Atlas Break

Game Overview: A deck building game set in a futuristic world where an accident has occurred on Earth’s orbital outpost and has been sent back to the now toxic home planet.  Players will be battling it out to see who can gain influence over this now broken world.

Box Contents: An oversized deck box holds all 109 cards, a folded up rules manual, along with a random poster that highlights the art being used within the game.

The card quality is amazing here.  The cards are much thicker than what you will find even from the biggest game publishers.  They do have black borders though which has started to show wear on them after just a couple of plays.

The art is equally amazing across all of the cards and each card is unique and all have their own flavor text, which was fun to read through.

Clarity of Rules: The rules document is a glossy single page (front and back) that is folded up so it can fit inside the deck box.  The rules are well done and make learning the game extremely easy.  Not a big deal for me but could be for others, the background of the game is not included in the rules to give the players a sense of the world they are playing in.

Game Play:  As is normal with a deck building game, each player will start with the exact same ten cards in their deck and they will be purchasing cards from a common market.  When cards are purchased, they are placed into your discard pile and will be available the next time you shuffle your deck and need to draw your next hand of cards.  Of the starting cards available, eight can be used as a single purchase cost and two can be used as a single attack.

Along with your deck, each player will select one of the four available champions.  These are characters that will give you a bonus ability when a card matching its color/ability is drawn into your hand.  The abilities available to be selected from are two health (influence), two purchase, two attack against your opponent, or two attack against a separate bounty deck.

The chosen champion cards is also used to help score your health track on two additional cards that go from zero to nine by aligning them up with each other.  Each player will start with 50 health.

After shuffling all of the cards together, the starting player draws five cards with the opposing player drawing six.

The game table is set up with a market of cards that you can purchase and add them to your discard pile.  One market pile will consist of ten cards that will produce 2 purchase power when it is drawn into your hand.  Five additional cards will be placed face up from the market deck.

Each card will have a cost which ranges from one to seven.  All character cards will also have a color/logo associated with it that is used to initiate your champion’s power when drawn into your hand.  In addition, each will have health value, attack value, or an ability that you can use when you draw it into your hand (draw additional cards or remove cards from the game).

You will also find barrier cards that when purchased and drawn into your hand, provide a specified shield defense to you that makes it more difficult for your opponent to deal damage to you.  These are played to the table and only one can be in play at once and for it to be removed and added back to your discard pile, your opponent must equal or exceed the shield value with attack cards being played and directed at you.

Finally, you will find ability cards that provide a one time use when played and then must be removed from the game and placed into the wasteland.

Once a card is purchased from the market, it is immediately replaced with a new card.

When playing cards from your hand, if they increase your health you adjust your health tracker accordingly.  When you have attack cards available, you have two choices.  You can attack your opponent and reduce their health, taking into consideration any barriers, or you can attack a shared deck called the bounties.  Each of these have a defense value and when defeated they will give you additional purchase, attack, or an ability on the turn.  The next card is then turned over as the next available bounty card.

Replay Ability: With the limited number of market cards, you will see all available cards within a couple of games which reduces the overall replay ability you will see.  However, with the open market it does add to the replay ability as the cards you add to your hand will be different each game.

Appropriate Audience: The game suggests 13+ and you can easily go younger than this.  Reading is necessary but there is nothing complicated with the game in any way.

What We Liked/Didn't Like: We are big fans of deck building games and I think this would be a good introductory game to someone that is yet to experience this gaming mechanic.  It is very easy to learn and to teach to others as it is using the standard deck building rules found in many other similar games.

As noted above, the card quality and art that you will see is better than some games being published by even the biggest publishers and we really enjoyed looking at the art and reading through the flavor text on the cards.

One aspect of the game play that we appreciated was the use of the bounty deck, where players have a common enemy they can battle either to improve the actions available to them on their turn or when they don’t have enough attack power to get to your opponent and you don’t want to waste the attack in your hand.

The thing that jumped out at us right away was how similar to the hugely popular Star Realms, another deck builder, that this was.  The bounty deck noted above was the one big difference between the two game mechanics.  However from its popluartiy and all of its extra releases, Star Realms has way more replay ability and extra things available from the multiple releases--if you have already have that game in your collection.

There were multiple concerns we had as we played the game more and more.  The champions each have a unique ability they can use once per turn if you have a card that matches the color of their champion’s power as explained above.  It felt like to us that only two of those make sense to have throughout the entire game (adding health and attacking your opponent).  For the others, at a certain point, you no longer want to purchase things as you want to cycle through your most powerful cards and using the attack bounty sometimes doesn’t even benefit you and defeating a card just to do that, potentially opens up a valuable card for your opponent.

It may have been our lighting but the red for the attacks and the orange for the purchase was just a little too similar and you would have to look very closely to make sure which was which.  While they both use a unique symbol to go along with the color, it would have been nice to see those be more prominent on the cards.

The scoring by having to use three different cards could have been done so much better.  It was just very clunky to do it this way and if you bump it just a little then you have to figure out what it was on.  Perhaps to address this, an app is available to help with scoring.  I attempted to use the Android version and I was running into issues with that as well.  The scroll dial rolls, kind of like a slot machine, and at times it was difficult to get it to stop on what you were wanting it to stop at.  Other times I would swipe and it would change to a different screen that I wasn’t trying to get to. Ultimately, we used our own scoring tracker.

We also noticed that there were cards that had the same abilities that cost different values.  It seems like they should have been the same purchase price.  One example was a barrier card where one cost six to purchase and gave six defense.  Another card cost four to purchase it and gave the same six defense.

Add-ons/Other Releases:  n/a

         
  **A review copy was provided to us.