Reviews - Updated on April 1, 2022

Working on an adaptation of the board game Tainted Grail: The Fall of Avalon, which in turn is based on the myths of King Arthur, Awaken Realms Digital decided to split it into two separate projects. Odin is a classic open-world RPG with quests and turn-based combat spiced up with TCG mechanics. It is scheduled to be released by the end of 2021. But the second game, actually Tainted Grail: Conquest, has already been released – it’s about the same there, only without an open world and with the mechanics of a card “bagel”. And he, with some reservations, turned out wonderful.

Fog over Avalon

First of all, it attracts, or rather fascinates and immerses in its gloomy atmosphere, the world of Tainted Grail: Conquest itself. This is a real dark fantasy, and the way it looks and sounds, how everything is drawn, what kind of music accompanies these almost doomed adventures across the damned earth – this breed, chic taste and style are felt.

Tainted Grail: Conquest: Обзор

In these landscapes, gloomy pathos shines through.

And this fantasy is dark because Avalon, the last refuge of King Arthur, is dying, the king himself has long disappeared, and now everything is filled with a strange fog. Because of this fog, nothing is really visible – you have to use special candles, which tend to run out.

In their light, we see enemies, converge with them in turn-based battles, where we use cards unique for each of the nine classes and their combinations. And in case of defeat, we return to our native village and start all over again, but taking into account the progress and points earned – this opens up other classes and cards, passive skills and allows you to start the next race with increased health, additional healing potions or other consumables.

This is how we come out of the shadows with the help of magic candles.

But even if we do not die, but defeat the boss of the current location, we still need to return to our native village, which turned out to be practically the only one capable of gathering worthy warriors, challenging the impending darkness, finding the Grail and saving this land. In the village you can relax, buy the same potions, cards, edit the deck, open some more upgrades, and so on. And then, with renewed vigor, we advance through another gate to the next location, towards stronger enemies and legendary bosses.

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The bosses here are all interesting in their own way.

We need different people…

But the candles are pulled out of the painful fog not only by the outlines of enemies. Sometimes we see abandoned houses where you can try to find useful trophies. Or we stumble upon altars and shrines that give bonuses. I tried to rob one of these places (immediately plus 500 coins!), but in the end I was cursed myself – all healing effects ceased to act on the character.

Tainted Grail: Conquest: Обзор

And then we are approaching the training arena, where you can fight and receive rewards.

And most importantly, next to the enemies you can often meet interesting characters. And among them, as you understand, there are no noble knights and rosy-cheeked girls who run barefoot through the dew. All cripples, ghosts, cursed healers, vicious witches, archers, rooted to the ground for their sins, and so on and so forth. You can trade with someone, someone will heal us, train us, offer a card or a new passive perk (of course, not for beautiful eyes).

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Other meetings can end in tragedy.

Some can be invited to your village, where they will occupy one of the houses and begin to offer their services. So, we will get access to the blacksmith – he will sell runes with passive effects for equipment, exchange them for those that we found ourselves, open new cells for them, and even combine three ordinary runes into one rare one. Each rune is allowed to be inserted into either a weapon or an armor – the effects will be different. You can also improve the forge itself.

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Gradually, more and more useful specialists are gathering in the village.

And from the master candlemaker, we buy candles that dispel darkness, increase their duration and improve the effectiveness of special waystones – they are found in cursed lands, illuminate the nearby area and give us new candles or offer a random blessing (healing, increased defense / damage in the next combat).

There are other masters with their services and upgrades. And everyone needs their own currency – it can be wax, rune dust, especially valuable gold coins (they convert ordinary money left unspent at the end of each race), fog stones and even drops of blood.

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To upgrade and edit the deck, you need scraps of old cards.

… And their problems are important

Finally, many characters have personal quests associated with them. As a rule, you need to find out what happened to them and help. For example, why does a scientist who came to our village have a glass eye. Or determine the nature of the curse that hit the already mentioned archer. And then we decide for ourselves whether he deserves to continue to suffer for his sins, or whether he has had enough.

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There are practically no normal people left here.

Someone will ask to be released from imprisonment of friends, someone needs to be saved from the nightmares that haunt him. The ghost gambler will agree to tell his story if we regularly play with him for money. And one strange monster really wants us to return his eyes.

The rewards for completing these tasks vary. Once I got a pet dog that can be summoned and upgraded in battles. And one grateful witch asked to visit her village, hidden in the depths of the fog. And something told me that this would not be the most pleasant and safe journey … But the main reward is that when the quest associated with the character is successfully completed, his soul is freed. And freeing all 13 souls is one of the key tasks in the game.

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Some can’t be saved.

To each – a deck!

However, the main advantage of Tainted Grail: Conquest is the card mechanics itself. Almost all the heroes here (and there are nine of them, let me remind you) are truly unique decks and tactics. For example, the summoner (Summoner) relies on strengthening and pumping his minions.

They grow and grow stronger before our very eyes.

But the necromancer sacrifices the same henchmen, thus charging his class ability and turning into a lich already with a separate deck. Then, instead of those sacrificed, he summons zombies for free.

So an ordinary necromancer turns into a lich.

Zealot erects barriers that absorb damage – their effectiveness depends on the character’s defense indicators. He prefers to immobilize enemies, use arrows that do not consume energy, but do little damage. However, the damage of this class accumulates, and the class ability allows you to get for free an arrow that can solve all problems with one shot.

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One fanatic against three bosses? There is every chance.

Well, and so on. Classes open gradually, as you progress and earn points. Trying out a new character is almost like a new game, and it’s a lot of fun.

The abundance of cards is also pleasing – in addition to the usual ones, there are “quest cards” that are upgraded and turn into other, cooler ones; legendary, which disappear from the deck after several uses. Plus the so-called corrupted ones, shrouded in fog: if they are not played, then during the next turn we will receive either a bonus (for example, to defense) or a penalty (for example, to damage).

Tainted Grail: Conquest: Обзор

New cards are offered after each victory, but you can refuse them.

There are many more passive skills that we choose from the list when we get new levels or when someone teaches us. And all this, together with the effects of runes, can and should be combined, taking into account the characteristics of the character and your tactics. So, if your summoner will call a snake (Wyrm) at the beginning of each battle, then when receiving “passives”, it is better to choose those that are associated with it – for example, they allow the snake to walk immediately after the call and freeze the enemy.

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The snake can be grown very large.

Of course, if you wish, you can make some claims to the balance – some heroes are still stronger than others (fanatic is my favorite!). And the presence of three variations of the summoner at once (in addition to the classic and the necromancer, there is also a blood mage) with the same minions can hardly be attributed to pluses, although, as I already wrote, the difference between them is felt.

Tainted Grail: Conquest: Обзор

Heroes are allowed to customize – choose gender, appearance and tattoos.

However, balance is a fixable thing. What can not be taken away from Tainted Grail: Conquest is the fact that we have a very high-quality and exciting card “bagel”. It may be inferior to the recent Griftlands in terms of originality and richness of content, but it takes its toll due to the atmosphere, the abundance of characters with their decks and the presence of tactics both in the battles themselves and in creating the “build” of the hero.

Pros: An intriguing setting for a dark version of the Arthurian myths; many memorable characters with their own quests; addictive gameplay that relies on replay value and many classes with their own tactics, decks, unique combinations of cards, runes and passive skills; The game looks and sounds great.

Cons: balance between classes needs some work and polish; ideally, one could come up with more interesting events and quests.

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