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Subject: Warriors - The playable "Risk" rss

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Trencher for Life
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Warriors is Risk without the board, but doesn’t take eight kabajillion hours to finish an actual game. This card game distills the essentials of the boardgame into a portable, enjoyable format that can actually be played in twenty minutes.

Components: the cards have a nice satin feel, and the artwork is top notch, but they are stiffer than regular playing cards. This leads to border nicking and card creasing if one is not careful. Thumb up for artwork, thumb down for durability.

Game: Warriors is played in 3 rounds. The initial card draw is 11 cards per player. Any Attack cards that happen to be drawn for a hand are discarded and replaced. Wizards and Catapults are kept. Then, players play their cards face up, divided by Nation (Barbarian, Goblin, Elf, Troll, Dwarf, and Undead).

The round procedure is as follows: On Rounds 1 & 2, each player draws 7 cards, chooses 4, and discards three face down. On Round 3, all the discards are reshuffled into the main deck, each player draws 7 cards, and then just discards two face down.

The object of the game is to have the highest score. Players score two points for each enemy they kill. They can also aspire to get bonus points through amassing the largest Nation of a particular faction (ex: Having the most Barbarians). The scoring is as follows: Barbarians (11 points) Goblins (10 points) Elves (8 points) Trolls (7 points) Dwarves (6 points) and Undead (5 points). Players who tie with having the most of a particular Nation each score the bonus points.

Each of the cards has a military designation: Infantry, Archer, and Cavalry. Infantry cards are the mainstay of the Nations, for each Infantry card in a Nation, you receive one die for attack or defense (3 dice maximum for attack, 2 maximum for defense).

Archers affect the highest die roll by 1 (ex: 5 changes to a 6, a rolled 6 becomes a 7) if a particular Nation has the most Archers. If both armies have equal amounts of archers, there is no effect.

Cavalry allows a particular army to continue attacking other enemies, provided that that army has another card in the army to turn facedown to simulate “holding territory”. This procedure can be done as many times as desired, provided that the attacking army a) is successful in eliminating its target b) has additional cards in the army other than the Cavalry unit to turn face down to hold territory and c) has another legal target to attack.

The heart of this game is the attack cards, which come in two varieties: a Mercenary Attack card and a Regular Attack card. Each one works slightly different so I will describe them separately. The attack cards have a number in the upper right corner, indicating when the card will be resolved (lower numbers go first over higher numbers) and proffer “bonus” enhancements to your army.

Regular: The advantage of this card is that it enhances your army in a particular way, by giving you two bonuses, even though you don’t actually have that unit in your army.

For example, say you have two Infantry. The attack card has the bonus designation of Cavalry and Infantry. That means when you attack you will be able to roll three dice instead of two and you will be able to perform a follow up attack on another target, provided that you have an Infantry card to turn over.

The limitation on this Attack card is that while you can attack with an entire Nation, you are restricted in being able to attack another Nation of the same race, or the natural enemy of your Nation. (Ex: Elves can only attack other Elves or Trolls and vice versa. Barbarians can only attack other Barbarians and Undead, and vice versa.)

Mercenary: The advantage of this card is that it allows you to cobble together units from different Nations to form an army that can attack ANY Nation; it’s also the most flexible for follow up attacks if you include Cavalry in your army.

The things going against this Attack card are two fold. One, instead of two bonus enhancements like a regular Attack card, you are only gifted with a bonus Infantry enhancement. Two, the army size is restricted to the number listed after the Infantry enhancement, which will be either three or four. That means you will have a three or four unit army when you attack your target.

Attacks against an opponent are carried out just like the combat system in Risk, dice comparison with the high die (or dice) winning the conflict. Ties go to the defender. An attacker may call off his attack at any time or when he has completely eliminated the target of the attack.

The last thing to discuss is the two support cards, the Catapult and the Wizard. Catapults are essentially “Fantasy Scud missiles” in the game. You may only use them during an attack, even one you are not involved in. Combat halts momentarily to resolve the Catapult when they are announced. You then pick your target, roll a die, and hope for the best (the things only hit on a 4, 5, or 6. Hence, the reason why I call them Scud missiles).

Wizards act like “bunkers” in the game. A Nation under the protection of a Wizard is immune from attack as long as he stays in play. The only way to get rid of a Wizard is to bean him with a Catapult. Only then will the Nation being protected will be susceptible to attack. The downside of the Wizard is that they act like over-protective mothers and refuse their charges to engage in any fun, such as regular Attacks. However, you can take units from a protected Nation to form a Mercenary army.

The other limitation to both of these cards is that they are temporary. After a Round is completed, any Wizards or unused Catapults are discarded.

What I liked: The game plays very quickly, with most of the time being utilized in figuring out how to optimize your current Nations, as well as glancing over your opponent’s area to see which Nations are providing him with the most points or which Nation will offer the least resistance to an attack. Since army buildup is simultaneous, you sometimes have hard choices to make. Do I protect the Barbarian Nation with the Wizard or should I use their massed might for a devastating regular attack against their miniscule Undead Nation? Do I choose a Catapult to deploy to knock off a Wizard to open up a Nation to attack or do I use it to try and pop off a unit in a Nation so that I will get the bonus points at the end of the game?

What I didn’t like: Sometimes, as card games go, you will get a WHOLE LOT OF BUPKUS as an opening hand. There have been times I have been loaded down with three or four Catapults, a couple of Wizards and hardly enough units to comprise a majority of a particular Nation. It also sometimes happens that you will get a slew of Attack cards, when what you really need are additional units to populate your Nations. Or, you can have the opposite luck and need just one attack card to use all those Catapults you’ve been laden with, only to not get one. In a two player game, your only hope is that your opponent attacks you; or with more than two players, somebody attacks somebody else.

Luck of the draw can be mitigated somewhat by skillful play, but there’s no way in getting around having a horde of Catapults and not being able to use them. If there’s one thing I’d love to change is the attack card prerequisite.

The other problem with the game is that the rules aren’t very clear when it comes to timing issues for using Catapults. Who goes first? The attacking player? The defending player? The first one to blurt it out? What if each side has more than one Catapult? Do you alternate the rock chucking or do them all in a IGO/UGO manner? Fortunately, I use a little common sense and use the timing tricks I learned in combat resolution of Shadowfist.

Final result: This game is like crack to me. Fast, addictive, and fun. 8/10





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Dave Shapiro
United States
Milwaukee
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1. When we draw the initial armies, any attack cards are discarded so that every player has a legit army from the start.

2. Adding the Dragon Hordes expansion enhances the game.
 
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Trencher for Life
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Slidell
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qrux wrote:
1. When we draw the initial armies, any attack cards are discarded so that every player has a legit army from the start.

2. Adding the Dragon Hordes expansion enhances the game.


#1: Oh, yes, I know that rule. But, you still have a chance of being screwed by getting a lot of Wizards/Catapults and having no need for them (i.e. your opponents not having Attack cards).

#2: I have the expansion, but I haven't gotten around to playing it yet. It definitely looks as if it makes the game go "fantasy nuclear" with the addition of the Dragons. They look hard to beat.
 
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Don Riddle
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i haven't played the game much but i like it so far.
one thing i would say is that the Dragon expansion does not improve the experience, but worsens it.
this is because the addition of the dragons and their attack cards makes the card draw even more random. one game i played, i got four Dragon only attack cards with no dragon. how is that fun?

my two suggestions:
1) skip the expansion. especially if the game's randomness is a downside for you.
2) house rule: if you don't like your hand of cards at the beginning of a round, you may trade in the entire hand for a new hand minus 1 card. you can do this once.
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Andrew Rowse
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We didn't like the idea of not getting to attack at all, so added the option of playing one fewer card (and only non-attack cards) and then getting a random attack to use - flipping cards off the top of the deck until an attack was revealed.
 
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