Words and things, mostly words.
A friend and I have been playing Aeon’s End on-and-off for the most of the year. It’s a really unique style of deck-building game, the only one I’ve ever played that doesn’t involve any shuffling throughout the game. Well, except for a deck of cards which determine whose turn it is. One thing that really drew us to the game is the co-operative aspect of it; you don’t compete against other players, you progress through the game by acquiring resources, spells and relics to defeat an NPC monster. The monster’s turns are comprised of drawing from a deck of cards which represent its minions and attacks, and triggering any persistent effects which may already be on the table.
As my friend is a compulsive buyer of expansions, we have all the extra monsters and characters to play as. The other fun aspect of the game is that the players customise the piles of cards which can be purchased in the game. This is where the game takes on some puzzle-solving aspects, as each monster has its own unique attacks, minions and special abilities. We’ve managed to defaat all of the monsters — some even using their increased difficulty rules — except for one, something called Wraithmonger. It’s the only unfun monster in the game, and whenever we do beat it will probably be more the result of dumb luck than anything we can actively do as players.
There is a new, stand-alone version coming out soon, called Aeon’s End: Legacy. We’re going to give it a shot and see how it compares; the original version is easily one of my favourite games of all time.