Game Reviews by Anthony Racano
WWII: The Card Game
Designed by: Chris & Tony Fanchi
Published by: Fanfare Games
While the idea of playing a war game is something I have entertained on numerous occasions, the thought of punching and clipping and sorting and keeping track of all those little cardboard chits seems like almost too much work. The other option is a miniatures based game which then turns into a second mortgage on my house to get all those little soldiers and tanks and stuff, not to mention the opthomologist bills for my strained eyes trying to paint all those minis. Now I've played some lighter style war games like Tide of Iron, Memoir 44 and Battle for Hill 218 numerous times (The latter 2 being among some of my favorite games) but I've never taken the plunge to delve into others. So when I heard of this new World War II based card game I was very intrigued and the appropriately simply named WWII:The Card Game made it a must try...and I'm glad I did.
Using a CCG game play format with an LCG distribution model, WWII: The Card Game offers a well balanced combination of both strategy and tactical maneuvering to engross you in play from beginning to end.
The strategical portion of the game happens before the game even begins. Each player will construct a deck of cards representing the Axis or Allied forces. From that deck they will each choose 10 cards which are placed under their Homeland card and shuffle the rest into a draw deck. They will then each choose one location card and place it in the center of the board, draw their starting hands and the game begins.
Each round of game play is broken into several stages which will let you build factories that allow you to have the resources to play cards to the table, deploy land, air and sea units, move those units, take special actions and kick the snot out of each other. Getting the rhythm of game flow takes a little bit of time but once you have it the game is very smooth. The cards for the most part serve multiple-purposes in the game as they can be used in several different ways.
As mentioned earlier, you can use the cards to build factories by simply playing a card from your hand face down in front of you. Granted you will not be able to use that card to its full potential but having the resources to spend to deploy units and play cards is vital to victory. You can also use the action on the cards..including those on location cards (there is a different action/ability for each player on them). The cards are also used to resolve combat situations as cards are drawn off of your deck and numbers printed on the cards are used to see who hurt who and how badly.
There are both land and sea locations for both players which restrict the types of units you can deploy there which is very true to the thematic feel of the game and controlling those locations can play a big part in winning the war.
I know what you are saying...”What about those 10 cards you put under your Homeland card at the beginning of the game?” ..I didn't forget about them..don't worry. They are you're “Ace in the Hole” both literally and figuratively because at various times in the game you can “Go to the Well” and choose which of them to put into play. This in and of itself is a beautiful yet simple cross-breeding of a game like Magic the Gathering with Mage Wars where you built your deck one way but do not always have to rely on “luck of the draw” to get that card to come out of your deck when you need it. Now even though you have this “insurance policy” (man I'm using a lot of quotation marks) you have to choose wisely as you can only access those 10 cards so many times throughout the game.
While the game has similarities to other games of this style, the fresh theme attached to it makes a welcome edition to my collection and most likely to yours. And you can quote me on that.
For more information on the game including a run through video by the designers go check out the Kickstarter project that is running until Sunday, December 22nd http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/251744073/wwii-the-card-game?ref=category
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