standard 52 deck of cards plus 2 Jokers (or as they call it, Jesters).
Regicide Rules (PDF)
The game is a refreshingly original take on what kind of games can be played with a standard deck. Your hand acts as both your health and your attack options, creating interesting tactical decisions between what you want to discard when you take damage versus what you need to keep to complete the battle.
The value on each card acts as an attack value, and it's suit provides an extra power when it's played. Each boss gets progressively more difficult as you advance through the game. At first it can seem like a lot to learn. But it doesn't take long to get the hang of. At that point it's easy to keep it all in your head and the pace of the game flows quick and smooth.
I've played three times so far, each solo. The creators did a good job balancing for solo play, and I believe it would scale well to the decided 4 players. Something I rarely see in games.
I lost the first game, because I didn't notice the rule for using Jesters under the Solo Play heading. I assumed they were not used because the setup had me remove them for solo. At the second to last boss, I drew a hand which had no diamonds in it. This was instant death because playing diamond cards are the only way to draw new cards. If I had known about the Jester draw rule, I would have likely won.
The next two games were a lot easier with this rule. I got a Silver Victory for winning using only 1 Jester. Then I got a Gold Victory for winning without using Jesters.
This game has a reputation for being very challenging. (A common trait in cooperative games to keep the replayability high.) Perhaps I was getting lucky, or it's more challenging with multiplayer. More likely I think the game is fair in its balance, and with some basic strategy, it's almost predictable in play.
Like most games, your best off maximizing your actions each turn. Prioritize diamonds, since they are the strongest suit. Going for lethal is almost always the best option since it will both protect you from damage and reduce the future resources you need.
A more complete write-up on my Regicide strategy
After looking at the Flesh and Blood TCG, Regicide feels almost like a relaxing step down in terms of strategy. It's beginning to feel samey to me already, but to other gaming groups it might be just the right amount of depth.
I'd say anyone should consider giving it a try. It's a good game worth at least a few plays. Simple enough for anyone to learn, and the low cost for materials makes it very easy to get started with.
Just, avoid the app. Putting a paywall on the solo mode is dumb. You don't need it. I used a d6 and d10 to track the opponent's health and it was way less fiddly. A paper and pencil works fine too.