Mike’s Magic Reviews: Card Wars
Fun, vibrant, and true to the TV-Show
Poorly executed, overly simple, poor quality. Very pricey for what you're getting
First thing’s first: No, this is not a MTG review but basically Wizards haven’t sent me any goodies since Theros so I can only assume they hate me and will be taking them off my Christmas card list. SO for the time being I will be reviewing any card games I stumble across under Mike’s Magic Reviews purely because It has a cool logo.
Anyway, most of you know that Adventure Time is one of my many vices. GP readers seem to agree with an AT article being the #1 most-read article on the site, which is pretty darn cool. I was hyped about the release of a Card Wars game for a long time and have had to wait for 6 months for the game to reach a place I could get to it and actually demo the damn thing.
IT’S LIKE THE TV IN MY HANDS! It’s pretty cool that you can physically hold the cards as they appeared in the on-screen game. The combat system is the same as the show, as in a turn-based lane . The art is the same, the box is a little flimsy and has an unnecessary hatch opening (as opposed to the normal slide opening) . There are also some weird counters that, even after reading the equally baffling rulebook , I still didn’t understand the purpose of. The colours are vibrant to the point of seeming childish.
The concept of the game is really simple; you have two action points to spend each turn, which you can use to summon monsters, play spells , or draw another card. You then attack the opposing lane, dealing damage to the occupying monsters or the player if the lane is unoccupied. The first to reduce their opponent’s life from 25 to 0 wins.
The games typically last 15-20 minutes and is fairly balanced in terms of force strength between the Finn Deck (who uses blue “plains”) and the Jake Deck (who uses green “cornfields) . Combat is hard to track, but easily rectified if you add a few D6s to track damage.
Room For Improvement:
The combat system seemed a little staid, and due to being quite a regular tabletop gamer I decided to add a d6 combat role into every exchange:
6: Critical (double damage)
The gameplay could really do with a customisation aspect. Initially you could run two dual colour (plains/corn) decks, but it will still be pretty balanced. The game is crying out for boosters and expansions (there is a BMO/Lady Rainicorn expansion already) but as there are no rarity indicators on the current cards there dosen’t seem to be any plans for this to happen. The main problem is that the game can’t really get more complicated unless you add more lanes. It would be really cool to see dual lane monsters or dual colours. This game seems to be geared specifically for children, and as with most Cryptozoic games. they seemed to have missed the mark a little.
The game would benefit by taking a page from the video game’s book. The Android/Apple game is a big hit, with slightly more complicated rules and a deck building mechanic that feels bespoke. If the physical game could do this, then there could be some longevity. The price (currently £20-25) really needs looking at as well as 120-card MTG dual decks are cheaper, and better.