More cards, more rules, more tactics oh my!
More of Steve's amazing artwork.
Tokens! Magic tokens!
If you've not tried the more advances rules then this might come as a bit of a shock.
The Lords of War series has long been a pleasure of mine since it first charged screaming onto the battling card scene back in the crisp winter of 2012. With its straight forward and easy to teach rule set and spiffy artwork from Steve Cox it was an instant family favorite with myself and Ollie my eldest, we’ve clashed in many post tea time skirmishes and I’ve managed to sate that miniatures war game need without the hefty price tag. The series has continued with new factions, each slowly ratcheting up the tactics and rule depth, turning it from a light bite to a more substantial cheese ploughman’s. Its been great that as Ollie has grown he’s always had a new army and bunch of tactics to learn, its become something of a father son bonding rite of passage for us, before you get all dewy eyed the little shit keeps winning and its becoming very very annoying… anyway.
So now we have the latest incantation of Lords of War and in something of a deviation from previous sets, this one’s bringing the original Orcs & Dwarves up to date with the new units and of course throwing in a spicy meatball or two. So in this escalating arms race the old armies now have access to the Berserker, Cavalry and moving units giving them some much needed punch.
That’s all cool and adds some legs to those decks that were starting to feel a little outgunned when tackling the new armies, but Martin & Nick haven’t stopped there, of course they haven’t because they are like the Willy Wonka’s of playtime dolling out fresh new everlasting gobstoppers of gaming and so here we get some new stabby toys to play with. What’s this I here you ask, well we have these.
Yep new stuff, tokens. These are utilized by the new magic units, yep now we can cast spells. They come in a couple of different flavors, the Dwarves mystic arts kit comes with a neat Ice Shield spell that boosts the defense of an adjacent friendly or enemy unit and as with all the spells these effects can be stacked. The other Dwarf spell is a Frost Bolt that hits for one damage and says on the target effectively reducing its strength, do you see what they did there.
Not to be outdone the Orcs have similar new whiz bangs at their disposal, except being Orcs its of course destruction and mayhem inducing so they get a Fireball that functions the same as the Frost Bolt and then something very interesting the Berserk spell. This turns whatever unit it hits from a meek little happy go lucky chap into a Berserker. Beserkers were introduced in the last expansion and they are bug nuts, effectively they keep attacking leading a suicidal death charge across the field of battle until defeated or they run out of soft things to splat. Just for a moment imagine dozens of them?!?
Following hot on the heels of those new toys are the other new units. Both armies now have access to flying troops, these have the advantage of only being able to be damaged by the opponents flying troops or a ranged attack. Yep they can get to be very annoying and its an opportunity to reenact the end of the Lord of the rings.
And finally wrapping up all the shiny new are the Monstrous units. These terrifying lumbering behemoths have a hit modifier beside their shield value so that only troops who hit for that amount or above can damage them, one of these guys turning up at the wrong time in the middle of a bunch of weak ranged guys can be a very bad thing, and can be really really difficult to get shot off. Lucky we have those whizzy new spells.
So yep, for a small amount of additional units this sets packs a hefty wallop of new strategy and rules to absorb. Is it too much? Well that depends on where you sit on the Lords of War fence, if you enjoy it for the simple card game it originally appeared then chances are you’re not going to get the most out of this. It adds a heap more tactics that I’m still getting to grips with myself, and these might baffle players used to the more sedate earlier decks. It can still be used with the existing sets with just the basic rules and it has all the wonderful new art so for that reason alone its worth a punt. And frankly you need to man up and take the plunge, play the advanced rules or go home man, your done.
But for the rest of us who are now deeply addicted to the crystal meth like qualities of this series then what we have here is the Walter White, Blue Sky of Lords of War, this heaps a crazy amount of new ways to play, you can pretty much throw out the existing rule book as we are basically starting again at this point, this is like a whole new game.
For the price you pay to pick these up the value and replayability is off the scale, there really isn’t anything else out there on the market, it doesn’t look like other card games, it doesn’t play like them, this one is its own beast and it isn’t going to be tamed any time soon.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t show off the shiny Kickstarter cards that came with this set and rejoice that the second expansion for the Elves and Lizardmen is happening right now HERE or that they have hit the funding goal already or the tantalizing raft of add ons and stretch goals to make me do a happy dance.