BENGALURU : Aeon’s End is a cooperative deckbuilding game set in a post-apocalyptic fantasy universe. That’s a whole bunch of descriptions that may or may not mean anything to you, so let me just say this — it is a strange fusion of the worlds of Diablo (the videogame series) and the Matrix movies, and it is also one of the best co-op games around.
A demonic invasion has laid the world to waste, and the survivors have taken refuge in Gravehold, the last city to hold out. You and your fellow players will play the role of breach mages — powerful sorcerers who can use the rifts that led to the invasion against the invaders themselves. However, each game sees you go up against a different Nemesis, each with their own special powers and unique playstyles.
Let’s get the standard stuff out of the way — every game, you’ll have a different setup of various cards that you can buy and add to your personal deck. Over time, your deck will grow more and more powerful, allowing you to deal greater damage to the Nemesis and its minions as well as aiding your allies. Do enough damage to the Nemesis before it can destroy Gravehold, and you win. So far, so been-there-done-that. Luckily, that’s where Aeon’s End throws ‘normal’ out of the window.
For starters, you never shuffle your deck. Now, if you’ve never played a deckbuilder before, you’re probably confused as to why this is unusual at all. Suffice to say that being able to play your cards in a particular order gives you much more control over your turns and lowers the luck of the draw significantly. In fact, Aeon’s End does everything it can to give its players more control, more agency; and the game is all the better for it.
Secondly, while most games fall into a pattern of I-go-then-they-go-then-you-go-then-they-go after a while, turn order in Aeon’s End is variable and governed by a deck of cards — meaning you’re not always sure who’s turn it’ll be next. And that adds some wonderful tension to the game — will you be able to fire off that epic spell you’ve got prepared before the Nemesis can do anything about it, or will it activate next turn and force you to discard it? So much hinges on the turn of these cards, and it’s a blast even when it doesn’t go your way.
And the Nemeses themselves are phenomenal in how they change the feel of a game. Rageborne (who is basically Diablo) is all about attacking the players and Gravehold, whereas the Horde Crone summons up an army of husks to divert and distract you, while the Crooked Mask basically just messes with your decks and throws some nasty cards in there. The replayability in this one is through the roof.
There’s too much to say about Aeon’s End and not nearly enough time, so I’ll leave you with this — if anything you read above sounded interesting, this will almost certainly be a game you enjoy for a long, long time to come. So go try it out!