Neon Reign, fusing Arcade fighters and tabletop gaming. C-c-c-c-COMBO-BREAKERRrrrr

In the realm of tabletop gaming, innovation often takes the form of blending classic mechanics with fresh ideas to create captivating experi...

In the realm of tabletop gaming, innovation often takes the form of blending classic mechanics with fresh ideas to create captivating experiences. "Neon Reign," a dynamic card game developed by Good Knight Games, promises to do just that. While visiting PAX East we were given the opportunity to meet for an exclusive interview with Jeff Jacobson, co-founder of Good Knight Games, and talk about their new project Neon Reign, the first game of this new publishing company. We gain insights into the inspiration, mechanics, and future of this exciting project.

A new publishing venture

"Neon Reign" is the brainchild of Manny Trembley, the co-designer of the acclaimed game "Dice Throne," along with his good friend Aaron Hein. To get the game out to the public, Manny and Jeff established Good Knight Games as a platform to publish their creative endeavors outside of the Dice Throne brand, starting with "Neon Reign." Unlike traditional publishing models, the game will debut through Kickstarter, with funds directly allocated to manufacturing, ensuring a genuine grassroots approach. Jeff made very clear that the prototype he was showing me is very much in the late stages of its final form and they expect a quick turnaround for their project backers once it is funded.

The artwork is all style

Bringing arcade fighting games to the tabletop

Set in a neon-drenched arcade universe reminiscent of the '90s arcade scene, "Neon Reign" pits players against each other in fast-paced, head-to-head combat. Just like the classic Arcade cabinet games of Street Fighter, Capcom vs Marvel, Mortal Kombat and others, players select their heroes, each with unique abilities and playstyles. The game's actual mechanics are basic in nature to allow for fast play and revolve around three types of cards: Counters, Buttons, and Joysticks (indicating direction). These three types will build a pool that is facilitating intuitive yet strategic gameplay as you go head-to-head with your opponent.

Going for a KO

Each players aims to execute combos by playing cards that match universal combo cards, representing joystick movements and button inputs. Each turn involves playing up to three cards to build combos, unleash devastating attacks, and defend against opponents' onslaughts. 

Each player takes turn either attacking or defending. On your turn, you have a hand of seven cards. You're playing down up to three cards and you're trying to play down things that match your universal combo cards such as two of the same buttons or a combination of sticks and buttons, all in an attempt to get in a hit and maximize damage. Certain cards also have a star on them, this star is going to power up the hero's super meter so it can trigger a very special attack based on the hero. Some cards can be only played on defense and will have a symbol indicating that so they cannot be part of your attacking combo. for instance, a joystick down card will shield you from damage, but it can still give you a star. It is all about using the right card at the right moment. 

The game cleverly balances simplicity with depth, offering players the satisfaction of executing intricate combos without overwhelming complexity.  Once cards are played, they are resolved starting with the counter cards first, taking away any cancellations of damage done, and combos created. It felt mandatory to loudly yell C-C-C-COMBO BREAKERRRRR each time as I successfully broke up a devastating attack. As you progress taking turns you have to decide when you will forgo to take a swipe at the opponent to instead replenish your energy (draw your hand limit) but doing so can give an opening to your opponent to either take you out or even replenish their hand as well, allowing them to better defend themselves next move. The back and forth continues until one of the two players is knocked out and yes, a double knockout is indeed possible.

The game takes only a round of attack and defense played to understand and allows for fast paced gameplay over multiple rounds making it a fun game to play before or in between larger boardgames, play a few rounds in a lunch break or even setup a tournament bracket and see who comes out on top

Solo play and preparing for the future

"Neon Reign" also includes a robust solo mode with a whole extra set of cars, allowing players to engage in arcade-style battles against "AI" opponents. This is all part of the game as you purchase it and not an additional purchase giving more replay ability to the game.  The game's design leaves ample room for expansion, with possibilities ranging from new heroes and fighters to campaign modes and one-off weapons but it is not intended to become a deckbuilding game. However, it seems that the team at Good Knight Games have strategically crafted "Neon Reign" to accommodate future growth, ensuring its longevity and replay ability.

Getting those stars filled soon for that power attack.

Kickstarter Launch and Pricing

As we mentioned, the game will be launching a Kickstarter campaign for "Neon Reign" which is set to launch in April 2024. The project will offer backers the opportunity to support the game's production and secure their copy directly from the company. Priced at approximately $25, "Neon Reign" seemingly offers exceptional value for its engaging gameplay experience, making it accessible to a wide audience of tabletop enthusiasts young and old.

"Neon Reign" represents a fusion of nostalgia and innovation, arcade and tabletop with easy rules and smooth, fast gameplay. Despite its simple concept it is offering tabletop gamers an immersive journey into the vibrant world of arcade combat that anyone can play with its intuitive mechanics, but still manages to bring strategic depth to the gameplay. The game promises to captivate both casual players and seasoned enthusiasts alike. 

You can find the Kickstarter page for Neon Reign here: link


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