Saturday, March 31, 2012

Warhammer: Invasion Review

My 3,000 logged play was Warhammer: Invasion, which had to happen, since I've played it over a 150 times in the past year. It's crazy to think that I've played it that much, obviously I like it, let me tell you why you might too. This is a continuation of my Every 100 Plays Series, in which I review whatever game happens to be my multiple of 100 plays. Eventually, I'll get a webpage or blog or something to hold them all.

It's a Living Card Game
Yes, this is a collectible game, but it isn't a CCG in similar way that say Magic: The Gathering is, rather you know exactly what cards you get when you buy battle packs and (except for the first cycle) you get 3 copies of each card so your deck can be complete. I like this for several reasons. First, not only do games like this take quite a bit of money (less so I believe with the LCG format), but they take a lot of time looking at cards, building decks, play-testing decks, and understanding the game better. Since you don't have to worry about trading cards, there is essentially no secondary market, you can spend your time actually building and playing your decks.

It's Got Tough Decisions
As a board gamer I think the big reason that this game appeals to me, is the decisions that have to be made. Not just playing a card from your hand, there is that same decision in every card game, but it is the decision of where to play the card that makes this game different and enticing. There are three different zones in Invasion and according to where you play a card and how you play that card changes what that card does for you. If you play it to your kingdom, then you'll get more resources to buy things. If you play it to your quest, you can draw more cards. If you play it to your battlefield, then you can use it to attack with. Then add to that decision, the opportunity to play cards face down as developments (makes it more difficult to destroy that zone) and you have some great decisions to be made throughout the game.

It's Quick
More and more this becomes a reason for me to like a game. When I'm playing with my friend, who knows the game through and through, we can get about 6-8 games in over 2ish hour period while sitting in McDonald's and sipping some sweet tea. There is the occasional game that happens, when both players are playing with control decks that might take 30-45 minutes, but for the most part every game is 15-30 minutes long. Why is this good? Well, for a game like this, where there is more of a learning curve, it is better to be able to beat a new player and then quickly start over, rather have him or her have to invest in a 1-hour card game and not have time for redemption.

It's Competitive
I'm not exactly a collectible card game guru. For tow or three years in the early 2000s I did play Lord of the Rings: TCG a whole bunch and I loved it! I loved it for the theme, but I really think I enjoyed it for building my decks and competing against the other players. Not only competing against them in the actual game, but trying to know and understand what deck types I can expect to see and how to best build my deck to beat all those types. Invasion gives me that same feel that I had then and I'm glad I got into it.

Final Thoughts
If you aren't into deck-building, I think you could get the Core Set and Assault on Ulthuan and enjoy the game a whole lot, just playing with the pre-built decks and changing things up by drafting or using different neutral cards. I'd suggest this game for a more serious gamer though, if you are wanting to get into the deck-building competition scene, even if you just want to build decks that your friends can play against you. Warhammer: Invasion scratches that CCG itch for me, without being completely a CCG. I've found it to be popular among board gamers and with the way it plays and the decision you have to make where to physically place a card, I can see why!

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