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Signs of the Sojourner is a card game with chats instead of battles

Deck-building games typically give you cards that represent weapons or spells or a big orc who wants to smash heads. Sometimes you get a field. Your deck is your arsenal. Not so in Signs of the Sojourner, however, where you must use cards to forge connections with people and develop your personality. 

It's a narrative card game where battles are replaced by conversations where the goal isn't to 'win'. Both you and the person you're talking to put down cards in an effort to match symbols that reflect personality traits. If the conversation goes well, you can then swap one of your cards for a new one, a trait you've learned, making it easier to connect with other people. 

There are more advanced cards that can duplicate other cards and slot between ones already in play, but you'll need to meet new people to get access to them. There are also ways to stop you get a strike even if you can't match the previous card, so you've got quite a few options. It's unusual because the people you chat to are trying to help, and if you play the right thing, they can complete the board in one go and let you move onto the next part of your conversation. It's not adversarial, though sometimes it might be difficult to find common ground.  

You can go out of your way to make friends and appease people, but your deck has limited space, so I expect it will be tough to please everyone. Instead you can just choose to develop your character the way you want, which will mean you get along with some people but just rub others the wrong way. It starts out seeming abstract but can get pretty real. 

As well as card chats, you've got a shop to run, though you'll spend a lot of time travelling, looking for new food to stock or doing favours for friends. Chill deck-building, introspection and snacks sounds pretty amazing to me. 

If your interest is piqued, you can check out a free alpha build today. Just join developer Echodog's Discord channel and you'll get immediate access. The full game is due out this year.

Fraser is the sole inhabitant of PC Gamer's mythical Scottish office, conveniently located in his flat. He spends most of his time wrangling the news, but sometimes he sneaks off to write lots of words about strategy games.