2019 VIDEO GAME CATCH-ALL THREAD in COMPUTERS & GAMES & TECH Posted June 21, 2019 · Edited June 21, 2019 by Lamp, broken circa 1988 AUTO CHESS  This is probably the game of the year, in an objective newsworthy sense. It's the dawn of a new genre and it's exploded in popularity. I'm now going to do my best to explain how it works, and then the difference between the three variants of it currently available, and then what I actually think of it. I'm doing this because I think a lot of people are doing a totally shit job of explaining how the game works, and I would like to throw myself onto the pile and see if I can climb to the top and get the flag. ACT 1: PLAYING THE GAME Okay. So, eight players. You get a slight amount of money, and you use that money to buy units, or "pieces." You place those pieces on half a chess board. A timer ticks down, the other half of the chess board fills with enemies, and then all the pieces come to life and act in specific ways. Warriors will tank things. Archers will shoot stuff. Assassins will leap over everyone to the back of the line and attack the ranged people. Mages isolate and attempt to neutralize specific targets. etc. The pieces each have two types of synergy, and those synergies will convey different things. (Multiple warriors will increase armor for all warriors. If you have a single demon, it will do 50% more damage. If you have two witchers, they will be recognized as one demon. etc etc.) At the end of the round, the board of purchasable pieces changes, and you can add more pieces. So, you construct a board of pieces through what's available. You can also use the money you get to re-roll all the purchasable characters. "Why is this important?" If you get three of the same piece, it will upgrade into a Two-Star version of that piece, which makes it hit harder and more resilient. If you get three Two-Star pieces, they can all combine to one Three-Star piece. The Three-Star pieces are the goal of your teambuilding exercise. Now this all costs money. There's multiple ways of accruing money. If you get REAL lucky early on, you can just spend the whole game accruing money through a win streak. There is also, however, bonus money gained for being on a losing streak. So if you don't get money early, it behooves you to job so you can accrue money and see what interests you in the purchase board. Oh, and by the way, the money accrues interest, so the longer you wait, the higher your interest is, the more you have to throw around when you cash out. You can also sell pieces back for a full refund, if you start with one strategy and then realize you want to pivot to another. Throughout the match, you will level up. Every time you level up, you can add another piece to the board. I have never gotten past level 8, but I assume you can. Winning is not the only way to get experience. You can also buy it. Five coins gets you 4XP. So that's another thing to add in to the overarching strategy of the match The first three rounds are against AI enemies, and then after that it's humans, with an AI damage check at every 5th level from then on (starting at level 10). So your boards of pieces will fight other boards, while defending your own board. It'll in fact make a copy of your board and put that against someone else. So, you can be defending against Player B, but attacking Player E. The ultimate goal is to defend: If all your pieces die, you will take damage that is multiplied by the number of enemies left. Oh, also, these AI enemies drop items that you can use to permanently buff your pieces, and those items So, to recap, this game has -No Mechanical Barrier (you place the pieces and they fight for themselves) -Looting (items from creeps) -Gambling (Constant rerolling of purchasable characters) -Creativity (Creating synergies from the characters you see, which keeps you on your toes and looking for exploitable patterns) -Tactical Considerations (Placing your pieces to counter assassins and mages and put the pressure on them) -Strategic Considerations (Economic considerations that run through the match) -It's totally free-to-play and is doing the season pass thing. It's like a perfect modern video game. Oh, also, each game takes like 30-45 minutes. ACT 2: WHICH ONE'S WHICH So there's currently four versions of this game that you can play "right now." These have various weird hoops around playing them. I'm going to address them in Chronologicalesque order. Dota 2 Auto Chess. This is a mod for Dota 2. If you're familiar with the origins of Dota, this one is the most cosmically funny way to play Auto Chess. It uses Dota assets to represent all the pieces, and if you have some Dota knowhow then you'll understand what a lot of the pieces will do from knowing how they work in that game. It does, however, require that you install Dota 2, and expose yourself to the kinds of people that play Dota 2. It's not long for this world, because... Auto Chess (or Auto Chess:Origin). When the Chinese team that invented the game could not come to a deal with Valve, they made a version for phones that cleverly adjusted the models/names to look somewhat similar but not entirely. It's currently only on iOS and Android, but it will be coming to PC through the Epic Game Store. This is the one that I play. Teamfight Tactics. So the League of Legends people saw that Auto Chess was popular, and saw that it used MOBA models and assets to make a new game, and went "Hey! We have MOBA models and assets!" And now they have one too. Oh, it's also hex grids instead of squares. And, it's currently the most popular game on Twitch. You can only get it through the League of Legends clients, so take the thing I said about exposing yourself to Dota people and make it like 300 times worse. It's also only available through their test servers, and I dont know if they added a restriction to keep new players from getting on there or not. Dota Underlords. When team invented game not come deal valve, Valve make own. So basically what I'm saying here is, "some modders had a good idea, and then the MOBA teams had a big old freakout about being undermined and slapped their assets into similar games as fast as possible." This one is currently available on phones and PC, but in PC you only get access if you're paying into the Dota 2 Invitational Season Pass? Or something? It seems really rough, like it's been hurried out by a bunch of techno-haberdashers that aren't used to making games. ACT 3: WHAT I ACTUALLY THINK I think it's fun! The 4 rating isn't just for how weird it is to watch this genre materialize in thin air before the world. It is an interesting game. I am terrified for the mod creators because I think they're going to get totally fucked by how widespread League of Legends is and how cruel and petty both Riot and Valve can be with monetization is probably going to lead to this genre being a toxic dump in maybe as much time as it took for this game to take over their respective parts of the internet. So my full opinion is such: It's fun, I like it, if it sounds appealing or really confusing you should give it a shot, and please try to play the one that the actual inventors of the game made and don't let the MOBA people fuck them out of recognition.