The other day I was thinking about my 2-player game collection… Abstracts, Euros that scale down well, Euros that don’t scale down too well, Longer war type games… I felt like I was missing a really killer and short two player game. Something with theme. Obviously the fact that I thought my already too big collection was missing something means something is not right with me.
As I pondered, I recalled one of my favorite Shut Up & Sit Down episodes and a game they had reviewed therein…
More pictures and first impressions after the jump!
I don’t know why it has taken me this long to warm up to the idea of this game. Possibly because Manoeuvre fills sort of the same ludological space or possibly because I’m not sure how my group really feels about orcs and goblins. That said, I started watching Game of Thrones and who cares how they feel about orcs and goblins I love them. I also really want to bring the Sand Goblin faction with me to Marrakesh and make Julie play this with me so I can post sweet desert pictures.
I had some time today so I opened up two packs (Sand Goblins & Tundra Orcs), set up the game and tried to suss out the (relatively short and simple) rules. For those of you who haven’t watched S1E3 of SU&SD (And, honestly, do it. Pipe Down & Take A Chair is such a hilarious bit), the game Summoner Wars is a bit like Chess meets Cosmic Encounter with a heavy serving of fantasy goodness.
There’s probably a little bit of Magic: The Gathering thrown in here as well but without the random packs of cards. That could be another reason why I was hesitant to pick this one up: the customizable and collection aspects of it. Now, however, I am seeing it as a boon. When my inability to deal with the modern world compels me to be a capitalist consumer, I can buy a small faction deck and add it in to the box thus satisfying my need to have the FedEx man visit and satisfying Jeff’s requirement that new games I buy be smaller than a deck of cards.
Obviously I will never actually try to meet Jeff’s requirement. I am a sucker, it’s true. So I played a few turns and the game has a nice flow and easy mechanics that hang together well. There is certainly some text but since most of your common cards will have the same text it’s easy to remember. Activating the special powers gave me a case of the evil giggles and I can just imagine Jake’s snorts of exasperation if I were to freeze his summoner (That is legal, right?).
It remains to be seen how my merry band of Ludocrats reacts to the highly thematic nature of the game. I’m worried it may not be anyone’s cup of tea but it’s short enough and easy enough that I’ll probably be able to convince everyone to play it once. Until then, I will just have some fun going through the decks and laughing at the silly names. ‘Til next time!