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An Introduction to Storybook Brawl – Sponsored

This article was sponsored by Storybook Brawl.

Today I want to tell you about a sweet new game that I’ve been jamming. Storybook Brawl went into open beta last Friday, and as of today I’ve won 34 Crowns (8-player lobby wins), so you could say that I’m enjoying it. It’s made by a team formed by Matt Place, Matt Nass and Josh Utter-Leyton (wrapter), so of course I was going to try it, but I really have been hooked. It’s an autobattler, like Hearthstone Battlegrounds (another game I enjoy greatly). Today I’ll explain how it works and mention some of the strategies I’ve enjoyed using in it.

The one-sentence way to describe Storybook Brawl is that you draft your decks, then instead of playing them, the computer plays them against each other and you see who wins. The drafting is the fun part, and this captures that fun extremely well.

 

Header - Step 1: Choose a Hero

The best hero in this selection is likely Krampus, who is one of the free heroes.

 

When your queue starts, the first thing you’ll do is pick a hero. Half the heroes are free, and everyone has them – each game you’ll see two of these. Paid heroes are ones you don’t start with, and two are presented from that pool as well. It’s a disadvantage to only have access to half the heroes, but it’s not a massive one. Plenty of the free heroes are great, and you won’t really feel it if you play with only those.

Heroes often dictate how you play the game, since they have a range of powerful abilities. Some make certain unit types different, some buff treasures, some give you more gold and so on and so forth. Sometimes you end up not using your hero power at all if you go in a different direction than what the hero does, but the best builds tend to combine their hero power well with whatever they build.

 

Header - Step 2: Buy Some Characters

This is my turn one, after I purchased B-a-d Billy Gruff

 

The buying phase is the one where you make all your decisions. You’re presented with some characters plus one spell each turn, and start with two gold to buy things. Each turn, your gold goes up until it hits 12. Let’s talk about the different things you can buy.

 

Characters

 

Characters are what fight for you – they’re your army. You can have seven in play at once, and up to four in hand. You can freely swap from play to hand and vice versa, which is a departure from most autobattlers. You will soon fill up your board with characters, and they form the bulk of your game plan.

You start at level two, with two gold, and characters that all cost two. As you go up in levels, you get offered more powerful characters and spells, with level-ups occurring every three turns (win or lose), though some spells can speed that up. Speaking of spells…

 

Spells

 

These offer a really interesting twist to the game. You’re presented with one spell on each board, and they cost a variable amount, from zero all the way up to 12. Spells do all sorts of crazy stuff – they buff your team, make things cheaper, give you extra experience, deal damage, transform enemy units and more. You’re only allowed to cast one spell per turn, though some spells and items allow you to break that limit.

Spells add a ton of texture to the game, and some strategies and heroes are even based on them. They are one of the most enjoyable parts of the game, and a large reason why I’ve gotten so hooked. 

 

Treasures

Treasures are another really sweet card type that can offer you some direction. Treasures hang out to the left of your army, and you can have up to three at a time. If you find one with three in play, you can either replace an old treasure or skip and get two gold instead. The main way you find Treasures is to triple a character, at which point you get an upgraded version plus a Treasure equal to the character’s level. That’s an important part to clarify – tripling low-level characters gets you low-level treasure, and ditto for high level ones. The level of a character is equal to its cost, with six being the max. Getting a level 6 Treasure can easily turn the tide, as they have some powerful effects:

 

There’s plenty of cool interactions with Treasures too, from characters that care about them to heroes and characters that let you discover higher-level ones. There are even secret level 7 Treasures, which you can find with heroes such as Hoard Dragon or Treasures like Treasure Map.

 

The level 7 treasures are awesome, and one even grants the winner of the lobby extra currency. To find out what level 7 Treasures do, you’ll have to play the game (also I don’t have the ability to screenshot them on demand, since they are Easter eggs).

 

Header - Let Them Fight

 

The next phase is the fight, where your teams battle to see who comes out on top. There are two rows, and placement matters a ton (it’s one of the bigger decision points in the game). Characters attack from the left, and randomly attack a character in the front row. The two characters damage each other, and then the other team attacks, using the same logic. Attackers go from left to right on the top row, then left to right on the bottom row.

 

Stats scale up pretty quickly, but stats aren’t all that matter. There are a couple abilities that really impact ordering, but the biggest by far is Support.

 

 

Support characters grant their support ability to the two characters in front of them. Taking a look at the battlefield picture above, the leftmost 1/4 is giving both front-row creatures +3 Attack, but the second 1/4 is just pumping the 10/2 Archer. Supports can work on any creature or only specific creatures (Treants, Good Creatures, etc).

At the end of the fight, the losing team takes damage equal to the other heroes level plus one damage per character (three if the character is upgraded). The damage amounts aren’t massive, but you will lose fairly quickly if you don’t win any fights.

 

Header - Brawl-Winning Strategies

There are a bunch of different synergies (or “decks”) that you’re trying to build to, and some of them are stronger at different stages of the game. The loudest strategies are the following:

  • Good / Evil
  • Mages / Spells
  • Slay / Monsters
  • Treants
  • Princesses and Princes
  • Dwarves
  • Animals
  • Puff-Puffs

Each of these strategies is supported by a combination of Heroes, Characters and Treasures, with plenty of cross-archetype synergy present as well. Some strategies require a ton of cards and commitment, while others can be fueled by just one key card with a bunch of flexible slots. 

All of these are viable, though some more than others. The strategies I personally have found to be the best are the following:

 

Slay / Monsters

 

Shadow Assassin is my pick for best character in the game (when looking at value vs cost). It has Ranged, so enemy characters don’t hit back when the Assassin attacks, and whenever any of your team Slays (attacks and kills a character), it gets bigger. It gets out of control quickly, especially when cards like Riverwish Merfolk are involved, and it’s not hard to grow an Assassin to ludicrous numbers. It’s the most busted when your hero is Sad Dracula.

 

 

Between Dracula and the Merfolk, you get tons of extra Slay triggers, and there are a ton of other cards that play into this.

 

 

The Oni King is a great finisher too, as many of the Slay characters are also monsters, and the Oni King gets out of control quickly.

Cards to Look For: Shadow Assassin, Riverwish Merfolk, Baba Yaga, Jormundgang

 

Treants

 

Treants are led by the Ashwood Elm, who buffs all your Treants to gigantic proportions. One of the coolest things about Treants is that you can switch into it very late. All it takes is the Elm plus a bunch of Trees, with the Elm doing the heavy lifting. Treants naturally have high health, so pumping their power a bunch goes a long way. 

Cards to Look For: Ashwood Elm, Echowood, The Green Knight

 

Mages / Spells

 

It’s no surprise that I love the “storm” deck, as this deck is built around getting a bunch of Mages out and casting a bunch of spells. It’s driven by spells that allow you to play more than one spell per turn and triggers like Aon and The Storm King. There are powerful Mages at every level, so assembling them plus spells can come together nicely. This one does take a while to spin up, and requires high-level characters, so it isn’t as consistent as some of the other builds.

Cards to Look Out For: Aon, The Storm King, Crystal Ball, Monster Book

 

Header - Time to Get Brawling

This game is incredibly fun, and has the right combination of depth and intuitive gameplay. It’s not hard to learn the rules, but there is a ton to discover under the surface. I’ve been playing an absurd amount, and highly recommend that you try it for yourself. It’s free to download, and truly free to play (an important distinction these days), so give it a spin!

Find Storybook Brawl here.

Update: Make that 36 Crowns – I played a couple games while writing this…

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