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The Binding of Isaac Gearing Up to Become a Tabletop Card Game

Jack Gardner



The Binding of Isaac has released in several different versions across a staggering number of gaming devices over the years. Now, it is making the leap from digital to physical with The Binding of Isaac: Four Souls. Edmund McMillen, the developer behind The Binding of Isaac, launched the project on Kickstarter with the help of Studio 71. The game found itself fully funded in only an hour and a half. It currently sits at about $865,000, more than 17 times the base cost of creating the game.


It seems like Four Souls plays somewhat like a darker, more competitive version of Munchkin. Up to four players take turns fighting monsters and gaining treasure. Occasionally, boss monsters will be pulled and players who defeat them will harvest their soul. The first player to reach four souls wins the game. Of course, other players can help or hinder the defeat of a monster, so while cooperation might dominate the early game, the final soul will be a truly tricky prize to obtain. Optional rules add in bonus souls for players who are able to save up enough money or horde enough items.


McMillen stated that the game ideas came to him and to an extent some of the cards and systems are still in flux. He's been trying as best he can to translate the varied mechanics from The Binding of Isaac into a card game, no small task for a game that has seen expansion after expansion that have kept fans coming back over the past seven years. "It was really fun to take a well known item or monster from the game and think up ways to convey stuff like, How could I show that the carrion queen takes damage when you hit her butt?" said McMillen, "Or how could I represent the rng aspects of cursed floors or troll bombs only using a deck of cards?" 



At least part of the answer to that question seems to have involved creating a large number of cards to represent the various monsters and mechanics of the digital game. The Four Souls comes with several hundred cards, with additional character and ability cards unlocking as reward tiers are passed and backer challenges are completed. One of the most recent challenges involves nine people finishing the first boss on camera while blindfolded. Those who back the game at $35 or higher can receive an expansion pack bonus of 68 cards, pushing the number of cards close to 400. 


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