Warage Card Game

Game Overview: Acting as a single hero trying to survive in a world where wars have raged between Orcs, Elves, Humans, and Angles, you choose your path as either a Mage, Paladin, or Warrior by using the most powerful equipment, strongest magical spells, loyal helpers, and enchanted amulets you will need to defend yourself and defeat your opponents by reducing their hit points (HP) to zero.

Box Contents: For myself, I like to sort the cards into their different card groups so the game setup is quick and fast.  The box could have been better designed to help with this.  There is a plastic insert that can hold 4 groups of cards.  However, you have to lay them flat and nothing keeps them seperated so there isn’t an easy way identify where one type stops and the next one starts and they all get mixed together.  I considered trashing the insert and come up with my own solution but even doing that won’t work because the box is not tall enough to store cards on their side.  The box really is bigger than it needs to be as there is a lot of wasted space.

The cards themselves are excellent quality and I have no concerns in needing to sleeve them to protect them.

The art is very well done and multiple artists were used.  However, the art style is seamless across the different artists as they all use a similar style.

The only thing else included are three dice, the rules manual, a log to manually track you attack and defense levels, and what appears to be a HP tracker that is not listed anywhere in the rules manual or on the Kickstarter page.

Clarity of Rules: The glossy rule book is just four pages long and the first thing you will notice is that it is printed backwards from what you normally see.  The first page is actually the last page.  From there it is not clear if you are supposed to read the middle two pages next or the page that exists on the “front” page.

From here, there are typos that will be found and at times the rules are very vague and do not explain certain game situations very well where after reviewing the original Kickstarter page and other online resources, just had to make a decision on my own about how to play certain things.

A couple examples is that the Elf, Orc, and Angel get either a benefit or negative effect depending on the season you are in.  The rules simply tell you +1 or -1 and a picture of a die.  Does this mean it affects your die roll by either increasing or decreasing it by a single pip or does it mean you actually gain a die to roll or lose the only die you roll.  It just doesn’t say.

Another example is a Flash card that allows you to play it from your hand at anytime, even when it’s not your turn.  An action you can take is to sell your card to increase your HP and the rules say that you can do this in the same manner as a flash card.  However, there is a card in the game that allows you to sell your cards from your hand.  The rules never say that you can only sell cards that have already been put into play, so we were again at a point of trying decide what made the most sense for us since the rules just lack the clarity that is needed.

Game Play:  To start the game, players will choose the character race and class that they will be playing with.  For the race they can choose between an Angel, Elf, Dwarf, Goblin, Human, Merman, Orc, or Vampire.  They all have the same amount of 100 hit points you will be playing with.  What distinguishes them are symbols for each season (Summer, Winter, Fall, or Spring) that may come into play during the game and abilities they have during that particular season.

Along with that, you choose the class of your chosen character.  You can select between Warrior, Paladin, or Mage.  This selection determines a base defense, base melee attack, and base magic attack you have.  In addition, your selection will determine how many equipment and magic cards can be in play at any time.

The next step for game setup is to select at least 48 cards to add to your deck.  These can include amulets, equipment, flash, helpers, and spells cards.  The only restrictions are that you can only have one copy of an amulet card in your deck and are limited to three of the same cards across all other card types.

Amulets (25 Cards): Powerful items which limit the playing of a single amulet per round.

Equipment (156 Cards): Must be equipped before you can use them.  Includes head armor, body armor, single hand weapons (can equip two) or two handed weapons (can equip one).  These will typically increase your defense or attack levels.

Flash (99 Cards): One use items that can be played at any time.

Helpers (45 Cards): Animals, mythical creatures, or droids that posses their own defense, melee, or magic attack who fight along side you.

Spells (30 Cards): Cards that can be used during the magic phase.  When played, they become exhausted and can’t be used until the next round.

Each card will have a purchase cost and except for amulets, they will also have a sell cost.  Using either action will impact your overall HP.

Along with these, there is also a deck of 20 cards that determine the current season as the top card is revealed at the start of the game.  Certain cards you play along with the chosen character card will be impacted by the season.  The current season can change throughout the game.

Initially, players will draw five cards and then each round will draw two additional cards into their hand.  You take turns playing cards to the table.  To pay for them, you take the cost and subtract that from your current HP.  At any time, you can take a card that is in play and sell it by discarding it and using the sell cost to add to your HP.

The next phase of the game is melee attack for each player.  To determine your attack (buff), you use your base level melee attack from your chosen race card and increase that attack with any cards in play that increase the melee attack.  Finally, you will roll a single six sided die and add that to your results.  You will also have to take into consideration the current season to add to or subtract from your total attack.

You then compare this to your opponent’s defense.  The same thing occurs with them taking their base level, adding any cards that increase their defense, rolling the single die, and taking into consideration any changes due to the seasons.  The difference is how much damage to your HP is taken.

The same thing occurs during the magic attack, but can only be used if you have a spell card active and in play.  The main difference is that you can combine all of your spells together for one big attack or you can do separate attacks for each spell card that is in play and ready.

Finally, you can equip any additional cards before the end of the round.

One option that you have at the start of each turn, instead of drawing either of your two cards you can add the next card in your deck to your life pile.  By doing this, whatever the cost of the card you turn over, you increase your HP by that level.  You are limited to doing this five times during the game.  This is potentially an advantage because the selling price is always less than the cost to play an item, if you simply used the sell action. 

Whenever a player drops to zero HP, the game is over with the other being declared the winner.

While there are rules for more than 2 players where it is a free for all or playing as teams, it seems this game works best as a one versus one game.

Replay Ability: Because there are so many cards to choose from and if you are willing to take the time to experiment with different decks and strategies, the replay ability is very high.

Appropriate Audience: The suggested age level is 10+ and I think that is appropriate for this game.  The only concern I have is someone at that young age, how well they understand the strategy of building a deck from scratch?  But this can occur for anyone at any age.

What We Liked/Didn't Like: When I first started playing the game, initially I was not a fan of how the game played and the mechanics wrapped around it.  However, as I continued to play this more and more and started understanding how the cards could work together, my view of the game turned and I really started to appreciate it more than I ever expected.

The game really has some good ideas wrapped around it, especially with the aspect of having to spend HP to play cards from your deck.  At certain points of the game, you just can’t risk playing more cards because your HP level will drop too much where your opponent will easily win if you aren’t doing enough damage to kill your opponent then you may be forced to.

The same goes with increasing your HP.  If you put a card into your life pile, you lose out on it and won't be able to use it.  If you sell it from being in play, you lose access to potential attack or defense.  Just tough decisions to make.

There are a lot of different strategies available to you, simply by how you build your deck.  There are many things we have yet to try but see the potential whenever we are ready to try something new beyond the decks we have currently built.

While most of our games have been close, there is a point in every game you realize the game is over before you play through the final turn and its just going through the motions at that point.

With the game really growing on me the more I played it, it still has problem areas.  The issues with the rules document are noted above and I still am not confident that I am necessarily playing it correctly.  This by itself reduced our overall rating of the game.

An additional thing that should have been included with the game was a deck list.  When it was received new, four pre built decks were built for certain character races.  However, there was nothing provided on how to rebuild those decks once you wanted to go out and build your deck.  Thanks to Board Game Geek, eventually people were able to post what those original decks were.

It seems the starting deck size is too big.  The rules say you must have at least 50 cards.  Sometimes, we only get through 15 cards before the game is over.  To know if your deck even works, you will have to play it multiple times as you try and get those important cards out and into play.

Tracking of the attack, magic, and defense amounts and then calculating what your current HP is, is just down right tedious and takes way too long.  They provided a log book to keep track of things by pencil, but just seemed easier to track with something else.  The original Kickstarter page noted there was an IOS app to help you track this.  I am not sure if this is still available as I have an Android and nothing is available through the Google play store.

Add-ons/Other Releases: This game was originally released and funded on Kickstarter in 2013 and in 2017 Warage Cardgame: Extended Edition was successfully funded.  This included all the cards from this version and up to 700 additional cards, depending on the level the game was backed at.