Order, Chaos, Destruction, and Death, all four nations lived in harmony until the fire nation attacked <needle scratch/>.
No that’s not right; lets start again.
Back in 1993 whilst Richard Garfield; no wait .. lets go back, further back; at least another decade to the Eighties. When shoulders were padded and hair was stacked ,and well before Crocket and Tubbs rolled up their sleeves. The year is was 1983 and Rick Priestley, working at Games Workshop, was going to change the bedrooms, and backrooms, of teenagers up and down this green and pleasant land. The world of Warhammer arrived and transformed table top miniature wargaming. It would soon spawn a series of expansions and ideas which lead to a grim dark universe; this is not that story.
Jump forward a good 35 years and the World of the Warhammer continues; born anew in the recent rise of creativity which leads us to the Age of Sigmar and with it table top skirmishes in the realms of Shadespire. Warhammer lives; it thrives and grows and it more recent incarnation as a collectible card game is something of a surprising delight to play.
Collectible card games have been around the block for a while; certainly Richard Garfield, and what is it with Ricks?, has lead us into new planes for worlds of wallet gouging experiences that are Magic the Gathering, and Netrunner. Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, Transformers, Star Wars, Star Trek, even Hobbits have all had a stab at finding new ways to gather dust on shelves after the strong initial interest. What sets Warhammer Age of Sigmar : Champions apart from those that have gone before is how well the physical card game has integrated with the mobile app environment.
Indeed before talking about the game, lets talk about the Mobile Experience, which allows you to play the card game with little to no investment, outside of phone contracts and smart phone, what makes for a game changer is that physical cards purchased in booster packs can be scanned into your game; adding to a slowly growing collection an can exist along side similar virtual purchases. In place of two separate libraries one virtual, one part of my real world, I can with some planning assemble and test out deck designs in a virtual space against other players and then, share those deck assemblies with other players or give myself the ability to build a physical deck.
Game play wise the experience will familiar to many collectible card game players; the experience of drawing, rotating, revealing, and resolving turn order are terms most may already be familiar with. Unlike CCGs that have gone before though; you do not feel overwhelmed by a potentially unlimited supply of cards and history or categorisations of game play terms and experiences. The game feels as accessible as its table top miniature counterparts.
- Players select 4 champions, and 4 blessings which will remain hidden until certain actions are resolved for each champion to complete their ‘quest.’ Those actions may be casting spells, playing abilities, dealing damage or gaining health, or possibly adding or removing units to the table. These quest actions require a deck of 30 cards consisting of Units, Spells, and Abilities; and assembled with thought as to how they benefit your champions and their quests can make a difference to your custom decks design results.
The game plays quickly and creates a feeling of progress and learning as you refine a custom deck and play it again against an electronic opponent or a real world player. AOS:Champions feels like a balanced game which has a simple entry point in offering a series of prebuilt decks for each faction e.g: Order, Chaos, Death, and Destruction. This makes for easy to understand player options from which to build an army and see how it performs.
If there were any gripes it would be that there can be a certain inevitability in seeing your own health points dwindle in the face of a strong opponent from which the time it might take to recoup and recover are limited as you move from 18 to 4 points of health after a turn and you realise that by the next turn it is unlikely you can avoid the inevitable crushing defeat; though as I have mentioned those experiences are learning experiences which make you reconsider your choices.
Once interesting excursion in the ownership of select starter decks and certain limited edition booster packs is the presence of ‘Booster’ cards which can be scanned and claimed by a player. If that same card is later scanned by another player then virtual points are awarded among those players which may unlock items or further cards. It cant be stressed enough just how well the mix between virtual and physical elements has been built so that as a player you are drawn to share and play in both experiences without a feeling that you have lost anything in that interaction.
Would I, Redhack, recommend you look into it? I would say if the World of Warhammer, the pull of collectible card games grabs you then you will find a amiable companion in either the mobile app or the physical card game. If physical miniatures or complex and crunchy game elements are you draw then pass over this game.
And may the odds be ever in your favour!