Trials of Fire is the most intricate layered strategy game of 2021

Staff selection

Award for PC Gamer Game of the Year 2021

(Image credit: Future)

In addition to our most important Game of the Year Awards 2021, every member of the PC Gamer team sheds spotlight on a game they loved this year. We are announcing new employee choices along with our main prices for the rest of the month.

The rogue-like deckbuilder genre is almost comically exaggerated in the wake of Slay the Spire. I think the abundance led to the Trials of Fire flying a bit under the radar when it came out of Early Access earlier this year, but it deserves to stand out – it’s perhaps the most compelling strategy game to come out in 2021.

If Trials of Fire is chasing trends, they are not from video games – it carries the influence of table games with pride on its sleeve. In addition to the use of cards for actions, the turn-based battle also plays out over a board game-like hex grid. Between battles, it feels like an old-fashioned way to explore its unique post-apocalyptic fantasy environment D&D hex-crawl, with small narrative events unfolding as you enter each location.

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