Gordian Quest is a turn based strategy game where the combat moves are picked from a deck of cards. It also has RPG elements where you can level up your character, pick perks, equip items, and modify the gear via gems. There are a lot of mechanics to learn but thankfully most of them are very easy to grasp.
The game’s main mode is the campaign mode. You have a base of operations in the center of the map. You go exploring and completing quests by traveling to nodes on the map. Quests are usually given out by the villagers in the town. As you progress through the campaign, more buildings are unlocked, each with a specific function. For example, after unlocking the inn, you can rest there to restore health and recover exhaustion (a side effect that prevents cards from being played in combat).
Quests usually have small scenarios play out. For example, one of the earlier quests have you break into a bandit hideout. You have the option of barging through the front door or enter via the roof. Each option has a chance of success or failure measured by rolling one dice, modified by your stat values. For breaking through the font door, having higher strength will make the dice roll easier while having higher intelligence will make it easier to observe and find another route to the rooftops.
In order to guarantee a higher probability of success, you can use one of the cards in your deck. Doing so will “exhaust” the card, requiring you to rest at an inn or campsite before you can use that card in combat again. This creates a nice risk versus reward system where you can risk rolling the dice and suffer failing, or exhaust your cards in order to create a more favorable combat encounter (or more rewards earned) but with less cards per encounter.
The majority of the game is the combat phase, which is arguably the meat of the game. In this phase, player characters and enemies are arranged on a grid. Characters take turns attacking based on their initiative stat. The attacks are chosen from a hand of cards selected randomly from your deck. Each hero has three different decks with different play styles from which you can choose new cards. This gives you a lot of flexibility in creating decks.
The combat feels pretty fast paced and intuitive. You usually have an even assortment of attack and defense cards. The hand is small enough where you don’t feel overwhelmed with choice. Picking cards to play can be done in a short amount of time but still creates a feeling of flexibility.
For those wanting a more streamlined experience focusing solely on the combat, there is Realm mode. Realm mode gets rid of the narrative elements and gives you a map with only combat encounters sprinkled with a few safe nodes to give you a breather. You can even increase the difficulty of the game and turn it into a roguelite or roguelike to enable permadeath of characters and the game ending upon party death.
Overall, Gordian Quest is a pretty enjoyable turn based strategy and deck building game with RPG lite elements. There are a lot of mechanics that are intuitive and give the game a sense of depth. The Realm mode is great for people who only want to do combat encounters. The game is pretty easy on normal mode, but for those wanting a challenge, there are much harder difficulty levels in addition to turning on permadeath.