[FotM] Kongai – Mind-reading browser game

Going to unhide all the Flavor of the Month posts, but still gonna tag the title just in case you only want to know about mahjongs and nothing else.

I’ve been meaning to write about this awesome game for some time but kept putting it off, partly because I keep struggling for words to describe it adequately. It’s a sort of double-blind turn-based pokemon battle with collectible cards… well, at least I tried. It was designed by David Sirlin, and if that name sounds familiar it is because he is the author of some compulsory reading in Internet 101.

Basically you start with a ‘deck’ of 3 characters, each equipped with an item of your choice, against your opponents deck. One character is on the playing field at a time, and may use attacks consuming differing amounts of energy, which recharges every turn. Characters may switch in and out of battle to dodge attacks while bringing in reinforcements, and each move (and its never-certain outcome) can swing the battle either way. The character cards are nicely themed and flavorful, for what it’s worth, and the balance in the game makes it truly solid. Read the forum and you will find loads of people ranting against the RNG, which is kind of silly because I thought that was one of the neatest touches to the game, since everyone gets their share of really horrific bad beats, each one rantworthy in itself.

Where the game really shines is that basically as long as you can read your opponent’s mind and predict which button he is going to hit this turn, you can more or less dance around his attacks while routing him in humiliating fashion. I generally do quite well playing entirely inside my opponents heads, ignoring the logical part of my brain. When done right it’s exhilarating beyond belief. When it goes bad I check back and can’t believe I did that dumbass shit what the fuck was I thinking. As I’ve always said, it’s a game that either makes you feel really smart or really stupid.

The interface is simple and clean, and another thing I love about it is all the information you will need is displayed right there, so all you have to be worried about is making the correct decision.

All the info is in nice little tabs. Little icons along the side show relevant status effects, etc.

Unfortunately his dudes are all dead, but otherwise the cards are all flippable to show all relevant information you’ll need to make your choice.

The game has a sort of player rank matchmaking system. I rarely play a lot of ranked games, and at the lower levels it’s mostly trying to find out exactly how dumb your opponent is, like Poe’s schoolboy who won all the marbles in his school. The different choices beat each other in a rock-paper-scissors fashion a lot of the time, but there’s always more than enough time to slowly figure it out.

You earn cards by a low chance random drop while playing, or by achieving some level in the various flash games on site. You can also buy the cards outright, which is nice but not really necessary. Many collectible card games, online and otherwise, will swear that their stuff is perfectly balanced, and spending money only expands your options to better suit your playstyle and creativity. This is always pure bunkum. In this case however, it is almost perfectly true. I have yet to spend a cent, and have enjoyed every hour wasted on it. If you like mind-readan games, rate a zero on reflexes, or just want to feel superior to some 10-year-old kid on the internet, there’s no reason to not check this out.

Site is http://www.kongregate.com/games/kongregate/kongai (Main site registration required)

A useful wiki is http://kongregate.wikia.com/wiki/Kongai

I played Benjamin a couple of times last year and found out I am roughly 20 times better at this game than him. If you do play and are interested in a game or five let me know.

bad beats, each one rantworthy in itself.

5 thoughts on “[FotM] Kongai – Mind-reading browser game

  1. “Where the game really shines is that basically as long as you can read your opponent’s mind and predict which button he is going to hit this turn, you can more or less dance around his attacks while routing him in humiliating fashion. I generally do quite well playing entirely inside my opponents heads, ignoring the logical part of my brain. When done right it’s exhilarating beyond belief. When it goes bad I check back and can’t believe I did that dumbass shit what the fuck was I thinking. As I’ve always said, it’s a game that either makes you feel really smart or really stupid.”

    I could have SWORN you were talking about mahjong right there. w

    Whenever I’m done with my math examinations and such, I’ll try to give it a try.

  2. Gonna disagree that mahjong is like that, really. In mahjong basically you are playing a multiplayer one-player game – ultimately it is a game more against yourself than your opponents. Akagi-style reads on opponents’ specific tendencies or waits are impractical and improbable, and the general approach is to logic yourself through a game, play in a straightforward but not idiotic manner, and take the probabilities as they come. Mind-reading is never a concern. There is no need to figure out your opponent, or to even know who he is – excluding some extreme outliers, you can play against most people in exactly the same way, and to do differently would be a mistake. Most importantly, your opponents can just do some random shit and then you lose for no reason.

    In this one you have to make a conscious decision to even attack in a routine manner, and it is possible to counter most actions and change the situation to your advantage. Almost every character has an element that can turn a game around in dramatic fashion.

    If mahjong is like managing a football club, this game is a penalty shootout.

  3. …then again, the first part of my comment was in a jokingly manner. But mainly and most importantly, “As I’ve always said, it’s a game that either makes you feel really smart or really stupid” < this is how I feel mahjong most of the time. Let alone reads and such, which are more occult than anything, since I agree it's a game against yourself, when you lose you will be losing to yourself, indeed, that's the part that makes me feel the worst for the most part. Haha, but still, it's not like I believe in mind reading too… either in this game, or even in Kongai. Because -anywhere- on any game, your opponents can just do some random shit as well. But there seems to be a way around that, too. Or maybe it's just not even that important on this case.

    But I as always, I enjoy reading your takes on the game and its aspects, and wish to draw my own conclusions in the future regarding the similar and different aspects between both games when I try this one out soon.

    Sounds like fun. People who have a head start on the game get too much of an advantage, or could I just catch up if I started next month?

  4. And now that I read my comment, I can see that I’m mostly incoherent right now. I need some sleep, between studying and net mahjong, I’m just in a drunkish state most of the time because of not getting enough rest. Meh, whatever.

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