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Josef S
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A little backstory before I start - very little, Scout's Honor (I was kicked out of the Boy Scouts, so I don't know if I can use that. I don't think it's trademarked). I've played CCGs since Magic started, my primary games being Magic and Redemption, a Christian-themed CCG and, interestingly enough, the 2nd longest continually printed CCG after Magic. With that in mind, I'm going to try in this review to answer two questions: 1. Would a CCG player like this game, and 2. Would a Non-CCG player like this game?

Epic Card game is, in essence, a small game that tries to give the feel of a CCG while stripping out the fluff. In this game, 2-4 players (it works best with 2) take the 120 cards included and divvy them up in a variety of ways so each player has 30. Three common methods (of which there are many more) of this are:

1. Straight deal - give 30 random cards to either player and go for it. Sounds like it would stink? It does. Too random.

2. Full deck - each player takes all 30 cards of one of the four alignments and slugs it out. Very fun, especially when playing multiple games in a row and keeping score.

3. Drafting - cards are dealt face up, and players go back and forth taking the ones they want. This usually works by Player 1 dealing four cards and picking one. Player 2 then takes two cards, with Player 1 getting the last. Then Player 2 deals four, takes one, and the process continues. Also extremely fun. Each gets 30, and the fight is on.

So, that's how it's set up, but how is it played? Actually, quite simply but strategically. With each turn, every player (even those who are not currently in their turn) gets a "Gold". This is the resource (think Mana) of the game. Every card has a cost of either 0 or 1 gold. On your turn, you can play as many cards as you can afford - basically, any cards worth 0 and a single card worth 1. Cards are of two types - Champions (heroes, monsters, etc.) and Events (spells, battlefield conditions, twists of fate, and more). Each card lists what it does and, if necessary, when you can use it. Since each player gets a gold EVERY turn, cards that cost 1 gold but can be used as responses to attacks are available, but resources are tight. Lay out your champions, attack your enemy, they respond, and.....that's pretty much it. There are two ways to win:

1. Drain your opponents 30 life points.
2. Drain YOUR OWN deck. If you have to draw but have no cards, you win. This was a very odd rule, but it works. Many cards return cards to players' decks, so it is far more difficult to do this than it seems. This rule, however, adds a strategic layer - you MUST keep restocking your opponent's deck, which obviously, they will use to kill you. It gives a great risk/reward feel.

On top of this is an excessively thin veneer of lore and flavor. Cards are all divided into one of four alignments:

Good (Yellow) - Humans, angels, and all sorts of other good-hearted folk. This is the "Defense" team - decent attackers backed by powers that keep you alive and healthy.

Evil (Red) - Demons, vampires, zombies, juvenile deliquents. "Destruction" deck, this group is good at clearing the way and bringing minions up quickly.

Wild (Green) - Ferocious animals, creatures of myth, various voluptuous vixens (seriously, some of this is eye-rollingly unnecessary). Standard "Power" or "Aggro". It hits hard and hits fast.

Sage (Blue) - Sorcerors, golems, and.....ok, theme is a little light in this one. Winter Fairy? Seriously? A "Control" deck, good at managing the flow of the game and hampering opponent's.

Alignments each work well with each other, so when drafting it's always a struggle between taking the heavy hitters or focusing on building a cohesive group. It works, and adds another solid amount of strategy.

All right, heart of the matter now. Should you buy this game?

To CCG players - If you enjoy deck construction, resource management, and solid mechanics, you'll probably like this one. It doesn't fully scratch the same itch, but it gets very close. If you're sick of sinking cash into chasing rare game-breakers, this is a good route to go. Since there are no low-level fillers or resource cards needed, it filters out game-slowing junk.

If, on the other hand, you enjoy the thrill of the hunt or scouring for those one or two cards that turn your deck from least to beast, you won't get that here. That feeling can only be achieved through standard CCGs with random packs. Don't even waste the few bucks for this one - you'll hate it.

To Non-CCG players - if you dislike pure card games, obviously pass. If you dislike having to learn varieties of combinations and card interactions, pass. Simply put, if you ACTIVELY DISLIKE CCGs, you will despise this. If you like the mechanics of CCGs but not the cost or time-consumption in deck construction, this is the way to go. The mechanics, tactics, and strategies are solid, and with a low cost it just hits all the right notes. I highly doubt this will turn anyone into a hardcore CCG player, but it still is worthwhile to have on the game shelf.

Understandably, CCGs are a divisive type of game. Many factors play into this, and truthfully, Epic's style will never overtake standard CCGs. Final thought - full retail, it's 15 bucks. Even if you don't like it, you probably know someone who will. Sharing is caring.
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Dead Za
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I used to play magic. It got pretty silly for me. Epic is silly but in all the right ways for me and my friends. Though I eally like the game but as a collector I am having a fit trying to get a play set of the promo/kick-starter cards without paying obscene (ya know typical CCG levels) of money.

Yes it is very Magic the Gathering. Yes it is pretty simple to learn. Yes it is so much fun.

I highly recommend it and plan to buy Star/Hero Realms because of just how much I enjoy Epic.
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Josef S
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Star Realms and Epic are completely different, and honestly, I hated SR. Never played Hero, but could not stand Star. Star is a deck builder in the vein of Dominion, not a CCG battle game like Epic or MTG.
 
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Dead Za
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RoguesRefuge wrote:
Star Realms and Epic are completely different, and honestly, I hated SR. Never played Hero, but could not stand Star. Star is a deck builder in the vein of Dominion, not a CCG battle game like Epic or MTG.


Oh totally aware of how different they are and didn't mean to potentially lead other people astray on any similarity. I was REALLY hoping Star Realms was Sci-Fi Epic actually but lots of my friends like deckbuilder games and I want to support White Wizard anyway ha.


What by chance didn't you enjoy about Star Realms?
 
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Josef S
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I'm a little picky when it comes to deck builders. Love Tanto Cuore, but hate Dominion. Go figure. Three things killed Star Realms for me.

1. Random cards to buy. Sounds good in practice, but makes long term strategy difficult, if not impossible. I dislike a reliance on short term tactics in deck builders.

2. 0-100 play. Until those big cards are able to be bought, it's a very.......VERY slow boil. Match held under the ocean slow. Then, BAM, 10+ damage each turn minimum. No mid-game.

3. Kill cards. Some cards are just savagely overpowered. If you don't have the chance to buy them, they can get scooped up and you're done. I've played many games where I simply didn't have an opportunity to buy outposts. So I lost, not by lack of skill or poor play, but just because. Nope, pass.

Even though I dislike Dominion, it's a quality game. With a major reliance on randomness that other, better DBs don't have, Star Realms is just not for me.
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Dead Za
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Thanks for the insight! I really have a grudge against games coming down to “dumb” luck UNLESS that is the type of game it set out to be and even then I’m not going to play it with less than 4 or 5 other people ie Munchkin. However lucky swing games are really good for playing with people who are more casual gamers.

I wonder if the expansions level out the random factor, were you using any of them in your plays? Also there is an expansion/alternate version Colony Wars that could be better balanced? Again thanks so much for the reply.

Back on topic Epic is a great game and can’t wait for even more expansions and or officially released Gods/Demigods. How do you feel about those in particular in relation to how Epic plays? I always liked the oversized “pick your character” cards in Magic the Gathering that were the precursor to Planeswalkers.
 
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Josef S
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I did not use any of the expansions for SR - I wasn't even going to chance it after my distaste for the original. I'm not a fan of needing an expansion to "fix" a game. If it can't stand on its own, I'm done (99% of the time).

As for Epic, I just got the Tyrants expansion, but have yet to play with them. I have played games that have (what I call) "Deck Leaders", and I go back and forth on them. Once I have some plays under my belt with Tyrants, I'll let you know.
 
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