My Addiction to Teamfight Tactics (LoL Auto Chess), Review, and Virtual board games.

What is TFT?

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In my own words: Teamfight Tactics (TFT) is a auto battle game where the objective to built the strongest army of units and items in order to eliminate the competition and be the last team remaining.

Have you ever played pokemon, and considered what pokemon to bring out on your next adventure. Our what arrangement of pokemon would work best against a particular gym? Well that’s the feeling almost every second in a 30-45 minute game of TFT.

You combine units by making pairs of three, into a “2 Star“ unit. Combine three two star units and you get a powerful 3 Star unit.

Items are similar in that you can combine them, but there are many combinations and effects. Each unique combination of two items makes a interesting effect to consider for any team. Things like a morellonomicon can make spells deal burn damage and stop healing.

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Why is it fun? Addicting?

The game is fun because of all the decision trees that are constantly going through your head as a player. Should I go brawlers? There are two elementalists that I can buy right now, should I switch my entire team for them? All of these questions and hard choices are made through simple repeated random choices and unit combinations.

These decision trees along side the fact that there is a incentive to hoard gold for interest gives the player a sense of tug and pull. Saving gold for added interest gold at the risk of falling behind on unit power, or spending gold like a mad man to keep a win streak going that also rewards gold.

The game is a delicate balancing act and always reminds me of a thing I learned in film class. The excitement curve that most movies follow is something that happens naturally in every game of TFT. You spend lots of gold? An early rising action to a later fall in power and potential climax of risk. You horde gold and are on the edge of your seat the whole time as your health bar dips below 20%? Either way or if you weren’t following a strategy at all leads to a engaging gameplay experience almost every time.

To be fair the action isnt always the most exciting, and the game is not for everyone as you are basically just watching units fight and micro managing them all. But for the inner strategy lover in me, and my childhood memories of playing many team builder games like pokemon and final fantasy, I’m hooked.

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What to learn?

The game has continued support from devs, even after slightly changing target audience.

The systems design supports more player interaction.

The game itself is something that only a virtual board game could do.

Conclusion

I love teamfight tactics, and will continue to come back and see how the game is supported. I want to see the iterations of PURELY virtual board games, in ways that have not been explored yet. There is more to see and explore in games that push what it means to be a virtual board game. I love games like mario party, hearthstone, and TFT that could only be on a computer due to either the controls, or the computing power to support the game. And I think there is more yet to explore.