Wednesday, May 8, 2019

An Interview with Lish McBride


I have a special treat for you today kind readers of The Friendly Necromancer. Lish McBride (author of Hold Me Closer Necromancer, Necromancing the Stone, and more -- see her website for details) agreed to do a Q&A interview for us! 

I'm so happy she could find some time in her busy schedule to talk with us today! I'll definitely be adding her to my list of VIPs on the sidebar. Enjoy!

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Click here for more about Lish McBride


Question: At the back of your second book, Necromancing the Stone, there is a really good Author Q&A that answers a lot of the standard questions. You explain that the story behind your necromancer books stemmed from essays about a fast food worker getting attacked by Vampires and the undead, which you wrote back in school. Was it hugely gratifying to finish these books and watch them come to fruition from those essays?

Answer: Not really an essay, but a truly awful short story that I wrote during down time in my brief stint in alternative school. Comparing that short story to my novel...well, they really only have the barest of things in common, but I consider that a good thing. Hopefully my writing has improved since I was eighteen. Ha! That being said, it's immensely gratifying to have anything you make up published into book form. It's still a little surreal, honestly.

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Question: While running the Friendly Necromancer blog for the past 10 years, I’ve had a couple of interesting emails from random strangers asking if I had any information on how to become a real-life Necromancer. I made sure to let them know that I write about video game necromancers and not training books for something that in the real world would get you arrested. What was it like researching necromancy for your books? Did you run into any interesting characters?

Answer: Most of my research was done via mythology books (like the Encyclopedia of the Undead by Curran) while I was living in rural Mississippi (where we'd evacuated during Katrina) and New Orleans. So basically book and internet without coming into contact with pretty much any humans at all. I love research, but it's not terribly exciting for most people. 

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Question: On the back of your first book, Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, the dictionary definition for “Necromancy” is front and center – and I admit, before playing a necromancer in games like Dungeons and Dragons, Diablo, Everquest, Guild Wars, and Wizard101, I didn’t have a very good understanding of what “Necromancers” were. Was there a fear that readers just wouldn’t know what Necromancy was and, being that it does seem a bit of a darker topic, that the book wouldn’t sell?

Answer:  Dark topics aren't really a worry in young adult books--the age range for YA is actually somewhere between fourteen and early twenties. It's a rough time and you're dealing with a lot of really dark and terrible things. Horror actually helps a lot of teens cope with real life topics. (Believe it or not I wrote a paper on that in college.) So no, it wasn't a dark topic issue. It was, in fact, an issue of people not knowing what a necromancer was. I'm a mythology nerd and cut my teeth on horror and fantasy and I honestly didn't realize how few people knew what a necromancer was when I wrote the book and the publisher was concerned. There was also the unexpected fact that some readers--and we're talking adults here--mixed it up with other similar words. Some decided that the "romance" part of the word meant HMC,N was a romance novel. (I am 100% not knocking the romance genre here, but HMC,N doesn't fall into the category.) A few mixed up "necromancer" and "necrophiliac." No joke--I got an email from a librarian in Louisiana who had her own little free library and one of the neighbors was really upset about my book being in there because she made that mistake. Basically, the publisher wanted to be clear and they were worried that people would put the book down instead of taking the time to google, which is a valid worry. 

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Question: I see you’ve written at least one other short story surrounding Sam and Ramon from your Necromancer books. Will there ever be a third book in the series?

Answer: There are...four? I think there are four short stories with HMC,N characters. Death & Waffles is Ashley's first appearance in a short story I wrote in graduate school. We Should Get Jersey's is a Frank short story. Freaks & Other Family is a bundle with two short stories (One Sam, one Ramon) that I published myself but were originally written for my Patreon page. (There are several more on there that I haven't polished up yet.) Heads Will Roll is a story I wrote for Tor.Com and actually does feature a cameo from Ed, one of the minor characters from the Necromancer books. I have all the short stories listed on my website if anyone wants to look at them all in list form. I do plan a third book--I promise! The series is meant to have at least one more book. The problem was that my publisher wanted me to move on, so I wrote the Firebug books (which are set in the same universe) and now I've moved publishers. I'm currently writing a whole new thing for Putnam, but that doesn't mean I'm comfortable leaving Sam where I left him. I will write at least one more Sam book, even if I have to publish it myself.

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Question: You also have a newer series of books out surrounding a Pyromancer, which I have yet to read. Which do you like writing about more, Pyromancers or Necromancers? Will we see books about different types of magic (like perhaps a wizard that can channel life magic) in the future? 

Answer:  I enjoy writing both for different reasons. There is a weird amount of overlap as both characters have to deal with the fact that their powers are fairly destructive. They both have to deal with the possibility that they might become corrupt, destructive monsters. Both books have fun and weird side characters--I might miss writing the gnomes, but the Pyro books have biker were-rabbits, so...I love them both. Honestly, since all the books take place in the same universe, they didn't feel that different to me. Ava is snarkier than Sam and has definitely had more of a rough time of things. As for the future, who knows? 

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Question: Do you play video games and have any served as inspiration points for your books? Would you ever give Wizard101 a try (I’d love to see if the starting quiz for the game would place you as either a Necromancer or a Pyromancer)?

Answer:  I almost never play video games anymore. When I was a kid I was hugely into the Sierra games King's Quest and Space Quest and Sim games. I would also beg my mom for quarters so we could go play Rampage in the arcade at my local bowling alley (small town life) with my brothers. The thing is, I'm not very good at them. I never rescued the princess in Super Mario Bros. I can't remember what all the buttons do on most controllers and I get lost in large map games. The last game I seriously played was Fable and I was constantly getting distracted and forgetting my quest. (I spent a lot of time kicking chickens.) I'm more of a computer game person, and until recently I spent all my time writing, working a day job and juggling kids, so most downtime involved reading. Most of the kinds of games I would like now force you to interact with other humans and I play to get away from people, so it doesn't really work out. This is probably a good thing though as my husband and sons are huge gamers and I would have to fight for the TV. Right now my house is all Red Dead Redemption 2 and State of Decay. That being said, Wizard 101 looks like it would entirely be up my alley.

Might I suggest the name Samantha Skullmancer? Give it a shot!


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Question: Mounts and pets are all part of the fun in Wizard101!  During Necromancing the Stone, Sam summons an Undead Elk (if I remember correctly??), which in my mind becomes his “mount.” (He even talks about bringing it back to the mansion with him.) He also ends up gaining a Chupacabra pet, which he finds in his basement bathroom of all places. Any backstory to those choices, or did they just naturally happen during writing?

Answer: You are correct on the elk! The elk was mostly chosen based on what animals are natural to the pacific northwest--I needed something big enough for Sam to ride and elk won. Plus, elk are really cool. I grew up in the PNW, and we spent summers camping and such, and we'd occasionally get to see elk, especially if we were at my stepdad's cabin up in Forks. Yes, that Forks. I never saw a vampire there but I did get to play with a machete, so I'm calling that a win. As for Taco, the pygmy chupacabra...I found the idea funny? Honestly, when I'm writing a book, at least during that first draft, it's just me for long hours staring at my laptop. I have to entertain myself. I had to come up with something to hide in that closet and the very idea of Taco made me giggle. Which made my writing buddy ask what was wrong with me and all I could get out was, "pygmy chupacabra!" over and over. Fortunately, he's known me a long times so he understood.

Find out more from Lish's FAQ on her website


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Question: One of the things that really stands out in your books is your love of puns. Case in point, the very title of the book Hold me Closer, Necromancer is a play on words from Elton John’s song Tiny Dancer. In fact, every chapter title in your Necromancer books contain this same fun word play with song titles and lyrics. To be honest, it reminds me a lot of quest titles from Wizard101! Ever thought about working as a writer in the games industry? 

Answer: It's funny because the joke in my house is that I hate puns. This isn't true--I don't hate them, but it's a kind of word play that I'm generally not great to be honest. Also, my husband is a pun-master so I mostly make fun of him for them. If we didn't make fun of each other, I'm not sure what our relationship would be based on. I have thought a little about the game industry, and I do actually have a game writing credit--a minor one from the game Dark Void. My friend Jose threw a little work my way because their game writer was overworked and very tired. The thing is, most game writers don't seem to have much in the way of control. It's like screenwriting that way. I'm okay with doing either of them, but I like getting to do things my way most of the time. 

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Question: There’s a great scene in Necromancing the Stone where Sam spends time in a huge music room full of old LPs and great music. Three questions: Does this music room exist in your real life, what’s your favorite song of all time, and how does your love of music play into your writing?

Answer: The music room does not exist. In fact, my small record collection was destroyed in hurricane Katrina and I haven't really had the heart to rebuild it. The only record that survived was a single of the Patrick Swayze song, "She's Like the Wind" from Dirty Dancing. My husband framed it. Someone did gift me a Tom Jones record recently, because they felt Patrick needed a friend, so I've been considering breaking down and getting a record player again. I don't have a favorite song of all time. I also can't answer the favorite book question--so much of it depends on mood and changes every few moments. I did grow up with a lot of musical influences and that does show up in the books. (My mom loved Bobby Darin so much that my oldest brother is named Darin.) Lots of oldies and classic country and musicals from my mom and stepmom, lots of punk and rockabilly from my oldest brother. My brother Jeremy mostly listened to pop music and rap. I grew up in a small town about an hour from Seattle. There wasn't much to do besides go to the freshly built mall or go to the movies. I didn't have any money for the movies and I hate the mall. The only other option, besides loitering in the bookstore, was to go to shows. So lots of bands in barns and basements and community centers. Social interaction was largely based on what kind of music you listened to. Seattle is also a very musical city, so it would make sense for Sam to be into it.

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Question: As with any fandom, there are a lot of artists and writers that draw inspiration from their game of choice (like Wizard101). Have you done any fan fiction writing in your past that no one knows about? Do you have any words of wisdom for those out there who may want to break out of this type of writing and develop a universe of their own as you have?

Answer:  I have not done any real fan fiction writing, sadly. Well, except for a short story I tried to write in elementary school that was clearly David Eddings fan fiction except Belgarath the wizard was a cat. At that age, everything was cats. At that age I also didn't know what fan fiction was. I think fan fiction is really cool, but it just never occurred to me to join in. I have several writer friends that started in fan fiction and I think it's a great way to learn, really. The other thing you can do besides that is to reread favorite books critically--how did the author pull of the things that you liked? What about their writing do you love? Most of writing is practice and developing your voice. What works for some authors won't work for others. I went to an MFA program to help me figure some things out, but you don't need an MFA to write well. I read books on writing. For world building, I'd check out Wonderbook. That has a lot of good stuff in it from many different authors. I don't have an official writing group, but I've built up a list of friends that I can talk to if I'm stuck or need to work something out, or if I need a quick read on something. Chuck Wendig has some great writing advice on his blog that he compiled into an ebook. It's funny and very practical, but if you have issues with cursing it will not be your bag.

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Question: If Necromancing the Stone and Hold Me Closer, Necromancer were ever made into video games, what would you hope they end up being like?

Answer:  I don't know if I have anything current to compare them to. It would be cool if someone made them so you could explore the world like games like State of Decay do, but I wouldn't want it to be that serious. Something bonkers and fun...but probably gory, like that movie Tucker and Dave vs Evil. 


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Friday, March 1, 2019

Happy 13th Birthday DDO!

Dungeons and Dragon Online turned 13 yesterday! It was really cool to sit back and watch as Jerry Snook aka Cordovan played pretty much all day on Twitch yesterday with his DDO Community. He'd go into a typically peaceful town area and unleash hordes of monsters upon the players and then dump tons of party loot down on the ground for them to pick up. (If you're looking for a special 13th anniversary reward for DDO, check out this clipped highlight from the stream. )

Double Dragons!

It kind of reminded me of when I would unleash the turret bosses in the skyways of Pirate101

Anyway, as some of you know, I used to write quite a bit about DDO in my past.  There are a few posts here on The Friendly Necromancer Blog, but at some point I decided to splinter DDO discussion off and make a DDO exclusive blog called the Stormreach Sentinel. I even wrote about playing DDO for Beckett's Online Gamer Magazine back in the day.

gotta love when the magazine crease goes right down the middle of your character's face.

Needless to say, I like the game. Unfortunately I'm pulled in so many different directions that I don't get to visit that particular world as much any more, but I still have a Necromancer I'd like to level a bit more.

Currently they have their anniversary event running, so you too can go battle against the Developers in an Epic Anniversary Party dungeon crawl.


Severlin had a really hot head when we crossed paths

It's really great to see this MMO still kicking around, and I'm incredibly happy that Standing Stone games took up the mantle of responsibility when Turbine stepped out of the MMO picture. Congrats to them for sticking with it and making this a really fun game.

Happy Dueling.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

The Friendly Necromancer Cosplay Outfit

So a few months ago I was joking around with my buddy Morgrim about how funny it would be to see myself dressed up in a Thomas Lionblood cosplay. So I started thinking . . . huh . . . wonder how much that'd set me back? It's never too late to start thinking ahead to Halloween, right?

I'd call this look the "classic" Thomas Lionblood look (minus the weapon . . . it needs to be a terminus staff)



Straight outta 2009 Wizard City, y'all!

So let's break it down:

step 1: blue hair mullet wig -- I think I could get away with some trimming up this $15 blue mullet wig.



step 2: santa boots -- next up, maybe drop $47 on these Santa boots . . . could probably do that cheaper with some regular boots and a hot glued strip of faux white fur . . .


step 3: heavy black coat with gold buttons on the collar -- man, it's a stretch, but $60 for this Double Breasted Long Pea Coat could do it.  There would need to be a lot more work done, like button changing, hot glue and faux white fur, and the addition of a couple of big patches on the shoulders.



step 4: black jester hat -- ok, this I could probably find for cheaper at a renfaire . . . but $54 for this hat on etsy would be a start, right? It'd need the death school treatment and some jingle bells added at the tips.


step 5: silly skeleton wraith staff -- Really hard to recreate or at least find something readily available -- I guess this $23 Maleficent Staff would be a good starting point.




Step 6: The two leather pouches . . . Hmmmm . . . this one's tough. I imagine they're used for holding decks of cards, so maybe a couple of these $28 leather iPhone cases might do the trick.


So ~$250 later (figuring in tax and shipping and whatnot), I could totally do a Friendly Necromancer cosplay! ;)

I'd look so goofy.

Happy Dueling!

Monday, February 25, 2019

Mobile Monday (2/25/2019) with Friendly!

Heya! It's a Mobile Monday kind of a day, so let me quickly catch you up on a few of the mobile games I've been playing lately.

Animal Cove

Lately I've just been logging on to participate in club events, collect my gardening treats, and start an oven cooking up a new sweet. I'm super happy that last week was Dezhead's first week ever for collecting all three milestones during the week and getting the final prize. WOOT DEZHEADS! (that's my wife's club in Animal Cove in case you didn't know.)

We are getting ever closer to that Level 4 club goal!

Props to iCurley and Anngee!

I'm currently on level 557 on the live game . . . obviously I've played all the levels multiple times behind the scenes, but I'm a bit behind on live. Gotta get up to Infinity mode!

Wake up sleepy butterflies!

Idle Apocalypse

This is a new idle game I downloaded, and I'm really digging it. Basically, you're an evil wizard bent on bringing about the apocalypse through building an enormous monster-spewing tower of wickedness . . . and you succeed.  When the apocalypse is over, you start the game over again, but with a batch of captured "souls" that you now spend on power ups to go even further in your evil plans before bringing about the apocalypse yet again!


. . . and all the while there are funny bits of dialog going on to really show how cute this game actually is.

Love how this demon is more interested in watching TV than destroying the world.

Yup! The graphics are in a fun 16-bit style as well . . . so that's a win win for me. I don't know how much longer I'll be playing the game, but there are things that I haven't seen yet, and perfecting a "system" to bringing about the apocalypse would be fun.

Overall, it's light. It's fun. It fulfills my need to be an evil wizard. BOOM! APOCALYPSE!

Gunspell 2

In case you forgot, I'm still on the hunt for the perfect Match-3 dungeon game. Me downloading this game was an attempt to scratch that itch that can't be scratched. And to ruin the suspense, no, this isn't the match-3 dungeon game I've been hunting for, but it is pretty fun regardless.

I'm down with destroying a Lich while playing as a naga lady!

So Gunspell 2 is a PvP game that at its heart has you making matches to 1- fill abilities that damage your opponent and 2- do damage to your opponent. I swear I mostly go up against bots and Russians in this game though.

You earn and level up heroes through loot crates, and eventually you amass an army of heroes to choose from when you PvP.

Every four wins in PvP, however, you also have enough keys to embark upon a quest for one of your heroes. At the end of the quest, you earn a loot crate. THIS, is what drew me into the game initially. I was hoping for more dungeon to be found in this quest portion.

There's not much to this. It's usually 3 fights and then a boss.

Anyway, that's the game basically.

Some games you can have a really lucky streak of matches and basically destroy your opponent without even trying, but there is that moment of OH YES I'M THE GREATEST! The addition of the abilities plays into skill a bit I suppose.  It is match-3, however, so a bit of randomness is bound to happen. The worst of it is when your match sets up your opponent since you're playing on the same board.

They even have a few smack talk buttons in the game much like Hearthstone. No one ever seems to use them though (also what makes me convinced I'm playing against mostly bots)

Dungeon Raid

I haven't actually played this game . . . why? It's iOS only, it's out of date (meaning it can't be played on the latest OS), and it's 99 cents.  I actually do happen to have an old iphone sitting around the house, so I might actually be able to eventually play this game, but from a 1000-miles view, this looks to actually be the closest to the Match-3 dungeon game I've been hoping for!!


Screenshots from the app store . . . check it out

I'll work on getting this game downloaded over the week and let you know how it goes.

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Thanks for reading and as always . . .

Happy Dueling!

Sunday, February 24, 2019

My Boundless Free Weekend Experience

As of the moment I'm typing this blog post, there's only a few more hours left in the Boundless free weekend. According to this page, it sounds like after the free weekend, you can pick up the game for 30% off in the Steam Store. So, now that I've played this weekend, is it worth it?

For me? Probably not. For my in-game neighbor who built an elaborate set of buildings for all to admire? Probably yes!

Just look at the beautiful city block she created.


She named her claim on the MMO landscape as "New Oort," and it was amazing. Me?  I named my claim on the MMO landscape as "Stingite's Lair," and it was a dump.


Obviously my in-game neighbor took a lot of pride and TIME to build her masterpiece. For me it was all about making a shelter from the horrendous purple beasts that liked to spit ice balls at me and kill me. 

Inside wasn't much prettier, but I did have all the necessary items: a beacon (a device that lets you claim land in Boundless), torches, roof, floor, 4 walls, a stone door, three crafting tables, and several deconstructed work bench pieces . . .


It took me a couple play sessions to realize that I needed to put those work bench pieces in a square formation to make them come alive into a grand master workbench. (Knowledge is power! Thank you Boundless wiki.)

But what do you expect from an ugly green lizard man named Stingite?


COVER YOUR EYES, CHILDREN! HE'S ONLY WEARING A LOIN CLOTH!

I will say that the night time views from the Stingite-Lair-rooftop across a block-shaped desert with a giant Bartleby-esque tree were pretty great.


Unfortunately I never really ran into other players when I was playing.  I think one time a person opened my house door while I was busy crafting something, but instead what I felt in this world was the "presence" of other players who had come before me, which isn't an unfamiliar feeling if you've ever played with a group on the same Minecraft server.  Working on a grand citiscape together and surviving the enemies of boundless together with friends simultaneously would be more fun than the solo experience I had.

So definitely no fault in the game (other than some server lag), but rather more a fault in me. I imagine playing this game on Twitch with a big group of people could be an absolute blast! Just imagine 10-20 lairs just like Stingite's all strung together in a dumpy communal area where we slaughter purple ice spitting beasts all the time!

Maybe next free weekend, if there is one, eh? That could be fun!

Happy Dueling!

Sunday, November 25, 2018

My Hunt for Match-3 Dungeon Games Part 3 -- The deeper dive

Ok, all the standard searches have been expended, and now I'm going DEEP into the bowels of the Google Play store (and beyond) to see what I can dig up that's a match-3 and also in some way related to a dungeon. It's been a fun journey that's unveiled a lot of "match-3" and not a lot of "dungeon," but in my never-ending quest . . . I have MORE to share. MORE! MUHAHAHAHA!
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War of Heroes
Not to be confused with the now defunct MMO Marvel War of Heroes . . . this is War of Heroes the "Match 3 Puzzle RPG - War of Hero - Dungeon Battle" with 5,000 downloads. Yup, it was the "Dungeon Battle" part of the title that click-baited me into downloading this game. Unfortunately I've yet to run into anything resembling a Dungeon Battle . . . I think it may happen around level 30 or so? Getting there looks to be hard to do for the common Tom like me.


So the basic gist of the game is that you make matches to strike out at your enemy, and you're not really going to damage your opponent much unless you make 4-in-a-row or 5-in-a row matches or a cascade of "combo" matches. Speaking of enemies, you face the exact same enemy model for 10 encounters in a row until you reach that 11th encounter when you get to fight this blue-looking guy.


The difference here is that the combat is turned based between the "boss's turn" as it says and "your's turn" -- quote unquote. This game really needs the loving touch of a copy editor.


The only thing that makes me want to keep going is the leaderboard . . . I really want to rise above rank 0 and get in that Top 50! Why? Just imagine the clout I could throw around by saying, "I'm a Top 50 Player in the game Match 3 Puzzle RPG - War of Hero - Dungeon Battle." Good news is that I'm Level 8 and the lowest level 50 player is Level 9. I GOT THIS!

Unfortunately . . . the dungeon battle part of the game seems to be non-existent and there are strange grammar errors all over this thing.  It feels like it just exists to spit out Legendary Game of Heroes ads. In fact, if you watch 20 ads in a row, you can unlock Hercules as a playable hero. Too bad I can't actually take him into a dungeon, which is what I really want to do.

Dragon Strike Puzzle RPG
Honestly I don't know how this particular game got on my radar as a potential Dungeon Match-3 game. It's not, it's an Empires and Puzzles clone game with a more cartoony art style, which is great . . . don't get me wrong.


I haven't yet talked about Empires and Puzzles, and that's because it's not really a Dungeon Match-3.  An RPG-based Match-3 with guilds, evolvers, and a builder aspect, yes, a "Dungeon Match-3," no.

And that's why I'm going to stop the discussion of this game here and . . . uninstall. Doesn't mean it's a bad game (probably just the opposite), just not what I'm looking for.

Match 3 Dungeon
HOLY WOW . . . a game named exactly what I'm looking for?!  I sense a great lack of naming imagination and with an astounding 5+ installs . . . you read that right . . . this game has only been installed five plus times . . . could this be some strange diamond in the rough??

Well, I played it!  And, I'm now Number one on the leaderboards for this game. WOOT!


Basically, the board is made up of five colors and you make simple matches. Because the board is simple, you can get some pretty insane chain reactions. Unfortunately there is no real depth here.  It's basically the Flappy Bird of match-3 dungeon games. How long can you survive the onslaught of monotonous match 3?! Your fingers and eyes are so busy clicking around that you don't even notice the high-fantasy 2D art striking out in fury at you, but LOOK . . . YOU'RE IN A DUNGEON!


Eventually you just get to a point where you can't take it anymore, or reach a level where they start to do more damage to you than you can keep up with healing and BAM . . . game over, level up, try again?  That's basically all there is to this game.


Can you beat my high score?  Lemme know!

Dungeon Adventure Demo
It's another deep dig!  I downloaded the "demo" version in the app store for free, but you can also buy the full version on Steam for this game. This is another game with really small install counts . . . we're talking like 10+ on the app store it looks like.


Up front the concept doesn't seem horrible. Basically it's like Hearthstone meets Match 3, but without all the complexity and depth of Hearthstone. This game ends up being a lot like the game I reviewed above (Match 3 Dungeon) only . . . not as good, and there definitely aren't really any "dungeon" aspects other than the look of the game.


To sum up how combat works, you have control of a knight and a wolf. You make matches to power up their attacks.  Both the knight and the wolf have two attacks each. When you power up an attack, you drag that power in the direction of the enemy you want it to strike. It took a bit to discover how to do this since there really isn't a tutorial on playing.

After winning you're granted loot from the monsters you defeated.  The three types of loot I found were gems (no idea what these are used for), healing potions (use those out of combat to heal your knight and wolf), and a mortar and pestle (seems to be some kind of crafting component?).


I had the game lock up on me once and eventually lost my wolf and reached an unbeatable point in the game. In the options you could trash your data and start again, so I did that and started up again.


I don't know if I could recommend buying the game off of steam since the demo lacked so much, but there's something here that if developed correctly might have some legs?  Best of luck to the developer! Hope to see this improve in the future.

Dungeon Cleaning Crew: The Puzzle Game
We now leave our comfortable home of the Google Play Store and Steam and travel to the lands of the iOS app store.

Here's a free game for all ages that really isn't much of a match 3. It's more of just a "match" game. Basically you click on a matching item, around the edges of the pile of items, to that shown on the top right corner of the screen. The object is to clear at least half of the items from the pile.


As you progress, the board gains more items that you can "find," in the "dungeon," like a backpack or a helm.


So while dungeon themed, this is basically a puzzle game that isn't really what I'm looking for, but it's headed in the right direction. I like the idea of a cleaning crew going through a dungeon! I just wish there was more to it.

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I'm not sure if I'll find more dungeon match-3 games out there, but for now I'm thinking the dungeon-based match-3 game I'm hunting for has yet to be developed! Again, if you hear wind of any games that haven't been mentioned yet, let me know, and I'll give it a shot.

Happy Dueling!

Thursday, November 22, 2018

My Hunt for Match-3 Dungeon Games Part 2!

Newsflash -- I've been continuing to hunt for the perfect match-3 Dungeon Game since the last time we talked and . . . Newsflash -- I'm still on the hunt for the perfect match-3 Dungeon Game.  That said, I have found a few new games, and they aren't half-bad and are therefore totally worth a mention here on The Friendly Necromancer blog. Here's what I've got:

Good Knight Story
Coming in at over half a million installs is a Match-3 app called Good Knight Story. Follow the link here to download. At first I thought this was the perfect match-3 dungeon game, but alas . . .

Possibly the biggest sin of Good Knight Story is that it makes a really bad MILF joke.


The second greatest sin of Good Knight Story is the difficulty pay wall found on Level 40.

The third greatest sin of Good Knight is that it looks to only have 125 levels.

However, outside of those three sins, I kind of liked this match-3 game, mainly because of the theme, and the interesting board mechanics like stone blocks that break after three matches have been made next to it. 

It also uses a battle mechanic where you strike at the enemy and a counter ticks down on their portrait. When that counter reaches zero, they strike back. 


To combat this you either have to have enough hearts to survive the blow or have connected at least three shield pieces to block the attack (and those shield pieces are few and far between).  Or use a third method where you cast a spell to block damage at the cost of 2000+ coins. Or use a fourth method where you let the monster knock you out and then resurrect to half health by watching an advertisement. Or use a fifth method where you let the monster knock you out and you resurrect to full health by paying a lot of coins.


Every 24 hours, you're given a gift of 2000 coins, so to continue playing without paying you just need to claim that gift every day and buy a bunch of protection scrolls over the period of a month or so would be my guess?

I *would* do this (because as we clarified in the last post, I'm a glutton for punishment), but they took me out of the dungeon I was so desperately wanting to journey through after the first five levels or so.  *sigh* I want to be IN the dungeon exploring, not out of the dungeon!  (admittedly, I'm probably in the minority)

I'm also looking for a slightly different dungeon exploration style, and this doesn't really fit the bill there either.  

It was chock full of dad puns though, so you may enjoy it! 

Adventure Quest Battle Gems
Another app with over half a million installs . . . Adventure Quest Battle Gems is a match-3 game based around the free flash-based PC game (you guessed it) Adventure Quest. That said, you definitely don't need to have played Adventure Quest to enjoy this game. Although you can link your Adventure Quest game to get a few extra bennies.

Battles in this game are relatively quick and painless. I'm on quest 34 (out of what appears to be hundreds of quests) and have yet to be defeated. As long as you keep buying clothes, weapons, and pets, there seems to be no problem with keeping up with the power curve. 


The one place you might be defeated is within PvP. I'm actually super surprised they didn't make the PvP in this game more prominent!  You find it within a sub menu and have to connect your account to your Facebook page.  Unfortunately it uses the same energy to PvP as it does to quest, so, while it was kind of fun taking down "The Incredible Magicsparkle," I don't know if I'll be doing more of that for a while when I have LOADS, and I mean LOADS, of PvE content to explore.


There are some pretty cool battle mechanics in this game such as "skull pieces." The more matches you make adjacent to the skull, the more powerful your critical attack becomes. It also uses things like chains and slimes to cover pieces where you have to break them free to do more damage.


You also get to take down Dragons who have special conditions to them such as being immune to weapon attacks.  Thank goodness you can also attack them with your pet or magic.


So far I really like this game, and while it really scratches my RPG itch, it doesn't do much in the way of dungeon delving, which is ultimately what I'm looking for (while keeping to the match-3 theme).

OH . . . btw . . . the best thing about this game was that it had me take down forum trolls.  Thank you Adventure Quest Battle Gems.


I feel you Omni . . . I feel you.

Forge of Glory
I found this game after watching an advertisement in Good Knight Story. This game has over a million installs and can be downloaded here

At first what I thought from the ads I had seen was that this game was possibly a Diablo-esque dungeon crawl mixed with a match-3?!?  I was instantly like . . . HOLY CRAP THIS COULD BE THE HOLY GRAIL!  I was wrong, of course, but that said, this was a pretty good distraction for an afternoon and will be on my phone for a bit as I explore it more.

The Match-3 board on Forge of Glory is a basic four-color board in about a 5-by-6 hex style grid that during combat fills with "combat seals." These seals affect your gameplay in a variety of ways based on the type of creature you're facing. 


Basically, the seals make combat more difficult, and it's your job to try to get rid of them before the bonuses they give the enemy make you lose the level. To do this, you need to make matches that are five in a row or more to create powerups on the board that can be used to explode or zap the seals away. Sounds easy, right?  Not really.  It can be quite difficult.


Mixed into this game is a builder, an evolver, and a social guild structure. You gain heroes that you "feed" to your best heroes to level them up and upgrade them.  


You create guards to your castle and build buildings to amp your rewards. You join guilds to go on guild raids for big rewards. So, this game definitely has a ton more depth than say the previously two mentioned games because of all those systems being added on.

I really wish they hadn't given me an auto-play button for the match 3.  As soon as a game gives me an auto-play button, I instantly tap it and check out.  That said, the AI doesn't exactly play like I would, and if a level is more difficult, I'd probably rather have full control.

Because of the depth of this game, it feels like I'm going to need a few days of playing it before I can really see its extents, but I've played it enough to know . . . it's not what I'm looking for.  Pretty good, but not the "Holy Grail."

~~

I'm on the hunt still and will continue to look for great Dungeon-themed Match-3 games.  Again, if you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments, and I'll be sure to check it out.

Happy Dueling!