SummaryIf you know Poker hands you can enjoy this.
The GoodWhat makes a good, casual turn-based strategy game? There are some good answers here. During each turn, you never have to think too much. The options in any single turn are quite limited. However, there is still a VERY big difference between a good, strategic play, and a bad, careless play. Typically you'll realize a mistake right after you make it, and feel bad about it. This is what a good turn-based strategy game should make you feel.
The RPG elements mean that you become stronger over time. This is not acheived through leveling up and experience points. There are no levels or experience points. The main way to become stronger is to buy stronger weapons. This is not one of those games where you earn so much money you'll never spend it all. This is a game where you may want to replay levels repeatedly to earn enough money to buy that next weapon.
The weapons aren't as strong as I would like them to be. Sometimes, you spend $20,000 on something that's only marginally stronger than the previous one. If you want something more powerful than that, wait till the next dungeon, or you won't have enough money. And more often than not, the new weapon deals more damage for certain poker hands, but deals LESS damage for other poker hands. For example, your old weapon could deal 50 damage if you're lucky to get a Four of a Kind. A new weapon will possibly deal only 10 damage for the same hand (Four of a Kind). Why buy the new weapon at all, then? Because it deals significantly more damage in cases of a Flush, Full House and Three of a Kind. And these three are the main forms of attacks you'll encounter throughout the game.
The difficulty is mild, but there is a special type of monster that is quite hard to kill. These are side-quests in nature; you don't have to kill them, but doing so will reward you with exclusive items. Only the most experienced, smart and (sometimes) lucky player can kill these monsters. Once you do, it's an enormous feeling.
Luck is not a big factor in this game. Strategy and careful planning/observing are much more important.
The BadThere are two main weak spots in Sword & Poker II.
1. Incorrect/incomplete translation text and help text. Some descriptions of spells and items are wrong. The help system looks well-organized and well-presented, but some of the important info is absent. You'll have to discover those on your own. However, this requires some effort, and I believe that most players won't be able to discover them. A spell may be more powerful than you think it is, but you'll never find out.
2. Unbalanced weapons and spells. You'll be using mostly the same few weapons and spells through the game. The spells, especially, are poorly designed. The spells you get in the third and fourth dungeons are almost useless. Now, I'd really like to get more powerful spells as I progress further into the game, instead of less powerful ones that this game throws at you.
In addition to that, I didn't like the music and sounds. I didn't like the graphics. The characters look annoying. But those don't affect the gameplay, so I won't complain.
The Bottom LineBuy this for some exciting Straights, Full Houses and possibly Royal Straight Flushes. I got a Royal Straight Flush in this game, in the third dungeon, and I liked it. I miss it.