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Roguebook: Richard Garfield slays a spire of his own


Round and round I go
Staff member
Richard Garfield said:
Roguebook is a digital game I worked on with the folk who made Faeria. It is a deck-builder in the same family as Slay the Spire. One of the key things we aimed to do was make constructing a big deck — a "tower deck" as we call them — a viable strategy. Most deck-building games are as much, or more, about removing cards than adding them. This is an interesting and skill-testing characteristic, but it is not logically required of the genre for an interesting game.

Roguebook releases on June 24 on basically every modern platform, and you can preorder right now on PC to get access to a demo. I don't really care about Faeria, but I am interested in seeing what Garfield can do with the roguelite deckbuilder formula.

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does the Underpants Dance
Instantly intrigued by his approach. "Thinning out my deck" was a hard concept to wrap my head around when I played Monster Train (my first real deckbuilder game).


aggro table, shmaggro table
Yeah, that's one of the hardest concepts to wrap yourself around for any sort of deck building game. There's a real tension between build speed and deck complexity, as the longer it takes for you to get your deck's build/concept up and running the more time you give your opponent to spoke your wheel.


Very cool!

Deck thinning is key in Dominion because you start with 10 bad cards. Adding good cards slightly increases your average hand value, but if you can also get rid of the bad cards you can increase the average hand value much more dramatically. Garfield is absolutely correct that it is not required for the genre, that’s just how Donald X. did it. Very interested in seeing what he comes up with.


Round and round I go
Staff member
It's not required, but "smaller = better" is a hard paradigm to escape, and this game already shows there are ways to remove cards. Garfield knows his way around a card game, so I'm interested to see what he's done here. I notice he didn't say that this would come at the expense of making minimalist decks unviable, but I don't know of a single card game where an 80-card deck and a 10-card deck can both work equally well.

(One way you can work around "smaller is better" is deck destruction effects, like the Consume variant of Seraph in Monster Train. That only mitigates it, though; it still doesn't make huge viable.)


(he / him)
I'm very curious as to what extent large decks can be made viable in this game. How do you cultivate having a broad number of cards while controlling for bloat? In other deckbuilders, large decks only make sense in specialized circumstances. Dominion has victory cards like Gardens that encourage large decks. If I recall correctly, One Step From Eden has some artifacts and cards that scale on the number of cards in the deck?

But even in those circumstances, you still want to avoid bloating your deck for no reason. In a Dominion Gardens deck, you still need a certain amount of economic support in the deck to purchase cards at a rapid enough pace. In One Step From Eden, the fact that your deck can (ordinarily) only have one copy of each card means that you still need to be selective of cards you take to maintain the synergy of most of your deck. So it'll be interesting to see whether Roguebook actively encourages larger decks, makes them circumstantial, or asks the player to make strategic decisions on whether they want to go thin or tall in any given run.


Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
I mean, if you want to encourage large decks, I'd think you'd want two things: challenges with varied requirements, and aggressive card filtering/selection. The first means that you're encouraged to include a variety of cards to meet a variety of needs, while the latter means you get to look at many of the cards in your deck and choose a subset of them. Other things that might help prop up larger decks would be flexible cards with multiple play modes or mechanics that allow you to use cards for different purposes.

All of that said, though, honestly, I don't care if it succeeds or not. I was on board as soon as I saw a trailer a month or two ago: game looks fun and cool, and I love MTG, so I'm eager to give it a try. Also, for some reason, the hex grid world navigation reminds me of Heroes of Might and Magic 3? Can't put my finger on why, but I loved that game, so that's another check in the pro column.