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This digital deck-builder about life in a travelling circus is having a free open beta

The Amazing American Circus is a digital deck-builder about—you guessed it—a circus: Specifically, a circus traveling across the US in the late 19th century. You'll expand and upgrade your show as you follow the open road from town to town, while squaring off against an array of opponents including rival ringmasters and characters drawn from American history and folklore, like Nikola Tesla and Bigfoot. Your ultimate goal: To perform in front of president Teddy Roosevelt and his royal guest, Queen Victoria, and vie for a shot at a grand tour across Europe.

It's a big premise, and a little unusual—at first glance it looks like a blend of Hearthstone, Darkest Dungeon, and Where the Water Tastes Like Wine—but I think it also looks quite promising as a more narrative-focused take on CCGs. The good news for anyone similarly intrigued is that you can give it a shot right now, for free, courtesy of the open beta that kicked off today. Just journey around to the Steam page and mash the "request access" button, and you'll be in.

The beta includes the first of four regions available in The Amazing American Circus, with multiple paths across the map and a variety of region-specific quests to complete and artists to hire. The only restriction in the beta build is that you'll be limited to 21 Fame Stars, which help you progress through the game and face tougher opponents. (I imagine that will be more relevant in the full game than the single-region beta anyway.)

The Amazing American Circus is set to go into full release on August 12. Find out more at, or just sit back and enjoy more than 20 minutes of gameplay below.

Andy covers the day-to-day happenings in the big, wide world of PC gaming—the stuff we call "news." In his off hours, he wishes he had time to play the 80-hour RPGs and immersive sims he used to love so much.