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Abalon mixes the roleplaying of D&D with the cardplay of Magic: The Gathering in a tactical fantasy adventure (Sponsored)

Real-time exploration meets turn-based combat.

Image: D20Studios

This article is sponsored by Abalon and D20Studios. Find out more and buy Abalon on Steam.

A new video game inspired by Dungeons & Dragons, Magic: The Gathering and other tabletop classics looks to combine the exploration and storytelling of RPGs with the tactical combat and customisation of trading card games.

In Abalon, the player ventures their party of heroes into one of five different fantasy worlds inspired by classic tabletop settings. Each world has a unique selection of characters to meet, events to experience and bosses to overcome, spanning environments from frosty mountains and dry deserts to lush woodlands and classic dungeon-crawls.

The player controls one of 20 different heroes, each with their own unique powers and abilities. Each of these summoners specialises in two of Abalon’s distinct schools of magic - Arcane, Celestial, Nature, Void or Chaos - enabling a variety of combinations for different strategies and playstyles. For instance, Arcane could grant you the power to control your enemies’ minds, while Chaos excels in powerful fire spells to clear a room of foes.

The trailer for Abalon

Exploration plays out like a real-time, top-down computer RPG as the hero and up to two guardian companions move through each level, gathering treasure and interacting with the world. When players come across an event or skill test, from freeing a caged bear companion to joining goblins for a birthday party, they roll a virtual d20 to judge their character’s success, with the ability to add dice collected during their travels to boost their chances of success.

When combat kicks off, Abalon shifts to tactical, turn-based battles driven by the player’s collected deck of cards. Like trading card games such as Magic: The Gathering, players can customise their deck of 20 cards to embrace certain strategies and ways of fighting by combining different card classes together. You could summon helpful allies, let loose with attack spells or buff your hero and their party with support abilities.

Image: D20Studios

Combat plays out on a grid-based battlefield, allowing for tactical positioning and manipulation of your enemies’ positions through cards to gain the upper hand. The combat arenas also include terrain effects that can be used to overcome tougher foes, such as ducking behind cover to avoid attacks, shunting foes into spiked walls or even transforming the environment itself into magical allies.

Extra cards for your deck can be discovered while exploring, along with equipment and more than 50 recruitable companions who will help you on your way. Players can easily swap in new cards while resting at a campfire to try new strategies without having to construct an entirely new deck. There are more than 400 different cards in Abalon, resulting in a huge number of possible combinations.

Image: D20Studios

As a roguelike game, Abalon is designed for multiple playthroughs, with each run offering a different set of discoveries. The game’s Adventure mode spans three hour-long chapters - each culminating in a boss fight - across a campaign. The Battle mode, meanwhile, pits a deck constructed from any cards they’ve collected so far against enemies in a one-off battle lasting under 10 minutes.

Abalon is available on PC now via Steam, priced at $29.99/£24.99.

About the Author
Matt Jarvis avatar

Matt Jarvis

Editor-in-chief

After starting his career writing about music, films and video games for various places, Matt spent many years as a technology, PC and video game journalist before writing about tabletop games as the editor of Tabletop Gaming magazine. He joined Dicebreaker as editor-in-chief in 2019, and has been trying to convince the rest of the team to play Diplomacy since.

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