Scott Sexton
United States
Silver Lake
66539
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Please note that this review covers the 2015 released Omega version of Omen.

Quick Pitch- Omen is a fast paced 2-player area control card game inspired by 1990's era ccgs. Gorgeous and consistent art. Smooth layout design. A polished game that feels much bigger then its small box.

John Clowdus must have grown up playing Decipher's Star Wars CCG. Every Small Box Games release I've tried evokes a sense of familiarity that harkens back to the 1990s era CCGs many modern day board gamers grew up with. Omen is perhaps John's greatest success to date.

For those who've never played Omen, the basic jist of the game should come as no great surprise. On their turn, a player will (not necessarily in this order) gain resources (cards/coins), deploy unit cards to locations, utilize special abilities, battle for control of the aforementioned locations, check for victory conditions and achievements. Pretty typical stuff right? What makes Omen stand out mechanically is the tight refinement of framiliar ideas, and the excellent level of balance polished into the game. About half way through your first game, you will be moving through your turn at blazing speed. While none of the ideas presented by Omen are revolutionary, the gameplay has been obviously highly refined into a streamlined system that feels more advanced then any other 2 player game I've seen of this type. The game cards themselves seem to have been balanced in the style of Glory to Rome where balance is achieved by making every card awesome. A typical game of Omen will have you drawing powerful cards, figuring out how to combo them together, and adjusting your strategy on the fly to take advantage of your cards.

For less experienced players, the game may seem swingy. On one turn you have what seems like a total lock down on then entire board and steamrolling towards a victory. Two turns later, you may be scrambling to keep your opponent from completely annihilating your forces. The key to this game is understanding how the momentum of the game shifts back and forth (I firmly believe that John designed the game to do this) and to maximize your gains when the game's momentum in in your favor, while minimizing your opponent's gains while they have momentum.

Something else Omen has in spades is paths to victory. Once you are able to add the various expansions into the game, you'll have several ways to score end game victory points, none of which feel overpowered enough to be a clear course that must be taken. The key is being able to recognize what opportunities you are given by your cards and the state of the game board and then taking full advantage of them.

Lastly, components. Unit cards display dozens of unique images, all with a very distinct, stylized flavor that works well. By comparison, many of the non-unit cards feel more amateurish and are less impressive. Ultimately, though, this is only a small complaint in an overall beautifull looking game. The only TRUE issue I have is the card backs for the Units. John clearly means for this to help remind players of a game rule (when a unit is enraged it has specific stats), unfortunately, the art is boring and of a decidedly lower quality then what I would prefer for a card back. I am of the belief that good card back designs should have a simple logo/icon with a timeless symmetrical quality (see Glory to Rome's black box edition backs). I wish the cover art from the Olympus or Omega editions of Omen were used for the card backs. C'est la vie.

Oh yeah, and then there are the metal coins. In hand they are a nice size and look bright like a brand new penny. My expectation is that these should tone nicely over the next few years. Given 2 years of regular play and these coins will be gorgeous to behold. The design is also quite solid, better then any generic greek themed coins I've seen on Kickstarter in the past few years.

Conclusion- If you are a fan of slick 2 player card combat games, Omen offers you a highly polished and enjoyable slugfest experience. This is the best game of its kind I've played in the past few years. Get it now before you are stuck paying secondary market mark up.
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Atnier Rodriguez
United States
Monroe
Connecticut
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What do you mean by get it now?

Isn't the kickstarter over?

There's no Omega edition for sale on the original store either.
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cory peacock
United States
Phoenix
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Nice review. Much like the game, quick and to the point.

I've not yet played my copy of the Omega edition. I've been too busy playing my 2nd edition copy. Its time will come soon.
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Scott Sexton
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Silver Lake
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okami31 wrote:
What do you mean by get it now?

Isn't the kickstarter over?

There's no Omega edition for sale on the original store either.

Try sending SMG a very polite email or run to the secondary market before prices rise.

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