'Slay the Spire' is the Roguelike Card Game I Never Knew I Wanted


The spire has a city’s width and a mountain’s height, and I was well on my way to conquering it. I’d overcome acid-spewing slime creatures, barreled through gremlin cultists, and confronted autonomous arcane artifacts. I’d prowled the halls of mysterious libraries, gathered mystical relics, and sharpened my blades. But there was a problem: The velvet choker I was wearing was making it really hard to play cards.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/vbynmm/slay-the-spire-is-the-roguelike-card-game-i-never-knew-i-wanted


This game sounds awesome. Deckbuilders were my big entry point into the boardgaming hobby, and it’s such a good mechanic to represent progression in a single session. It’s a perfect fit for a roguelike game. As Austin wrote, watching your deck grow and evolve as you build it from scratch each game based on what’s available is very satisfying.

This game kinda reminds me a of Card Hunter’s system of loot and deck building. In that game, each piece of equipment was actually a set of action cards, i.e. being barehanded was a set of three 1-damage attacks while a sword would be two 2-damage attacks and one 1-damage attack. Wands gave magic attacks, boots provided movement cards, armor gave defense buff cards, etc. Your character’s deck was the cards provided by all the equipped gear shuffled together. It was such a clever system I’m honestly surprised we haven’t seen a follow up or someone else try to iterate on it in the years since its release, either in video game or tabletop form. Maybe the closest thing is Wizkids’ line of Dicemasters games…


I finally got around to watching the stream of this. Wow. Wow. Just… wow.

It’s the first three-hour stream I’ve watched, then immediately gone back to replay parts.


Picked this up after watching Austin’s screen and am enjoying it a lot. It’s getting a lot of buzz at the moment (a popular Hearthstone streamer just had a video of it, which is only going to add to that).

I enjoy a lot of physical deckbuilding games and it really captures the feel of those and then some.

I feel a little bit sorry for the devs of Monster Slayers (http://store.steampowered.com/app/496620/Monster_Slayers/) . A similar game that came out last year. It lacks the gothic art style and is more cute/chibi, but a similar style of game and well reveiwed on steam. If you like StS and want more it might be worth investigating, it’s pretty cheap. I really enjoyed it at the time, but think Spire is slightly better.


There’s something very pure about a fully transparent (as in you see opponents’ moves) card game. This seems like a very simple, straightforward game on the surface, but you can’t really allow yourself a misstep when making something where, literally!, all the cards are on the table.

I love playing this, it makes me want to make a card game myself (and bang my head against how difficult that is). I’m really looking forward to where this dev goes.


I like both of these for different reasons. I found Slay the Spire easier than Monster Slayers (first win on my second run and usually make it to the 3rd boss and I’m not normally very good at these games), and the between run progression is more detailed and granular in Monster Slayers. MS is just more Rogue Legacy like, and that’s a good thing.

On the other hand, Slay the Spire is just plain better during the run. Better theme and tougher choices, and more interesting things can happen to you. Hopefully the devs of both learn from each other: since Dream Quest this has become one of my favourite sub-genre’s.


This game is way too easy to “just one more run”

I ended up playing something like 20 hours my first weekend of owning it


Yeah, I could see that. I picked this up yesterday and can’t stop thinking about it. I probably would have put 20 hours into it if given the chance.


This is exactly what happened to me. I picked this up and pretty much played it non-stop. I’m not usually interested in deck builders but am a fan of really strategic turn based stuff. This game really scratches that itch.


This game is also so good at giving you powers that fundamentally change how you want to approach games. I had one run last night where I was going all in on poison. I started building enemies up to 30+ poison because I focused my whole deck around it. I’ve never had any patience for deckbuilding, but when the scope of choice is so limited I find it much more approachable.


So there’s a difference between Deckbuilding games (Dominion, Star Realms, Ascension) and games that use preconstructed decks that are sometimes mistakenly referred to as “deck building” games (Magic: The Gathering, Netrunner, Hearthstone). The genre of Deckbuilding games in the board game space is exactly what you see out of Slay the Spire. Everyone starts with a crummy 10-ish card deck at the beginning of the game, then uses those cards to acquire new, more powerful cards from a limited pool in the center of the table. When your deck runs out of cards, instead of suffering a penalty like you would in a game like Magic: The Gathering or Hearthstone, you shuffle up all the cool cards you bought into your discard pile, flip it over, and keep playing.

As someone that doesn’t have the time or money to get into a preconstructed card game, but appreciates the satisfaction of building a deck and seeing combos hit in a fun way, deckbuilders really help scratch that itch for me. Star Realms and Hero Realms are inexpensive but very well designed deckbuilders that are a great entry point for anyone interested.

ETA: Star Realms and Ascension have very good, free to try mobile apps.


In case anyone else was confused about the Dream Quest mentions (not just itt, there were also some on twitter or twitch I think): yes, it really is the game that looks like MS Paint trash on Steam, and it was an iOS game in 2014 apparently. I just picked it up on Steam and it’s pretty clear that Slay the Spire was hugely influenced by it, but it’s also amazing that StS is such a polished product and DQ is so … not.

Apparently DQ was a major cult hit on iOS, despite its terrible graphics, and the creator was hired by Blizzard to work on Hearthstone(!). I had never heard of it. Would be a great thing to read an article about sometime.


I’ve played 21 hours of this game since I bought it on Monday… help…


I had a super fun run consisting of two relics that gave block and dealt damage on discard combined with a deck consisting of cards that draw and discard and a single upgraded Calculated Gamble that came in every other turn.

The Silent so far has really felt like they’re a bit more dependent on a good relic to work with their deck then the Ironclad to me. Still gonna keep trying them to figure out what works though.


This looks like it could definitely suck me in a for hours and hours. It’s intriguing to me that there’s all these other games that have been building on the this concept, but I’ve not paid it any mind before.

Along those lines, has anyone here checked out Nowhere Prophet? I like the style of it, and it looks like hitting a similar itch though with more of a squad-based flavor than solo-dungeon crawling.


I love that art style and it sorta reminds me that despite loving Slay the Spire I really wish the art was up to scratch.


I just finished my first trip up the spire. I think I love this game already.

Made it all the way to the end boss! Got thoroughly thrashed, lol.


Speaking of Roguelike Deckbuilders, Meteorfall is out today on iOS and android, and certainly seems worth checking out. I like the Adventure Time-esque art.


Meteorfall is pretty good. It isn’t as intricate as Slay the Spire but it’s cheap and scratches the same itch and most importantly it’s on my phone whenever i have a few minutes to kill.


I really enjoy Gremlins Inc. (I think these games share development teams or something?) and everything I hear about it appeals to me. But I exhausted Card Crawl very quickly once I developed a simple optimization strategy. How does Slay the Spire solve that problem? Is StS even similar to Card Crawl?

Edit: Watched some of the stream. I can see how the continous deckbuilding aspect and choosing paths would make the game more interesting than Card Crawl.