Find your fantasy gaming style in Hand of Fate 2

By ·December 5, 2017 9:00 am

When a hero hears the words: “The fate of the land is on your shoulders,” it usually means they must fight their way through a grand undertaking, set in stone by much more powerful forces, foretold by oracles, and reliant completely upon the success or failure of an evil being. In Hand of Fate 2, the fate of the world – and all the mini-fates contained within it – is quite literally based on what you have.

Here, the fates of you and others depend on dice rolling, card drawing, and the like – dealt by an ominous Dealer who lays out your journey as cards in front of you. Depending on what cards you gain from previous missions, you build your deck to tackle the next ones.

Each mission contains some preset cards, but you also have the option to throw in some known ‘encounter’ cards that may boost your army and supplies when you need them. You also choose equipment cards that may appear during your mission, as well as a companion who accompanies you along your journey. Even with your best shot, these cards may prove less of a benefit than you anticipate.

I haven’t played the original Hand of Fate, but I’d never really experienced a game like Hand of Fate 2. It combines many aspects of tabletop fantasy games to draw the player into a pretty novel experience.

It has elements of a choose-your-own-adventure game

These battles require some focus.

Perhaps the most intriguing part of Hand of Fate 2 is how adaptable it is. As I mentioned before, every mission contains some cards exclusive to that mission. You ‘walk’ through those cards, and some cards you’ve selected, and let the stories or scenarios play out.

Just like a choose-your-own-adventure game, you can choose between different paths. For example, you might encounter a damsel being attacked by robbers. Do you try to save her, or keep on going?

The game throws in additional twist here, too, by making use of dice rolls. Maybe you jump in to save her, but luck isn’t on your side. It turns out she’s part of an elaborate trap to rob well-intentioned folks like you of all their belongings.

Another aspect of Hand of Fate 2 is its combat, which is optional in some cases. Here, you are literally transported into the cards with stream of lights and a zoom into the darkness. The fights in choose-your-own-adventure games really come to life as you battle your enemies.

One difference I can think of between this game and the choose-your-own-adventure games I’ve played is how often you can return to a ‘scene of the crime.’ Many cards will simply blank once you’ve completed them, unless you’ve had the misfortune of dying during combat and you have to restart the mission entirely (that can happen a lot, too, but that’s a story for another day.)

It has elements of a board game

Traverse from land to land as you complete missions.

Or does it? Hand of Fate 2 can be reminiscent of board games like Monopoly, where you roll die to proceed to the next situation. It’s even laid out in a semi-board-game format so that your game piece/hero moves through a story. Like those ‘Chance’ or ‘Community Chest’ cards in Monopoly, your game can very much depend on the luck of the draw. And once you know your cards better, you can sway those Chance or Community cards to your own benefit.

Unlike Monopoly, the movement of your character in Hand of Fate 2 doesn’t really progress via dice rolls. Rather, you move through the cards that the Dealer has laid out one by one, and in a pretty linear fashion.

It has elements of a card game

Magic: The Gathering is more involved in some ways, but you can’t deny these are some high stakes.

Last but not least, Hand of Fate 2’s biggest draw (pun not originally intended) is its deckbuilding element. At first, it seems obvious what to choose from, but it gets more interesting the further along you are in the game, where strategy plays a key role in winning.

Just like how you’d build your deck up to be as powerful as it can be if you want to win a card game tournament, you also have to carefully choose what cards you’re bringing into the mission. One card can easily give you more food, but that may get in the way of other supplies and weapons. Another may even sacrifice others’ means for your own personal gains.

As you accumulate more cards, you get more of a feel for what works and what doesn’t in certain situations. And of course, there’s the biggest predicament of all – though certainly not a bad one to be in. Since you don’t have an infinite deck, which of your powerful cards do you choose to include?

It’s pretty interesting how Hand of Fate 2 has brought together all of these different elements to give a fresh perspective on fantasy gaming. It’s part adventure game, part board game, part card game, and much more, without feeling disjointed. You’ll probably find something to enjoy in its many adventures.

Hand of Fate 2 is available on Steam, Xbox One, and PS4.

Image credits: Defiant Development

Written by Alane Lim

Alane Lim is a materials science graduate student and writer based in Chicago, IL. She has been published in science, satire, and entertainment writing, the latter focusing on character and show analyses.

Her interests include indie games, Archie comics, and sci-fi/fantasy books.

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