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New deckbuilding roguelike is blackjack Balatro, and it has a demo

Dungeons and Degenerate Gamblers is like Balatro but with blackjack instead of poker, and the new Steam demo is already as promising.

Dungeons and Degenerate Gamblers Steam demo

Balatro isn’t just a standout deckbuilding roguelike, it’s easily going to be one of the best games of 2024. It takes the rules of poker and completely twists them into something hypnotic, seeing you wake from an hours-long stupor where you’ve been lost to the will of the cards. Dungeons and Degenerate Gamblers does the same for blackjack, as it takes the card game’s simple rules and turns them up to overdrive. You’ve not got long, but this is a Steam Next Fest demo you don’t want to miss downloading.

After picking a suit from the deck, each of which offers a different difficulty level and buff, you enter a string of one one-on-one rounds of blackjack. Both you and your opponent have health, and the aim is to win a round by enough points to inflict the difference in damage, reducing your foe’s health to zero to progress. Each run you’ll collect a different set of cards, making this a roguelike game concept familiar to any deckbuilder.

So far so simple, right? Well, much like how Balatro has a suite of Joker cards that completely change the game, Dungeons and Degenerate Gamblers offers up an overabundance of cards that break the rules. There’s an SD card, Yu-Gi-Oh! Trap card, Hall Pass, NFT, and so much more. Every one of these cards has an extra effect that throws the standard rules of blackjack out the window – this is when it gets really good.

There are also chips that offer up passive abilities, and you’ve got to bring all of this together to beat each opponent, unlock new cards, and make your way through the mystical tavern. Every opponent also has a minimum value they’ll stand on, so it quickly becomes a cat-and-mouse game of how far you think you can go before going over yourself. You know when the opponent will stop playing cards, so it’s up to you to either take the small hit to your HP, attempt to match them, or scrape by and do some damage to them instead.

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Much like Balatro, Dungeons and Degenerate Gamblers thrives on bending a game we all know the rules of, and doing so without sacrificing what makes card games fun in the first place. The collection of wacky cards makes for engaging rounds, but this is still blackjack at its core. The mind games and risks you need to take to try and win are still there, but this time you and your opponent have health bars to worry about.

The Dungeons and Degenerate Gamblers demo is part of Steam Next Fest until Monday June 17 right here, but you can find the demo over on itch.io as well.

We’ve also got all the best card games to play right now, alongside the upcoming PC games to look out for in 2024 and beyond.

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