Review – Summoner Wars from Plaid Hat Games

Review – Summoner Wars from Plaid Hat Games, designed by Colby Dauch

Please note that a review copy of this game was provided by Plaid Hat Games

Boy, there are a number of up an coming companies and designers out there. It is great to see this especially in these tough economic times and it bodes well for our wonderful hobby!

Colby Dauch of Plaid Hat Games has come up with an interesting game which has drawn a lot of attention in the gaming world called Summoner Wars. Taking a bit of a different approach for a collectible card game, he has taken the genre and translated it into a battle game. There is a collectible element in that you can add expansions with new races. I played the Phoenix Elves vs. the Tundra Orcs.

The game for 2 players aged 9+ comes with 2 decks of cards, one for each army and a paper grid board to regulate movement like a miniatures game. Each army comes with a Summoner who you must destroy in order to win as well as champions, common troops, special army events, wall cards and a turn reference card. The troop cards tell you the Attack Value used in combat, Summon Cost used to summon reinforcements, Special Ability details, Range Symbol for ranged attacks, Unit Name, Unit Type, Life Points to kill em, and Character art which is reasonable but not spectacular. Event cards bring specail things that each player can use. Wall cards are where the summoned troops arrive. The Battlefield board is a simple, blank 6×8 grid where you set up your starting force on each half.You can order a nicer Premium Board direct from Plaid Hat Games.

The rules are exceedingly simple with a turn sequence of Card draw, Summon reinforcements, Play event cards, Movement, Attack, Build Magic – where you put cards from your hand and defeated enemy cards in a stack to build up magic points to spend on reinforcements that you have kept in your hand to deploy to the fight.

Gameplay

I was amazed that this game was so simple to play. Great thing is that I really didn’t have to refer to the rulebook once I’d read through them and got past the first turn. That is rare and a good sign of a game that will be all about the playing and not working on rules and exceptions, etc. Choose your hand, consider future forces to summon, move and fight, all in the name of getting to grips with the other guy’s Summoner and nailing him. Combat is very simple and most troops are 1 shot kills so you churn through the fodder.

Movement is limited to two spaces so this game isn’t a game of maneuver as much as plodding to the fight. And that’s a quibble. I would have thought Elves could move faster than the heavyweight Orcs so that is an issue for me. Each army has its differences so it is a case of playing and figuring out the best combination to hit the enemy. The terrain is bland and has no effect and here again is another quibble for me. More terrain cards would have been useful and added to the variety and choices.

I look forward to playing with other armies which include a Guild Dwarves vs. Cave Goblins set plus packs for Vanguards and Fallen Kingdom factions.

Did it work for me?

Well my quibbles are there. Not major quibbles but enough for me to consider this game very good, but a missed opportunity to be great. Summoner Wars is really good fun. Fast, sleek, gazelle-like in-fact. The simple mechanics is very much to my liking in a quick no-brainer game. A slugfest with enough variety, strengths and options to keep you on your toes although I would have liked a bit more.So overall, its good fun and a nice take on CCG’s. For a small game in a small box, this is good value.

Boardgames in Blighty Rating – 6.5 out of 10

Family friendly?

Yes. The age range is right. Good as a gateway to CCGs and fantasy combat.

For more information about Plaid Hat Games go to – http://www.plaidhatgames.com/

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