‘Trials of Fire’ Does Small Scale Tactics Right

’Trials of Fire’ blends a roguelike deckbuilder and tactical hex based combat with small maps that don’t feel cramped.
April 14, 2021, 1:00pm
Screenshot from 'Trials of Fire', a hex based map with player and enemy tokens is shown, the elementalist character is casting a fireball between two pieces of cover that perfectly encapsulates a group of enemies.
Image courtesy of Whatboy Games

It can be a difficult balancing act when game devs blend genres. Understanding which parts of different formats work well together is difficult enough, you also have to consider how much of each genre to focus on. Trials of Fire takes this challenge on with two genres that on their own can be incredibly complex, and together could easily become overwhelming and messy. Luckily, developer Whatboy Games found that balance by keeping both the deck size and map scale of their deckbuilding-tactical combat relatively small.

Advertisement

This may sound obvious, but it can be a relatively hard thing to ping down the balance in tactical turn based gameplay on a small scale. Too few spaces and can make movement feel inconsequential and the map cramped. But Trials of Fire small maps feel just right, enough space to move around and small obstacles that break line of sight without cluttering the space. Add to that a card system that allows you to “recycle” a card into movement (amongst other things), and you have a winning combination that keeps fights feeling dynamic while keeping their scale manageable for the roguelike format. We discuss Trials of Fire plethora of interlocking mechanics,Say No! More’s throwback comedic gameplay, and more on this episode of Waypoint Radio.

You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Stitcher. If you're using something else, this RSS link should let you add the podcast to whatever platform you'd like. If you'd like to directly download the podcast, click here. Please take a moment and review the podcast, especially on Apple Podcasts. It really helps.

Interaction with you is a big part of this podcast, so make sure to send any questions you have for us to gaming@vice.com with the header "Questions." (Without the quotes!) We can't guarantee we'll answer all of your questions, but rest assured, we'll be taking a look at them.

Have thoughts? Swing by the Waypoint forums to share them!