In my journey to pull my kids away from technology, card and board games have become the common answer. Playfully battling against my sons and daughters in games of skill and chance have led to epic conversations and arguments over who cheated, how badly I lost, and what will occur the next time we play. One game in particular, BattleCON: Fate of Indines, led to a battle that resulted in one of my few defeats at the hands of my younger counterparts.
BattleCON: Fate of Indines is a 1v1 or 2v2 card based fighting game featuring 18 unique fighters destined to battle it out on your gaming table. Imagine Street Fighter and maybe even, more accurately, Darkstalkers; if you’re a fighting genre video game fan, you’ll have an idea of the tone. There is a small game board that reflects the 2D position of each of the fighters. The far edges of the board are the ‘wall’ or the TV screen edge. In between are position markers that signify whether the fighters are close enough for melee attacks or ranged attacks.
BattleCON (which is the name of the fighting system developed by D. Brad Talton Jr. for Level 99 Games) uses a simple ‘select’, ‘reveal’, and ‘carry out the rules on the cards’. Each character has their own deck of cards that contain move modifiers (Style) as well as special moves (Base) that only that character can perform. These cards are coupled with the default move (Base) deck. Each of these cards have RANGE, POWER, and PRIORITY stats along with other possibly rules. In order to perform a move, a player selects a Style and a Base and puts them face down until their opponent does the same. The STYLE card is kind of like the adjective in that it describes the following BASE move. These cards have words like ‘Destruction’, ‘Flaming’, and ‘Swift’. The BASE cards are the moves and have words like ‘Strike’, ‘Dodge’, ‘Sweep’, and so on. When ready, both sides reveal their choice and the stats on the card reveal who does what and the results. Just like in fighting games, whoever hits the other fighter first at any given moment will typically ‘stun’ the slower opponent so that their attack is cancelled out once they are hit. Some moves, however, have what is called stun guard which protects them from that status and lets them counter attack in that round. Either way, the battle goes on round after round moving on the board, performing moves, and doing damage until someone is KO’d or time runs out.
The rulebook has a generally complete explanation of basic rules and how a few rounds are played. Another included book shares character summaries and explains the complexity of using each character. Some of them have a more complex Unique Ability scheme that requires the buildup and usage of tokens to modify moves.
As I finished my first playthrough of the game, I instantly began to see strategies I could use for my chosen fighter the next time I played. On a basic level, the game structure is easy. If a player only used the basic fighters and rules and never touched the advanced tokens and finishers, the game would have an amazing appeal that I wish could be applied to licenses like Street Fighter, Dragonball Z, and Tekken card games. BattleCON pools its own lore and characters that are beautifully drawn and yet are completely unique. I wish there was a comic book or series of video shorts to introduce the world of these fighters.
Even without that, it is easy to see how this game could easily translate into a sustained tournament style card game. The rules are fun, quick, and yet have enough depth to warrant exciting playthroughs at multiple experience levels. Just as you think you’ve mastered the set, Level 99 Games also has a number of other expansions containing more fighters to add to the roster. This is a great ‘who can beat the champ’ family game for action and fighting game aficionados.