5 min read

Things I've learned about Across the Obelisk at 14 hours

I've put ~14 hours into Across the Obelisk in the last week and have learned a few things from that time:

  1. When a piece of Equipment has an extra, separate framed picture in the top left, that's showing you where/how to get the equipment.
    1. For example, Ylmer's Branch has a picture of Ylmer, and Yogger's Cleaver has a picture of Yogger, because you get those items by defeating Ylmer and Yogger, respectively.
    2. When the picture is a location, I think it represents one of the maps/worlds: The first act, or any of the following three acts focused on the red, green, or blue obelisk. Plausibly the visually-distinct areas within those maps drop different equipment, for example the castle in the blue obelisk world vs. the area outside the castle.
  2. Enemy intents are unknown, and this makes combat uncertain.
    1. There are probably non-random patterns to how the enemies behave. Certainly Ylmer seems to cast his whole-party beam spell every third or fourth round and Barkskin every so often.
    2. It is harder to learn what those are without seeing them.
    3. Unfortunately, the Tome of Knowledge does not cover monsters, nor even monster cards.
    4. A character or deck or piece of equipment who could apply Foresight automatically and constantly would probably be amazing for learning the enemy patterns, which would be useful in other ways.
    5. Watch out for the targeting type on monster cards.
      1. Many monsters target the front hero, many target a random hero, some target the middle heroes, some target lowest HP or highest speed or some other variable.
      2. Admittedly I haven't kept track of the cards enough to know which target which zone, but it seems like it would be useful if I did track.
  3. Blessing increases healing received, not applied.
    1. Blessing makes the character deal more damage to others, but doesn't affect healing in the same way.
    2. In other words, your healer doesn't need blessing to heal others better, because it doesn't improve their ability to heal others.
  4. Charge perks also apply to cards that hurt you, which sucks immensely.
    1. For example, if you get the Bleed perk to apply +1 charge, then whenever you draw an "On Draw" card that applies Bleed to your own character, it inflicts more Bleed.
    2. This happens too, I think, with cards like Cauterize sans upgrade, which converts Bleed to Burn.
  5. Status effects (curses) are deadly.
    1. Bleed, burn, and poison are awful to deal with and show up in nearly every fight after the first world, so make sure your decks have an answer to these. They build up quickly to deal 20-30 damage. The party needs a way to cope with them, ideally more than one.
    2. Paralyze also sucks but it is fortunately pretty rare.
    3. As a corollary, effects that remove or prevent effects are great.
      1. Dispel (Healer card) is amazing. It's a great and useful answer to a lot of dangerous statuses (curses). Dispel Magic is a good all-purpose card for this.
      2. Detoxify (Healer) is great and better when upgraded. It specifically answers poison and, when upgraded, bleed, and at zero cost it's cheap to run.
      3. Healing Rain (Healer) is good. The upgrade makes it better, dispelling burn instead of applying wet and only applying to heroes. The only-heroes part is especially important if you want to apply burns to enemies.
      4. Cauterize (Mage) is great when upgraded; it dispels bleed and heals for the number of bleed stacks, all at 0 cost. It can also be upgraded to expunge burn instead, if I recall correctly.
      5. Buffer prevents curses and is useful for that reason. The problem is that it cancels out exactly one negative effect and it's not picky about which one.
        1. As I understand it, each level of buffer prevent one application. So suppose a character has 1 buffer and 2 bleed, and a monster plays a card on them applying 4 bleed and 4 poison. Then the buffer prevents 4 bleed and then drops away, so the 4 poison is still applied.
        2. But I haven't paid close attention and this might not be how it works. For instance, maybe it prevents the poison instead of the bleed because the character already has a bleed curse and it only prevents new curses. Or, maybe it prevents both curses from applying because they're on the same card. Or, maybe 1 buffer prevents 1 bleed of 4 so you end up with 5 bleed and 4 poison (which would mean buffer really sucks, because you get at most 1 or 2 charges at a time...).
        3. Sadly, the Tome of Knowledge does not specify how Buffer works to this level of detail.
    4. The other corollary is that stacking curses on monsters is great and useful so watch out for more ways to do that.
      1. Do watch out for immune enemies. There's a whole obelisk zone for Fire, one for Poison and one for Ice, so the party needs to be able to cope with not being able to inflict such statuses on enemies.
      2. Bleed seems great with few immune enemies beyond act 1. But I may be forgetting or missing such enemies.
      3. It may make sense to focus on a few damage types, pick an obelisk that fits, then use that obelisk to build up cards for an alternative damage source to cover what the first one doesn't. Like: Pick fire and do the ice obelisk, and during the ice obelisk build up ways of stacking bleed so you can do the fire obelisk.
        1. It might sense to do these on different characters so that the bad stuff doesn't contaminate the deck too badly. That way, the character remains strong longer.
        2. On the other hand, that makes one of the two characters change from useful to useless when you reach the Obelisk Of Monsters Immune To Their Powers. That seems dangerous. Maybe it's better to abandon the original element after it has outlived its usefulness.
    5. There seems to be some way to block or resist bleed, burn, poison, two of those or all three. I ought to look up how this works, but I'm not going to do that now.
    6. Other effects can be dangerous, too.
      1. In a few specific fights you get a lot of Crack curses stacked, which increase blunt damage taken by 1 and which stack. That makes regular attacks deadly. I think Faeborg(e) was one of these.
  6. Characters must keep at least 15 cards in their deck at all times.
    1. That is, you can't remove down to just 10 cards.
  7. Card effect position matters.
    1. Front Monster cards like the Ranger's Slice card generally do better damage than free-targeting Monster cards.

I'm still wondering about deck- and character-building, which is hard as usual:

  1. What damage types and statuses to pick? What's worthwhile for what is coming up?
  2. Does it make sense to build for redundancy? If a party member dies that's probably a bad sign for the party's survival ability, meanwhile a focused deck helps a character serve their role in the group, so maybe it makes sense to avoid redundancy.
  3. Is it worth removing cross-character redundancy to improve deck focus?
    1. For example, does it make sense to remove all the attack cards on Magnus and build him purely for block, or is that too much?
    2. It seems like it shouldn't work as well to remove defense cards, but removing attack cards might just be fine if it frees up other characters.
  4. How to improve the odds of the right cards coming up at the right time? Are "draw specific type" cards useful? What about "discover" cards?
  5. Does it ever make sense to take damage cards on the healer? It seems like their abilities are so rare and so valuable that taking anything else is just not worth it.

Also, combat, and when it makes sense to save an energy for next turn vs. spend it now.

Plenty to learn still.