"...Gallileo, Gallileo!" I better stop before I infringe upon copy right issues. I'm kidding. I am always looking for quick two player card games to play with my wife. We love Lost cities, Jaipur, and Batman: Loveletter. I came across a newly re-themed game called Thunder and Lightning. Knowing my wives love of the Marvel cinematic universe and how many times that her and her friends have watched Thor, I figured I should purchased it. Well Z-man thank you for another great game. It's no surprise that I love it because it's designer is Richard Borg, same designer of Memoir '44. (still waiting to play D-day scenarios.) The best way to describe this game is Stratego with cards. Seems so simple to design and balance and learn if you have a special place for Stratego.
How to play: You start by placing 3 of your 9 cards down in 3 columns across from your opponent columns. On your turn you anywhere from 1-3 actions depending on how many columns you have in row 1. On your turn you can do a mixture of 4 different actions in any order. 1. Draw a card. Hand limit 12. 2. Play troop card face down. In a row or column of your choosing to a max of 4 rows and 3 columns. 3. Play a card face up for its magical effect. The cards vary in abilities but clearly start your action. 4. You may challenge your row 1 character in the same column across from your opponent. When you challenge you flip your cards simultaneously and determine a winner. The winner is the highest strength. The loser discards that card and the winner's card remains face-up. If you happen to challenge the rivals crown or ring you automatically win, just like finding the flag in Stratego. That is the basic however the cards with special abilities is what make this a game changer. You have a hero card that gives you 4 actions in row 1 but can't challenge. You have a couple of cards that kill big units, you have a couple of cards that can't be killed except from smaller units. You have cards that bring units from your discard back to your hand. You also have cards that make players discard or view your hand.
I started this review with a quote from Bohemian Rhapsody, "Thunderbolt and Lightning very very frightening" thanks to one card in both decks. I can not figure out how to play the nightmare card and it's frightening. This card when battled, flipped (by another action card ) or discarded causes a major explosion either on the field or hand. If the nightmare card is not played probably you can lose very quickly. If you put the nightmare card in the same row as your ring/crown you are an idiot. If you keep the nightmare card in your hand, it can be dangerous if your opponent challenges your hand and reveals it, you could lose your whole hand of cards and the game if you have the ring or crown in it. The nightmare card takes my love of this game and multiplies it. I love games with high tension. The tension in this two player card card is very very high thanks to one card. Having a great poker face might be a requirement for Thunder and Lightning.
Theme/Art WOW! Very Stunning art, great graphic design with simple and clear actions. Love the theme, Loki vs Thor. I am for once happy that this is not the Marvel universe of those two characters. I am not great with my Norse Mythology, nor do I seek to learn more about it however you must be living under a rock to not know about Loki and Thor. The most famous Norse gods take center stage in this game and it's great. Perfect fighting theme that could've felt pasted on but it truly doesn't for a simple card game. I am just happy it's not generic fantasy or worse historical setting. Perfect theme for a near perfect game.
Final thoughts Thank you Z-man. Thank you Richard Borg for another gaming option to play with my wife or one other family member. I love it. For now I have to go listen to something other then Queen in order to get that classic rock song out of my head. Check out Thunder and Lightning. 9/10.