Tuesday 3 December 2019

Board Game Reviews: God of War The Card Game

God Of War: The Card Game
Alex Olteanu and Fel Barros
Published by CMON (Cool Mini Or Not)
Review by Blake Harmer

In God of War: the card game, players take on the role of the Norns, powerful individuals from mythology, as they try different combinations of heroes and quests in order to stop Ragnarök.

Following their other Sony Licensed product of Bloodborne: The Card Game, CMON! Games now bring us God of War the Card Game, drawing inspiration from the most recent 2018 iteration of the series. However whilst they could have easily made a simple game knowing the game would still sell on the franchise name alone, there are actually some great ideas that separate this from other deck-building games.

Firstly on the presentation front, God Of War is very nicely laid out. There are plenty of sections in the box for the different cards and tokens and the quality of the tokens themselves are also functional and of fairly decent quality. The card is maybe not as good as Fantasy Flight’s stuff, but still good. A minor gripe is that the cards could be of better quality as they start to wear after extended use, however this can be resolved by sleeving them for repeated play. Another minor gripe is that the box is pretty big for what you get because of the nice presentation, so some people may not appreciate the packaging if space-saving is a key purchasing decision.

In terms of gameplay, you work co-operatively as different heroes from the 2018 game to work through different quests and scenes with the view of then fighting a boss at the end to win the game. What makes the scenes interesting is that monsters are shown in the scenes but by interacting with certain areas, or triggering areas through combat or other effects, parts of the scenes being flipped may give other boosts or change the way a monster acts. This leads to some scenes almost acting as a puzzle that has to be worked through to effectively take out a monster. One example of this is that in one scene you may have a monster with unlimited armour who thus cannot be damaged, but by triggering another event you can flip his card making his attacks do more damage at the cost of then being vulnerable to your attacks.

In addition, deck building is simple and effective as you can choose to gain cards that you share amongst your team each round, or remove a card from your deck to cull weaker cards. This, in general, works well. Even if you may not necessary decide to change or focus your build like you can in other deck building games such as Legendary, the main cards (attack, defend, boost and support) are in the interest of most players to have and use (unless you play as Mimir as he is purely a support character what with being a talking head and all).

Another big plus is that the game actually also plays very well as a single player experience with the cards and character sheets changing to balance for this and support characters like Atreus and Mimir can add abilities whilst you still play as Kratos as your main hero.

However, despite some of these great mechanics making initial playthroughs fun, I worry that the initial wow factor of some of the scenes and how they play out may wear off after repeat plays. That, and the fact there are only a handful and quests and bosses, makes me concerned that repeat plays will become an issue. However, if you are only breaking this game out occasionally your mileage may vary, it was just a concern when I consider the game's limited different set ups. This may improve if the game is supported and further expansions are added though.

Another big gripe is the rule book, which I found unclear in parts and had to keep referring to at crucial moments. While getting my head around the core mechanics, I found this frustrating at times. It’s not by any means the worst rule book out there, but it would benefit from an easy reference or even some errata in a future FAQ, maybe even referring to external sources and play videos for further clarification.

However, despite these gripes, I am really happy that CMON! Games have decided to design a deck-building game with some truly great ideas and created mechanics that feel true to the franchise and source material without relying on name recognition alone. Sure, I have some concerns about repeat play and only time will tell if I am proved wrong on that. However, this is still a fun game and recommended if you love God of War. 7/10

A mainstay on E14, Blake Harmer is that guy in your social group who's quiet for ages and then when he does talk, his comment sends the whole crowd into fits of hysterics. You know the person I mean? Well in this case, it's Blake.

For evidence of this, see The Crazy Train podcast or the E14 Gamecast, where Blake is hilarious.

Blake is a regular to the E14 Podcasts, and frequently appears on the Youtube channel. He doesn't use Twitter.

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