Thursday, March 15, 2012

Summon Some Fun

Master of fun
Today is an exciting day for me. The newest releases of the Summoner Wars line arrived at my local gaming store and are patiently awaiting me.

Summoner Wars is a great game from the kind people of Plaid Hat Games. It takes the fun and tactical strategy of a traditional miniatures game but condenses it in a deck of cards.

Each player takes the role of a summoner in one of the games many factions (currently 16 available). Using the deck as a resource, the players leads an army of their units along a gridded battlefield in an effort to strike down his opponent. Last player with their summoner left alive wins.

The gameplay is extremely easy and broken down into six easy steps. First the players draws back to five cards in his hand. Then, using a pile of discarded cards called the 'magic pool', he summons new units onto the board. He can then play any event cards which will either buff his own creatures or hinder his opponents. The next two phases are movement and attack, in which any three units can perform those actions. Finally, the players can choose to discard any number of cards into the magic pool. Sacrificing weaker cards to hopefully bring out stronger units in later turns.

The brilliance in the game lies in its simple gameplay but wide diversity of factions and play styles. Some factions rely on brute force and charging into combat head first. Others rely on keeping distance and sneaky tactics to move swiftly around the board. The two newest factions add further variety and chaos to the board.

The Mercenaries hinder their opponent ability to summon and have special cards that allow their units to appear  almost anywhere on the board. The Filth's units all start off as weak creatures but can mutate into giant monstrosities with longer reach, the ability to fly or even deal massive damage.

Also released recently was the reprints of the original two starter games, Phoenix Elves vs Tundra Orcs and Guild Dwarves vs Cave Goblins. My first experience was playing my FLGS' copy of the Elves/Orcs set so I'm looking forward to finally having a copy of my own.

For the sake of completion, I should also mention that the Talaya's Spirit and Piclo's Magic reinforcement packs were also released. These reinforcement packs offer more cards for the factions so that a customized deck can be built. I haven't gotten into this aspect of the game yet and I don't foresee doing so for a while. The factions are extremely well balanced as is and I would hate to start messing with that too much.

This is a fantastic game and I highly encourage anyone to check it out. The newly reprinted starter sets are a great way to get into or you can go big and buy the Master Set, which comes with six factions and a deluxe board as opposed to the paper one in the normal starters. Either way is good and you'll eventually find yourself with everything anyway.

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