And let's face it, the hardest part about loving to play a card game is finding someone to play with you. Those of us sequestered in smaller towns may find that official tournaments pass us by, and player tournaments are not that frequent. Star Chamber: The Harbinger Saga
offers as deep an experience as you'll ever have in a CCG, but with the added benefit of an online gaming community, and a developing story.
The story element makes this more than just a game where opposing players throw cards down to capture, outscore or freeze out the other player. There is an epic space drama happening in Star Chamber, and it reminds me of an old shareware classic, "Galactic Conquest." There are themes of all kinds of sci-fi epics running through Star Chamber, and the goal of build, protect and conquer also plays heavily into the story. The really cool thing is that you do everything with a combination of resource development and card play. The resource development feels very much like a turn-based strategy game, but the cards add a great element of strategy missing from most turn-based games that rely on resources. Most times, whoever gathers the most resources and deploys troops strategically wins the day. Not so here.
Using cards, the tide of battle can turn quickly. Cards are drawn, played and discarded against various elements on the game field. Card effects are marked, and can in various situations strengthen a particular resource, speed up gameplay or guard against a particular enemy attack. Using spaceships, planetoids, citizens and heroes, Star Chamber builds a great space opera that binds together great strategy gameplay and decks of cards you can trade with other players or purchase from the online store. The element of trading cards makes this a complete package, and if you get bored playing the computer scenarios, you can go online against human players. This is certainly the card player's equivalent of digital cocaine, so don't say I didn't warn you.