I often feel like roguelike deckbuilders use a wide breadth of cards in their game to distract from the fact the core gameplay loop just isn’t all that satisfying. So, enter Pawnbarian, a game that doesn’t let you change your cards at all between characters, all you can do is add one of a few different upgrades. Strips away all the noise and gives you satisfying, thoughtful gameplay from the moment you start a run to its finish.

What it delivers is an experience that reminds me of Into the Breach, but with movement/attacks that vary from hand to hand. Calculating out the perfect route through the board to get a few pick offs and avoid damage is incredibly satisfying. Each turn feels like a tight geometric puzzle. The different characters really do feel like different beasts entirely. The titular Pawnbarian gains a lot from getting past the enemies to the final rank, the Knight Templar gets more actions by using more knights, and the Shogun uses pieces inspired by Shogi, which are often a little weaker, but he backs them up with an AoE ability he can power up by killing enemies.

Real player with 25.8 hrs in game

Read More: Best Chess Turn-Based Tactics Games.

I was privileged to win a copy of this early via Esty’s Misfits giveaway on Twitch (@Esty8nine) - delighted, because I was salivating over this from the ads!

The game is very much as it appears: use your moves optimally, learn opponent moves, build your army, and try not to die of Blight. It’s one of those puzzle strategy games you could open, mess around with for a bit and close again. I’ve since found the 2019 free demo, and it’s true to that- though extra time & development has gone in to make user experience satisfying.

Real player with 14.5 hrs in game

Pawnbarian on Steam

Fareo: Shadowlands

Fareo: Shadowlands

Interesting mechanics so far. I like the card as a movement and “special attack” resource, and the very cool “Alter Terrain” concept by trashing extra cards at the end of turn.

I’m also into perma-death endless dungeon runs, so I’m not sure what to expect after the initial “forced” campaign with the Rocky Warrors. Hopefully the devs did put in endless journey mode, until our party dies.

Finally, I did stream it on Twitch to make gameplay vids, but saw no Game Category to further publicize the game, so if the game’s title can be added to Twitch, would be great.

Real player with 10.9 hrs in game

Read More: Best Chess Singleplayer Games.

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EA Turn based tactics roguelite + nice graphics + unique mechanics = Langrisser mixed with StS. Explore and adventure in dungeons with your team of heroes. 40+ heroes with skills, EQ and upgrades.

Real player with 7.7 hrs in game

Fareo: Shadowlands on Steam

Chess Destroyer

Chess Destroyer

What a great and innovative way to play chess. I like the ways you destroy other pieces it looks really great combined with the amazing sound effects it makes when you crush enemies and next wave comes into play. If you are a fan of chess or have just played it for fun then i really recommend this game. I also think it is a great way to think differently and also practice some strategy in the real game.

Real player with 2.8 hrs in game

Read More: Best Chess Board Game Games.

Cool idea but the game is stacked against you. even in random “Easy” mode you can not keep it going for long as the goals become unobtainable

Real player with 2.3 hrs in game

Chess Destroyer on Steam