Any audience I have by now is aware of how interested I am in games which bridge the gap between traditional paper games, like Scrabble, and traditional computer games, which tend to be more simulations. This interest lead me to work with Alexey Stankevitch on Spectromancer, and to frequently mention Quadradius, one of my favorite games, by Jimmi Heiserman. These days there are more and more examples of this, particularly from the tablet market (Dungeon Raid and Wargames are worth checking out!)
This brings me to The Trouble with Robots by Geoffrey White – which is not on Tablet but certainly should be. It is a customizable card game, you choose 5-10 cards for your deck and can play them to summon fantasy units – or cast spells. The units fight robots in real time. Normally with this description I would be skeptical for a number of reasons. One is that the real time aspect of real time games tend to dominate the ‘customization’. Not here – the creatures all fight for themselves – almost all you do is choose when and which spell to cast and occasionally target that spell Another reason for skepticism is that customizable games are usually super complex and it takes a lot of work to start getting enjoyment out of the customization. Not here – the customization is easy – and fun right from the start. There are plenty of combos that help make deck construction fun and make you excited by every additional spell added to your arsenal.
The free demo is perfectly representative of the play – it begins off super easy, but comes with a challenge mode which should make you work pretty hard to master. If you don’t like it after that point you probably won’t like it, but if you are like me you won’t be able to wait to go further.
More description from people who actually include visuals in their blog posts: http://forums.penny-arcade.com/discussion/167334/the-trouble-with-robots-ccg
And the game webpage: