Invasion!

Posted: June 27, 2010 in gaming
Tags: , ,

Former King o’ Games HRH What If? intended to spend this past weekend camping with his family, but they were frozen out of campground reservations. So we invited them to camp at our new San Marcos house … it’s the equal of most campgrounds with 3/4 of an acre of land, a pool, a hot tub, a grill, showers, power, bathrooms — why not, What If?

So Mr. Keefer and his family descended on us for the weekend. I sent out a call for a game day, and while we did manage to get in a couple hands of Warhammer: Invasion

… most of the weekend was consumed with an invasion of a different kind, namely chasing kids around the backyard and in and out of the pool …

… which was fine, as I was still kind of gamed-out from the Geekend in any case.

But since this is a gaming blog, I’ll post a bit on my feelings about Warhammer: Invasion.

Warhammer: Invasion is a “Limited Card Game” from Fantasy Flight Games. A “LCG” is kind of like a “Collectible Card Game” without so much collecting. Basically it has CCG mechanics and allows for deck building, but cards are sold in fixed packs and the emphasis is on casual play with pre-built decks. This is the perfect format for me, as I enjoy CCG mechanics but I don’t care for card collecting and deck building unless I’m part of a big group playing a game (which just doesn’t happen any more).

I’ve never much liked the Warhammer world but I starting warming to it after playing Chaos In The Old World as the Petit Geekend several weeks ago. Reviews indicated this might be the shake-out-of-the-box CCG I’ve been seeking so I decided to give it a go.

I’ve grown to quite love the game. Warhammer: Invasion is my most-played game of the year, and even after several matches with Tom this weekend, I am eager to play again. I’m so enthused for the game that I even broke my “never expand” credo and bought the elves expansion (and was rewarded with some memorable games right away, especially a Sunday morning epic with Tom which saw my Dwarves barely outlast his Dark Elves in a game that went down to the last draw).

There are dozens of detailed reviews of this game on the web, so I will concentrate on what I like about the game, without really explaining how it works. Effectively, it is CCG 2.0 … it has the vibrant and thematic play of a CCG, without a thousand little patch rules and the blizzard of errata found in a more mature system. The game has high-level strategy (manage your mix of resource generation, draw rate, and soldier spawning), and plenty of tactical detail (decide which of three targets to attack, manage attacks and defense, work your combos). The races in the basic box (plus the elves in the expansion) all have distinct theme and feel. The game plays smoothly with a minimum of grit, and while there are only two ways to win (smash enemy walls or run out his deck), there do seem to be different paths to getting there.

The only downside I see right now is that the game does seem to lean pretty heavily toward “rush” decks … but that being said, I’ve still played several games that were decided by deck exhaustion. The game also lacks multiplayer rules, but it’s easy enough to play with “attack left, defend right” or something similar.

No stinkers in the factions, either. I’m partial to Dwarves but I’ll play any faction … Chaos is also a lot of fun, with their corruptions and hideous monsters. I like the Orcs for blowing things up, and the High Elves are monstrous if they get the right cards out, quickly healing what little damage you can poke through their invulnerable positions.

Tremendous game, want to play it again right now …

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Comments
  1. Dave says:

    One thread on bgg suggests supporting multiplayer by requiring you to destroy one of *each* of your opponents’ walls for a win and removing deck exhaustion as a win condition. Looks like there are several expansions out already too.

  2. goldenboat says:

    I wouldn’t want to lose deck exhaustion as a victory condition. Some of the best games I’ve played have come up against that hard wall of drawing your last card, and it makes for a memorable conclusion.

    The wording of the cards clearly leaves the door open for a multi-player version. It’s anyone’s guess why FFG hasn’t yet published multi-player rules.

  3. Dave says:

    How many neutral cards come with the basic set? Enough that you could just play two games in parallel, possibly borrowing cubes from some generic Euro for a second set of tokens? I vote blue for resources, black for damage, and red for burnination!

    • goldenboat says:

      I think the basic set has 24 neutral cards, and the rules call for ten neutral cards to be added to a deck at random prior to the game. If you try to run two games at once you will be down to six neutrals per deck, which wouldn’t be the end of the world. Base set neutrals mostly seem to impact resource generation and draw rate, some of them are pretty critical cards.

      • Dave says:

        Do any of the combat packs include neutrals? Did the elf expansion have any? Just curious.

        • Paul O'Connor says:

          I believe the battle packs make extensive use of neutrals. The Skaven are a neutral race and they are introduced entirely through the expansion decks.

          The Assault on Ulalah includes the High Elf deck, Dark Elf deck, more neutral cards, and more cards for each of the races in the core box. The core starter box also contains a smattering of Elf cards to introduce those races.

          The new “big box” expansion announced a couple weeks ago features Lizardmen and Undead, but they’re both positioned as neutral races, rather than as Order/Destruction races like the six factions introduced so far (which I find disappointing — this pushes the game more toward deckbuilding and away from the pre-constructed deck play that I prefer).

          • Dave says:

            I was reading a card spoiler list on bgg… “Troll Vomit” says”Destroy all units in play,” what a nasty card!

            • Paul O'Connor says:

              It does destroy ALL units — so you have to use it at the right time — but that card turned around a game for me. Keefer’s Order deck had me on the ropes — one wall burning, another at six damage, and I just had nothing. Troll Vomit wiped out about a half dozen Empire cards that were kicking my ass, giving me time enough to get my feet under me, build up a defense, and start to counter-attack. I ended up winning that game by deck exhaustion but neither of us were really sure how it happened. One of the best games of Invasion we have experienced.

  4. […] than two players could use an “attack left, defend right” paradigm.  Component cost rears its ugly head again though; I’m hoping to sell the game for […]

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