All artwork copyright Awaken Realms and the respective artist
Okay, to start- don’t let the low ratings fool you. I actually really like this game. The biggest knocks are really just because it’s a brand new game so there’s only the two core decks available as of this writing. I look forward to seeing new decks published and how new and different factions affect the game. The gameplay is incredibly simple and straight-forward. The artwork is pretty cool and the cards have a nice finish to them. To compare it to a stripped-down version of Magic the Gathering is unfair but relatively accurate. Despite the simple mechanics there’s plenty of strategy and because you only get 34 cards (period. that’s it. 34.) the games are usually quick- about 20-30 minutes per game, give-or-take. Since this game is so quick and simple I’m pretty much going to go through the whole thing.
How to Play
You get 4 cards in-hand to start and three decks with 10 cards each as your Resources. Your Resource cards are also your hit points. The first person that can’t draw 2 cards at the start of their turn loses. You pay for cards by discarding your Resources, so you have to plan ahead to make sure you can afford to play the cards you need without literally killing yourself in the process. If you’re decent at basic math and pay attention you should be able to keep track of both your and your opponents hit points and make strategic actions based on how close you or your opponent is to losing.
The layout of the play area is fairly unique, from what I’ve seen. You have your Deployment Zone/Defender location which is on your Frontline card, the No Mans Land, and then your opponents Frontline card. If you deploy a card you place it in your Frontline and then each turn it moves up one space. If it breaks through your opponents Frontline, then you have three options: you can storm, support, or hold ground.
Storming causes your creature to attack for damage (DMG in the game) equal to its attack strength AND perform the action in the red box. If your opponent has a card in their Frontline spot then you subtract their defense value from the attack value. Anything left over is damage that you cause to your opponent (‘trample’ for you MTG-ers). You also perform whatever action is in the red box on the creature card.
Supporting causes your creature to be placed face-down in front of you. This card is now worth 1 card when you use it to pay for other cards (think ‘mana’). To indicate that it’s been used you turn it sideways (‘tap’ your ‘mana’). Un-tap at the beginning of your turn.
Holding Ground allows you to move your creature back into any empty spot on your track. This is useful for it your opponent is about to attack you on the next turn with a big creature and the creature you’re resolving has a high defense value or if its action would be more effective on a following turn.
So, basic turn order is:
- Move all your cards up your track by one spot
- Resolve any creatures that break through your opponents Frontline
- Un-tap any tapped supporting cards
- Draw 2 new cards from your Resources (if you cannot draw 2, you lose)
- Play as many cards as you like or as you can afford as either actions or by deploying them
- End turn
But wait… there’s more! (Or, “less”- depending on your point of view)
Another aspect that I love about this game is that there is one card type- creatures. That’s it. No spells, no enchantments… just creatures. Well, that sounds boring, you may be thinking to yourself. But, each creature can be played either as the one creature per turn that you can deploy (‘Summon’), or as a one-time action. Because there are no spells or anything like that Siege Storm really is a game of ‘what you see is what you get’. You can’t play cards from your hands as things like instants, unless one of your passive abilities allows you to. You can pretty much tell what you and your opponent have going on just by looking at what’s on your respective tracks.
See the image below for the Healing Golem for details and for basic card anatomy.
Let’s say you decide you’re going to play the Healing Golem. In the upper-left of the card you can see that this card costs 2 points (or cards) to play. This cost is the same if you are deploying it or playing it as an action. In the bottom right you can see a defence of 5 and in the bottom left you see an attack strength of 1. Each creature has two actions- a main action (seen in red in the image), and a passive action (in blue). If you play the creature as an action you immediately perform the red action and then place the card in your Casualties pile (‘graveyard’). If you deploy it then you place the card in your Deployment Zone / Frontline. The card in this slot also acts as your defender if your opponent storms you on their turn. Once the Golem makes his way up your track and through your opponents Frontline then you can resolve it (Storm, Hold Ground, Support).
While your card is in either your Frontline or No Mans Land it’s passive ability is either in effect or can be paid for at any time, should it have a cost. For example, as long as the Healing Golem is in your Frontline (Not in your opponents Frontline) or No Mans Land then any time one of your creatures performs the storm action you place that card back on top of your Resources pile instead of the Casualties pile. Depending on how you play them, passive abilities can combine to create absolutely devastating combos or incredibly useful tricks that can easily turn the tide of the game over the course of a turn or two.