All Posts By Joseph Bertolini
Delving headfirst into Magic: The Gathering can be a daunting task, and the the physical card game is limited by the lack of any true single player option. That lack of a practice mode is precisely why the Magic iPad and XBox Live Arcade games have been so poplar: they are simply one of the best ways for new players to get their feet underneath them, establishing the confidence to challenge their more experienced peers.
Of course that’s not to say that they’re useless for more experienced players. I for one enjoy these apps immensely because they introduce cards and playing styles that I’m unfamiliar with and the difficulty can be ramped up to the point where the slightest miscalculation can mean the sudden conclusion of a match that just moments before had been under my total control.
Because of the frustration and complexity of these battles, we here at 148Apps decided to create a fairly thorough walkthrough of not simply basic Magic strategy, but how it specifically applies to the single player campaign in Magic 2015.
Assuming you’ve completed the tutorial, the first world you come across is Innistrad: the dark and seedy plane in which this journey begins. I played with a red and white mixed deck, which is one of the default configurations from the end of the tutorial, because it’s one of the more solid and flexible configurations as it doesn’t necessarily depend on specific combinations or a large amount of luck to win a match. Unless you’re really knowledgeable about Magic I’d highly recommend choosing one of the pre-built decks.
The first battle is against a black zombie deck that starts fairly slow but does become quite large late-game, and by “large” I am referring to the power of the creatures. The general rule for large, slow decks is to deal as much damage as early as you can – because if they can get their most powerful creatures out the game can be over in a matter of a few turns.
This Living Death deck contains little to no spells and just one flying creature, which means that if you can get a creature with flying on the field they basically become unblockable and can deal consistent damage each turn. A good tactic, if you can manage it, is to get a flying creature out early and try and add to its attack while using ground forces as sacrificial walls. The Living Death deck can get out of hand very quickly thanks to it’s enormous amount of lands, ability to resurrect defeated zombies, and Maalfeld Twins creature, which brings in two 2/2 zombie tokens upon death.
Nevertheless, you should be able to fairly easily navigate through this with a good start, and this is mostly predicated on the starting hand. The biggest tip for choosing a good starting hand is to pay attention to which player is starting off. If you’re the first to play you can get by with having 4 lands in your hand, because you get the first play and do not get a draw initially. Whoever plays second gets to draw a card first, and because of this it is common for these players to choose a starting hand with 3 or even 2 lands. Be careful of being too picky, however, as you only get one mulligan before your hand size decreases by one card on each consecutive re-draw.
Continue reading Magic 2015 – Tips, Tricks, and Strategies to Get You Planeswalking in No Time »
Those familiar with mobile gaming will be incredibly famililar with the premise of Farm Hero Saga. Swap the squares to form a row of three or more and remove the tiles to earn points, hopefully beginning a cataclysmic chain reaction of destruction. Farm Heroes Saga exists in a world that begins on a small farm but gradually expands to include ice cover fjords, African savannahas, and fantastical locales such as prehistoric jungles and, finally, a hidden temple. This is all hours, if not weeks, of play time away though as just taking the time to scroll through the map seems to take an eternity. This quick walkthrough will help you grasp the basics in order to make Farm Heroes Saga the go to game on the subway or in the waiting room for months to come.
The first few levels are a walk in the park, so to speak, and the myriad of rudimentary tutorials will probably frustrate seasond veterans of the genre. Getting three stars on a puzzle is really the goal to these kinds of games and this can be done by completing it with enough moves remaining to knock out as many tiles are required for each star “level”. In “Hero Mode”, after the objective is completed, tiles randomly get bonuses and long chain reactions are seemingly easier to come across which allows for major points and a satisfying feeling after solving a tricky puzzle. It should go without saying, but you want to complete the puzzle as efficiently as possible because some are hard enough to solve with the alotted moves let alone when considering how many leftovers are there.
The main way to get ahead is either matching four or five tiles in a row or by causing chain reactions. Because the game is not timed, take your time and look for potential fours or fives and pay special attention to the consequences of your move. Getting four in a row adds additional points to surrounding tiles which means that that apple with a +2 button on it now counts for 3 apples if it is matched out. Matching 5 in a row causes every similar tile to be removed from the board which can become incredibly powerful. However, it is rare that this happens by accident so be on the lookout to set up possible 5s. There are other combinations that give out bonuses such as completing a corner of 3×3 and creating two 3s with one move.
It is tempting at first to add moves to a tough puzzle with in-game currency but be warned it is a predictably slippery slope. I perfer to ignore it for the most part, but luckily the boosters repopulate over a lengthy time period so they can be incredibly effective if used correctly. For those playing in long stretches or multiple times a day, the long reload time will almost make it seem like they don’t really exist. It is also slightly annoying that the game puts a strange arbitrary “heart” limit on length of gameplay, but this is easily avoided by not quitting or restarting games, as every time a level isn’t played to the end, you lose a heart which slowly regenerates over five minutes or so.
What you will find as the game progresses is the inclusion of special tiles that quickly become a major pain to remove from the field.
The first of these is the flower tile which cannot be moved and needs 3 separate matches to be made in a non-diagional adjacent square. These, frustratingly, are usually placed in hard to reach spots generally around empty squares which limit the avenues for attack. The challenge comes from removing “dead zones” of unrelated tiles that inevitably stagnate around these cute little flowers. Levels will usually have you collect 5 or 6 of these and the best strategy is to try to get matches that hit more than one flower at a time. The shovel booster sometimes comes in handy late in a game with these.
The second is even more devilish than the first as it comes in two steps. First the player has to match three or more eggs in a row to form a little hatching chick and after further combining three of these hatchling chicks, you are finally rewarded with just one little bird. Matches over 3 do not count for anything extra, and no bonuses are given. The best method of attack for this is to not worry about getting the other fruits in the objective because the volume is usually fairly low and usually “accidentially” obtained by focusing on the eggs.
I will stop there as not to spoil anything else. By now, I am sure that you have a good head start to truly become a Farm Heroes Saga master, which is a title that will surely make every one of your friends jealous.
A Dark Room certainly ranks as one of the more unique games that I have ever played. Part of the magic of this game is that, because of the lack of any discernible tutorial, there is a very realistic sense that the character does not know what to do and is trying their best to keep their growing community going. Because of all that there really is a need for some guidance for those playing through the first time, or even those just looking for a more efficient route when booting the game up for the second or third time. That’s what I’ll attempt to do here, starting of course with waking up in a dark room.
[Note: We've tried to avoid spoilers as best we can, but even the emergent gameplay in A Dark Room could be considered spoiler territory to some. If you haven't played the game before and would rather feel your way through the first time, we advise that you hold off on reading this guide until your second attempt.]