Letter of Marque, Warhammer: Invasion (game reviews)

Hi.  Haven’t been posting much lately.  Been kind of busy, but I’ve decided that the best thing to do is to create a schedule.  So let’s make it Tuesdays and Fridays that I will add something to this site.  Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.

Tonight, I’d like to write a couple of game reviews.  I don’t know this for certain, but I sometimes think I am among board and card games strongest celebrity afficianados.  Maybe not, but we’ll just pretend like I am.

The first game I want to mention is Letter of Marque by Fantasy Flight Games.  (http://www.fantasyflightgames.com)   This is a light game with elements of bluffing, strategy, and memory.  It’s part of Fantasy Flight’s Silver Line games.  These are games that come in small boxes, easy to transport, usually very easy to teach.  These are casual games that are easy enough for non-gamers to enjoy with enough depth to keep more hardcore gamers interested.

Every player gets five small plastic ships.  Three of those ships are defenseless blanks on the bottom.  The other two have cannon icons on their bottom.  Each player is trying to transport as much treasure as possible across the dangerous oceans while also attacking vulnerable opposing ships.  It’s a game of bluff and counter-bluff with an element of memory thrown in for good measure.

Perhaps Letter of Marque’s greatest strength is its speed of play.  While the suggested play time is 30 to 45 minutes, this seems like a great overstimation.  I’ve played this game with anywhere from 2 to 5 people.  With 2, it’s over in less than five minutes.  With 5, it took only 10 minutes to complete a game.  Even if you have one or two indecisive sorts in your gaming group, this game should never take more than 20 minutes.  And I still think that’s a stretch.

This is an excellent filler game for a serious gaming group.  It’s also an accessible game for non-gamers.  FINAL VERDICT:  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Next up is WARHAMMER: INVASION by Fantasy Flight Games again.  This is a card game based on the popular Warhammer Fantasy miniature warfare game.  I’ve never played that.  It’s just way too expensive a hobby for me.  And I don’t like putting models together and painting them.  I just want to open the box and start playing.

The card game isn’t a direct translation of the game.  Rather, it’s the same theme, same ideas repackaged in a fun and original card game.  Warhammer: Invasion is a living card game.  This is a term used by FFG for its expandable card games.  Living card games are meant to give casual players an enjoyable experience and allow more serious players the options of deck building and new content that more traditonal collectible card games allow. 

LCGs are basically the Heroscape of card games.  You get a complete game in the box, but you can get new cards with the release of booster packs.  You don’t buy blindly either.  No randomization here.  In addition, Warhammer: Invasion is the first game FFG specifically designed with the LCG in mind, and I think this shows in the game.

The card game, just like the miniature game, is all about battle.  To win, you have to burn two zones of your opponent’s capital.  Each zone serves a different purpose.  You have your Kingdom where you gain resources needed to pay the cost to play cards.  You have your Quest zone where you can deploy cards to help you increase your cards drawn per turn.  And you have your Battlefield where you send your army to fight the good fight.

The zones and their functions are one of the things I really like about this game.  In most games of this sort, all cards have very specific purposes.  You summon minions to attack your opponent and draw resources in a very rigid way.  Not so here.  Most of your units can be deployed in any zone.  Need more resources?  Send your warriors to your kingdom.  Want to discourage your opponent from attacking your Quest zone?  Throw some more dangerous units in the way (as well as getting more cards into your hand per turn along the way).

If it all sounds a bit complicated, rest assured that it isn’t.  The game is well-designed and surprisingly accessible.  The full color rulebook spells everything out clearly, and this is another one of those games that I think can achieve a wide group of casual and serious gamers.  I don’t really know much about Warhammer or its universe other than it has a faction composed of marauding ratmen and that if I played Warhammer, that is totally who I would be.

Warhammer: Invasion gets another Highly Recommended Verdict from me.  It’s a solid game out of the box, and the addition of regularly scheduled booster cards means collectible card gamers can enjoy their regular shot of new content without having to feel bad about it.

So two more game reviews in the can.  Hope you enjoyed them.

Fighting the good fight, Writing the good write,


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