Have you ever played Mario Party? I’m not talking about anything past December 14, 1998. Mario Party 1 – now THAT was a Gamer™’s game. So many friendships ruined in the name of greed and conquest, and so many fond memories. And now there’s a chance to relive some of that experience through Journey of Greed.
Journey of Greed is a PvPvE deck-building, social card game from X.D. Network, where you butt heads with 3 other players (or bots, if that’s your thing) in a quest for epic loot. You and your pirate crew will travel uncharted lands, brave vicious monsters, discover hordes of glittering gold and dazzling gems.
Oh, and stab each other in the back while trying to score the most treasure. Journey of Greed is available on the Google Play Store as well as the App Store. And Steam, it’s been on Steam since 2019. Note that the PC version is separate from the mobile version!
There can be no mercy or friendship when playing Journey of Greed. And while much of the game can be chalked up to luck, how you respond to the game’s events as well as how well you can trick or manipulate other players. This sounds daunting – and it is – but here’s a Journey of Greed beginner’s guide that will hopefully help you win your first few games and help get your sea legs!
Understanding The Game Mechanics
With so many things happening during the tutorial, it’s easy to get swept away with what’s happening. To help you understand what’s going on, here’s a step-by-step tutorial on what happens during the game.
Journey of Greed is a 4-player PvPvE where you and 3 other players move forward, one island per turn. There are 30 islands all in all, with 3 rest stops in between.
The objective of the game is to have the most money stashed away at the end of the expedition. You collect coins via events that happen on each of the 30 islands, where your income is affected both by the decisions you make and what other players play.
At the start of each turn, all players draw a card from the top of their deck. They will then be given an opportunity to either play a card from their hand or pass. After all players have confirmed this decision, the island’s event will be revealed, and if there’s a choice to be made, players will have to pick which choice they want. Note that it’s not a voting thing: each player will always get the results of their choice. Once the island’s event resolves, the next turn starts and players move to the next island.
Players on the upper panel wil always be arranged in ascending order (least to most) based on the gold they are currently carrying. At the end of the game board, players – yes, plural – who have savings more than the average amount win, while players who have less lose.
There are 3 main island types in Journey of Greed.
Green islands almost always have a beneficial effect. More often than not, green islands have a large amount of gold that – external circumstances notwithstanding – is divided equally among all active players. Some green islands also offer players a choice of receiving benefits or hampering other players.
Red islands represent combat. You will always have to square off against an enemy on these islands. On occasion, combat will also present you a choice of taking even more damage than usual for benefits, such as getting extra gold.
Black islands house disasters both natural and manmade. Like red islands, black islands mean you’ll lose some HP. Unlike red islands, defense doesn’t mitigate the damage that black islands do as there’s no combat.
At the end of each sequence of 9 islands is a rest stop. These are special islands that both return all inactive players to the board, and give all players two choices:
- Heal 4 HP, receive 10 gold, draw one card
- Heal 2 HP, receive 10 gold, draw two cards
Your gold isn’t truly yours until it’s safely in the bank.
Gold is divided into two parts: your wallet and your savings. The wallet is the gold you have on hand, and is indicated by the number on the coin on the lower left of your portrait. Your savings, on the other hand, is your safe money in the green pouch to the lower right.
While gold isn’t in your savings yet, it’s prone to being lost via events, other players, or worst of all, dying. So how do we keep your gold tucked away?
Live to fight another day, that’s how.
During the card selection phase (before an island’s event is revealed), you also have the option to run away. You can do this by tapping the Flee button to the left of the menu (on the searchlight) and then confirming your
cowardice prudence by tapping the wheel. Fleeing has two main purposes: all gold in your wallet is sent directly to your savings, and your opponents won’t be able to benefit if you die, because you’re out of there.
Fleeing does come with its own downsides: while you escape the dangers of the island you’re on and any succeeding islands, you do not receive any benefits from them either. You’re also relegated to only playing ghost cards, which don’t have as much of an impact as your actual deck.
Fleeing characters return to the board at every rest stop.
Fleeing is mainly used to avoid the consequences of dying.
As much as possible, don’t die. If a character dies by having their HP reduced to 0 or less, all the gold in their wallet is split equally among living players. This means that not only does that player not gain any savings, but they’ll also provide their rivals a huge advantage.
Just like characters that have fled, dead players can play ghost cards during each event to help them catch up. Dead characters are also returned to life at the next rest stop.
Last One Standing Bonus
Fleeing is a tactical option to prevent dying, but both of them remove you from the field. This, in turn, can lead to someone else getting the Last One Standing bonus, a 100 gold bonus for the last active player on the board.
This bonus is a very sizeable chunk of change, and is on top of whatever treasure the next islands hold, if the last one standing decides to go on. Think carefully whether you want to flee or risk staying, as that 100 gold can determine games on its own.
Cards and Costs
As mentioned earlier, each player draws a card from their own deck at the beginning of each turn. These cards provide each player options for getting ahead or hampering their rivals, and constructing a good deck will definitely help you get ahead.
Each card has an associated cost, located in its upper left. Costs can be paid in either gold or health, with the icon on the cost showing both what currency you have to pay in, and how much it will cost. Note that gold costs are always paid out of your wallet, and that health costs can kill you if you’re not careful!
Keywords and Status Effects
No card game is without keywords, and of course, Journey of Greed has its own. Most keywords are status effects that can stack, with their timers ticking down every turn. As a rule of thumb, the number to the left of a status effect icon is its magnitude, and the number to the right is the number of turns it’s active. You can always tap on a player’s portrait to check their current status effects.
Here’s a list of common keywords that you’ll likely run across, and what they do.
- Advance: Advances the next specified island type by X tiles. As card effects resolve before the island is flipped, this can change the island you’re on!
- Commission: Permanent status effect. Every time a player with Commission encounters a green island, they gain 5 * X coins, where X is the number of Commission stacks they have.
- Dance: Whenever a Dancing player gains X amount of coins, the player that inflicted Dance also gains X coins.
- Defense: Every 1 point of defense negates 1 damage from combat (the sword icon). Likewise, every negative point of defense increases damage taken from combat.
- Disaster: A card’s Disaster effects only activate if played on a black island.
- Enchant: Enchanted players lose X HP on green islands, and gain X defense on red islands, where X is the number of Enchant stacks they have. Enchant lasts 3 turns.
- Fortune: A card’s Fortune effects only activate if played on a green island.
- Hunt: If the current island is a red island, gain Y coins. Y is equal to 3 times the current island’s power.
- Loner: Characters with Loner forfeit their share of gold from treasure. The gold that they don’t gain is split among players that can gain gold.
- Misfortune: A card’s Misfortune effects only activate if played on a red island.
- Postpone: Pushes back the next specified island type by X tiles. As card effects resolve before the island is flipped, this can change the island you’re on!
- Purify (X): Dispels the last X effects a player gained. Removes both buffs and debuffs!
- Split (X): Whenever a player gains coins from an island, they gain an additional X coins.
- Wound: Reduces incoming healing equal to the amount of Wound stacks a player has.
Journey of Greed has 3 game modes: Lighthouse, Adventure, and Arena. You’ll need to reach higher player ranks in order to access both Adventure and Arena mode.
Lighthouse Mode is the first mode of the game. In Lighthouse Mode, some of the islands come revealed to all players. This allows you to make better decisions and plan future plays with the cards in your hand.
Adventure Mode, on the other hand, has no revealed islands sans the 3 rest stops. This game mode is tough, and challenges players to not only butt heads to come out on top, but also to use logic and deduction (and some luck) to decipher the islands on the board and come out ahead.
To help you with your plays, you can tap on the parrot above the ship’s wheel to get a readout on the next three islands. This will result in one of three colors: white, green, or red. A green or red reading means that among the next three islands, there is more of that color of island than other colors. Getting a green readout means that potentially, 2-3 of the next islands are green. Conversely, a white readout means that there’s an equal amount of green and red islands: which means that one of the next 3 islands is guaranteed to be black. Adventure Mode takes some time to get used to, but it’s great fun.
Arena Mode is where you duke it out with other players to score as many wins as possible. Arena uses the same base rules as Adventure. However, games are played in a series of 10, with 2 losses getting you kicked out. The more games you win, the bigger the prizes. The first Arena Mode play of the day is free, with the next one setting you back 100 gold, then doubling for every time you enter. Note that this fee is only paid when you start a new set of 10!
As for which mode is most played, there doesn’t seem to be any particular bias. I’ve tried matchmaking in every mode and reliably (and quickly) found games.
Know Each Class
Each and every class in Journey of Greed has its own strategy, and understanding the options that each character has, as well as their general strategies, will help you win games more consistently.
The Alchemist is a man of science who works best when he’s left alone to experiment and to plot.
If left to his own devices, the Alchemist can acquire a huge amount of gold thanks to both his boosted Splitbonuses and propensity for doubling the amount of gold he gains for a single turn. The Alchemist’s experiments have also yielded useful but unintended medicinal side effects, and he has easy access to several healing effects as well as Defense buffs. Science must march on, after all.
While many Alchemist cards focus entirely on improving himself, it’s important to note that he does have some powerful offensive tools in his arsenal. Cards like Gold Ray help you secure your lead via a cheap Purify, and if you’re playing the long game, Demonic Contract is a particularly potent card that gives you +1 Defense and -2 Defense to all your rivals – and these effects last until dispelled!
The Witch Doctor
The Witch Doctor is a spellcaster who uses her knowledge of both the mystic and mundane arts to stay ahead of the competition. And full disclosure: the Witch Doctor is my favorite class in the game.
This wily witch is framed as a healer in the tutorial, and she’s probably the best doctor in the game. She’s more than capable of sustaining herself, and can (if you really want to) keep other players alive. That is, if they shell out the cash for her services, such as via Extortionate Healing, which heals 1 HP for everyone (including yourself!) at an exorbitant cost relative to the amount of HP lost.
Apart from direct healing effects, the Witch Doctor also has powerful HP manipulation cards. She starts with Blood Lock, a very powerful card that sets her HP to 5 at the end of the turn, no matter what else happens. This means that Witch Doctor players can be more liberal about trading health for coins, especially during Black Island events where damage isn’t affected by defense buffs or debuffs.
The Witch Doctor is also poised to make life miserable for her erstwhile allies on red islands, with cards such as Soul Barrier and Dark Infusion dropping their defense while helping the Witch Doctor sustain herself.
Witch Doctor play runs on a delicate balance of keeping other players alive and healthy, therefore using them as piggy banks, or inflicting so many debuffs on them that they’ll either be forced to retreat or get knocked out due to so many stacking defense penalties.
The Mercenary is a grizzled veteran who makes the most out of everything he comes across, whether it be danger or opportunity.
This warrior makes use of both his Hunt and Commission cards to gain more coins from both combat and treasure. Commission, in particular, is permanently stackable, giving the Mercenary great snowballing potential if he can stay alive and unpurified.
Both a commanding presence and a loose cannon, the Mercenary can heal Wounds, or push his allies beyond their breaking points to tire them out and make them more vulnerable to the island’s perils. As a swordsman, the Mercenary’s wild swings make quick work of foes, but they also have the (completely unintended, I’m sure!) side effect of causing collateral damage in the form of Wounds, Defense debuffs, and even direct damage.
Pay close to attention to how islands are set up to determine how best to play your Mercenary cards. A slew of red islands may mean that it’s better to ramp up debuffs on your rivals, but a series of green islands is a great way to make bank via Commission stacking.
The Trickster is an unpredictable ally and a dangerous foe who excels at making his enemies work for him.
Many of the Trickster’s cards revolve around him either forcing other players to pay him out of their own pockets, or by manipulating gold gains. The latter is accomplished via his Loner status effect, which causes a player to forfeit their share of any split treasure. This is perhaps best exemplified by his Leverage card, which gives all other players Loner while also giving them one measly coin. Judicious use of cards that either inflict Loner on your rivals or give you a high payoff of gold while giving you Loner is key to good Trickster play.
The Trickster is also a great proponent of letting others do the work, especially if said work involves carrying status effects. Why bother housing bothersome Wounds and Defense debuffs, or even self-inflicted Loner if you can just throw them at somebody else?
The Dancer is a lithe enchantress who enraptures her rivals with graceful or bombastic movements, leading them further down a path of demise.
The Dancer is almost entirely defined by her unique Enchant status effect, which flips the tables for anyone who has it. By default, Enchant lasts 3 turns, and while it’s active, green islands cause players to lose X HP, while red islands give players a bonus X defense, where X is the number of Enchant stacks. Ideal Dancer play encourages punishing your rivals for taking supposedly safe green islands while tactfully dispelling their Enchants before hitting a red island so as to not give them an advantage.
Because of this delicate balancing act, it’s important to have cards that both inflict and strip Enchant from both you and from other players. Cards like Volatility and Harvest Dance give you a modicum of control over your enchantments, while cards like Single Minded help you dump your own Enchant status when it’s no longer convenient. You can further boost this form of play by including cards that both benefit and punish players depending on whether or not they’re enchanted, such as Haunted.
Another way to play the Dancer is via her other unique status, Dance. During a Dance, you gain 1 coin for every coin that a player that is also in a Dance has gained, meaning that you can triple your gains from a single island! This comes at the downside of only affecting active players: the further along you are, and the more other players are clued in to your strategy of farming them via Dances, the less potent this tactic becomes.
Each class can also draw upon a pool of common cards that can be played regardless of class.
Don’t underestimate the strength of common cards. While they may not be as flashy or as hyperfocused on your strategy as your core class cards, you can use common cards to patch up any weaknesses that you may have, or give yourself easy access to useful effects like Defense buffs or healing.
Build (And Swab) Your Deck
All pirates need a deck, and by carefully honing your deck, you’ll have a well-oiled looting, backstabbing machine on your hands.
Each deck must consist of at least 15-25 skill cards. These are the cards you draw at the start of a round, and must either be class cards specific to each character, or from the pool of common cards. You can also include, at most, 2 copies of any card.
As with most deckbuilding games, I advocate the “less is more” approach. A smaller deck means you’re more likely to get the cards you need, when you need them.
No, the islands generated by the game aren’t random, in a manner of speaking. At the start of a game, the board is constructed from island cards found in each player’s deck, with 27 of those 40 island cards ceing used to set up the game board.
This means that apart from the 15-25 skill cards your deck, you must also construct a separate deck of 10 island cards: no more, and no less.
Apart from having an exact count rule, island cards have another restriction: your green vs red island cards must, at most, have a power difference of 3. To understand this rule, we’ll need to look at island cards (events) in greater depth.
There are two important things you need to look at when putting an island card in your deck: its power, located on the upper left, and its placement, denoted by the Roman numeral to the right side. The power, as I mentioned, is important in deck building. The higher the power of an island card, the stronger its effect will be – and the more expensive it is to put in your deck. The placement, on the other hand, determines during which round this card can appear as an island – so it’s I for the first 9 islands, II for the next set, and III for the final round.
Slotting island cards into your deck will tilt the power meter, as denoted by the number in a colored circle at the bottom of the screen. It’s best to think of this as a number scale, with green islands as positive numbers and red islands as negatives. Each card you slot in will tip the scale towards that side, so putting in Twin Vault tilts the scale to +3, while putting in a strong red island like Great Serpent tilts it to -3. Your 10 cards must end the scale from anywhere to +3 to -3.
While there is a modicum of randomness associated with whose island cards will be drawn, you can still try to game the system by putting in events that you can uniquely benefit from. Cards that Advance islands, for example, can be used in a deck that’s uniquely poised to take advantage of them, like Alchemist’s Geological Sample card that gives him 2 Hp, 40 coins, AND a card draw on a black island!
Getting More Cards
Your starting cards are well and good, but if you want to go toe-to-toe with pirate legends and snag that treasure for yourself, you’ll need to arm yourself with better cards.
Barrels are Journey of Greed’s equivalent of booster packs. These explosive surprises contain 5 cards per barrel, and can be redeemed as both prizes for leveling up, via daily quests, or can be bought with gold in the store.
Barrel come in multiple kinds: common barrels are part of the Adventure Pack, which contain 5 random skill cards, and 3 island cards (for the island variant). Pirate Packs are better boosters, which contain 5 skill cards of the class you select (tap the question mark at the bottom left of the table in the barrel screen to select who), and its island variant also contains 3 island cards.
The downside here is that while Adventure Packs can be bought with coins, Pirate Packs require Pearls, which are the gem’s premium currency. However, you will get quite a few Pirate Packs from your tutorial quests, as well as by completing character missions.
As you’ll get quite a few Pirate Packs from your first couple of hours, it’s important to find a class you like playing so that you can get more cards for them.
A more reliable way of getting specific cards is by crafting them. To craft cards, tap the crafting button on the upper right while in the deckbuilding screen.Crafting cards uses a single currency – vials.
In the crafting menu, you can not only craft new cards – with rarer cards being more expensive, of course – but you can also smash cards you don’t want to get more crafting materials. You can also tap the Quick Recycle button on the lower right to smash any cards you have extras of.
There are also multiple ways to get resources, such as the Training Camp, Daily Quests, level up rewards, login bonuses, and so much more!
You can access Trials, Daily Quests, and level up rewards via the tavern screen. Look out for a telltale red dot on any of these tappables: that means that there’s a prize waiting to be claimed. The Training Camp, on the other hand, is accessible through the lower right panel. It’s through these tasks that you get more gold for barrels and more vials for crafting.
The Training Camp is where you unlock new pirates, as well as claim your level up rewards for each specific class. This not only gives you gold and crafting vials, but also gives that class some useful starter cards!
No two games of Journey of Greed are ever the same, and it’s up to you to determine your own playstyle. Benevolent mate, or backstabbing opportunist? Heal, or harm? Help, or hinder?
That concludes my beginner’s guide to Journey of Greed, and I hope I was able to help you get your bearings and score some loot for yourself. If I missed anything, or if you have any tips of your own, let me know in the comment section!