Holger Schmid
Germany
Koblenz
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“Strife – Legacy of the Eternals” or “Trying to get in your opponent’s head”

Admittedly, the background story and theme of “Strife” is not very new and exciting: it is all about a battle for supremacy in a fantasy world. However, the idea behind this card game is equally simplistic and brilliant. As I’m always searching for small original approaches that pack lots of play in a small game, let’s find out why “Strife – Legacy of the Eternals” actually is something special.

Overview:
In “Strife- Lengacy of the Eternals” each of the two players commands an identical party of 10 heroes and tries to win numerous battles. These battles are fought in different locations with special effects and varying point values for the winner of the battle. One round lasts until all hero cards have been played and after three rounds the player with the most points is the winner.

Gameplay:
During a turn, both player simultaneously chose one of their hero cards to play face down. Afterwards, the cards are revealed and the strength of the characters is compared. The player with the higher total strength will earn the points of the contested land and the next land will be the location of the next fight. That is basically everything about the rules that is important to know. The tactical depth of this game comes from special battle (when played that turn) and legacy (when at the top of your discard pile) abilities of the heroes and strength manipulation effects associated with the contested lands.


Some examples of hero cards: These gorgeously illustraed card show the strength of the heroe as well as the corresponding battle and legacy ability.

Special note:
Especially the combination of battle and legacy abilities can twist things up: each card lets you manipulate the battle. First, the battle abilities are resolved and subsequently the legacy abilities. However, the sequence of activation follows the strength of the heroes and the most impactful abilities are on heroes with very low strength (e.g. the assassin which switch with your legacy hero sending a previously played strong hero into battle and then trigger his special legacy ability of boosting that new battle champions strength). Other cards like the knight let you mess with the battle locations e.g. move the fight to the next land which may boost the strength of the knight or at least will reward fewer points for your opponent if you cannot win the battle. It may take one or two rounds until you know each of the 20 hero abilities and what can be possibly blocked or countered in which way. This learning is yet just a small effort. During your first game you can already develop a sound tactical approach according to the lands displayed and your hand of cards. The central dilemma of this games is that it is quite easy to track the cards you and your opponent already have played, what is your legacy hero and what potential is still on each player’s hand. As a result, a fascinating tactical puzzle evolves that includes lots of double thinking and trying to outsmart your opponent. The climax of tension is always reached when each player has only three-four remaining card to play and the deduction process can predict many combinations. This is where you can shine with bluffs, double bluffs and triple bluffs – or just go for the obvious choice… In addition, ties are broken in a really clever way: one player starts with the fate dice (12 sided) turned to show “1”. This is one extra point in the end of the game but the owner of the fate dice also loses any ties. However, the owner of the fate dice can decide to increase the value on the dice by one and give it to the opponent to win the tie – but giving potential points away. Furthermore, you can spice up the game with remnants and events which will give benefits to the winner of battle but might be worth less victory points.


Some examples of beatiful artwork on the land cards: each location boosts the strength of a different character and is worthe a variable amount of victory points for the winner of the battle.

Résumé:
Learning and memorizing the 20 different abilities might sound deterrent but you don’t have to remember all at every point in time to have fun with this game. Especially when you can pull of a cool combo you will feel just great. This little very clever card game definitely rewards multiple plays (with the same opponent) because just like any Poker game, you will start to play your opponent and try to best her. So, when you are interested in tense bluffing and double thinking card games, this might be just the right thing for you.

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Chris Hamm
United States
Indiana
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Thanks for the awesome review of Strife: LotE! I am so glad you enjoyed it!
 
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Holger Schmid
Germany
Koblenz
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Lately, two player games hit the table rather seldomly (due to higher player counts) but Strife-LotE is still one of my favorites and I enjoy the duel of wits every time.
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Scott Bender
United States
Minneapolis
Minnesota
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I agree, this is a delightfully brain-burny game with a small footprint.
 
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