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Demon Loop is Slay the Spire via Loop Hero from the designer of Great Western Trail

Beloved board game designer Alexander Pfister tries his hand at a digital deckbuilder.

Screenshot from Demon Loop video game from Steam page
Image credit: Magnolia Games

There’s a substantial cross-section of video games that intentionally draw on the mechanics of board games, lending them a tactical and engine-focused edge - deckbuilders, turn-based tactical games and anything that uses cards as resources fits this bill. It makes sense, then, that veteran designer Alexander Pfister is helping to create a new video game, Demon Loop, that wears its tabletop inspirations on its sleeve.

Demon Loop is an upcoming tactics video game from a new Austrian outfit called Magnolia Games. It’s big draw for analogue players is Pfister’s involvement in the creative process, and the creator of Great Western Trail, Maracaibo and Isle of Skye has partnered with them and Enhydra Games to send players against hordes of demons who threaten to destroy humanity’s tenuous hold on the land.

Players will gradually construct and refine a deck across runs, a la Slay the Spire, using their abilities to repair buildings in various villages and recruit their inhabitants into a growing resistance force. All the while, players will improve their own cards by visiting shops or overcoming events. Shards earned in battle against demons can be used to upgrade cards already added to the player’s deck.

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Loop Hero is another obvious inspiration made clear in Demon Loop’s system of improving barracks, mines, taverns and other structures so that the protagonist’s next circuit through the countryside can take advantage of bigger and more effective boons. Demons lurk the roads between settlements, and the players’ demon slayer will use a deck of cards unique to each starting location to fend off these constant threats.

Pfister describes Demon Loop in a press release as “combining the charm and strategic depths of an expert board game to the possibilities of a video game,” and Magnolia Games is planning to launch in early access in order to test the various systems and fold user feedback into their design process. The designer expects to launch fully out of early access after roughly a year.

Screenshot from Demon Loop video game from Steam page
Image credit: Magnolia Games

The rest of the team includes Daniel Rachbauer on graphics, a soundtrack by Richard Kerz and an original story by author Katharina V. Haderer. Embrace your destiny as a demon slayer all while researching the mystery behind the crystal shards that litter the land and their possible connection to the growing demonic onslaught.

The cross-pollination between tabletop games and their digital counterparts has been growing over the past few years as several notable video game franchises adapt to board games, such as Slay the Spire, Terraria and Stardew Valley. At the same time, video games like Armello, Demon Loop and other deckbuilders learn from physical game design in order to keep that vibrant subgenre flourishing. The customer base may not always make a perfectly overlapping circle, but the exchange of ideas is always interesting to witness.

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