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Omen: A Reign of War» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Review of Omen: Reign of War after one play rss

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Reed Dawley
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I will give my standard disclaimer that I play a lot of games with people who are not gamers. At least not traditional gamers. So I analyze what they like and dislike about games and try to find one game they can get into. This is a story of finding a game to play with my mom. I found that my mom does not like co-op games very quickly and after trying a number of different games realized that she really likes card games. Once a board comes out and pieces are placed and dice are out she loses interest. I knew I could work with this information and I picked up a copy of Lost Cities.

She got into Lost Cities, it made sense to her. You put down cards in order and try to score high points and I noted that she really liked when I played a red 10, 9 then played other colors a couple of turns and then laid down the red 6 and she could discard the red 8, showing that she had it and was denying me using it. In Lost cities you start low and go high and she would wait for me to play the red 9 only to discard the red 8 to show she had it. OK, she likes something with more conflict. I moved onto Battle Line and she took to that well, messing with me by placing a card on the end of the line, making me question if she had a plan or was just trying to distract me. She did well and kicked my butt and requested to play it more. Always a good sign. I figured she was ready for Omen.

I set up Omen and gave her a brief overview of the cards and how they work. Soldiers powers are activated when they are played, Beasts must be paid for then you can place them as a beat down expert or discard for their power and Oracles fire on the Portent phase but don’t help a lot in the fight. Then you claim feats, check for war and then make an offering. We went through the game, going through each step one by one during each of our turns. I am pretty sure she had totally caught on by her third turn and was using that time to plan out her strategy. I would help out by saying you have two Oracles out, if you play a third one here you will score a feat and that happens before the war phase. I am pretty sure she had this down but kept me off balance by playing the good student while plotting my demise.

So during play she has a big stack of money and a bunch of cards and I am just scraping by most turns. I’ve claimed a couple of feats at this time but she keeps waging war when I have two Soldiers out to eliminate one. I get to draw a Beast from the pile and then she plays a card that removes all Beasts from my hand when I had three cards consisting of two Beasts and a reward card so bye bye Beasts. There were a bunch of cool battles but I just couldn’t get my economy going and she kicked my butt. 19 to 11. To say the least she enjoyed the game, it was head to head, lots of strategy and the cards are simple enough to grok with a short read. The whole game she asked two questions: “What is a Unit” and “What is Enrage”, it turns out I had shuffled in the cards from the expansion with enrage.

I loved played this game. I still dig Lost Cities and Battle Line. Easy to teach and fun to play and they are staying in my collection to play with new gamers, card gamers can grasp the concepts pretty easily and as I said they are fun to play. But Omen: Reign of War just tops them for me. The art is fantastic, it is a good looking game. I enjoy the theme and I just like attacking people with a Pegasus, sue me. The three cities means the battleground is small. A smaller field than Battle Line makes each city feel more important, each battle has more impact and speeds up the game. It is just easier to pick where to put things if you have three options. The resource management is great as well. At the beginning of the round do I need cards or money, if I plan at the end of a previous round can I make an offering to get two cards so I can get four gold at the beginning of my next round to get more cards out that round. Those choices are fun, I want this cheap Unit, but I can trade them for four resources now and get four at the beginning of next round. My favorite thing in games is agency of choice and this game has it in spades. Do I want to use this reward card for its power which reduces it to one VP at the end or hang onto it to get the full two at the end of the game? I am trying to complete feats as well while my opponent tries to stymie my attempts by initiating battles and wiping out my troops or worse forcing me to keep just one which can’t be the Beast I wanted to have for my round. Choices galore, options to score all over the place, I can’t find anything not to like.

So I have a tight quick two player game which I am all about. I have choices galore which have an impact on the game, not so many that the game bogs down, but enough to feel like I am not just drawing and playing cards. It all fits in a small box that I can chuck in my bag and since I have the deluxe edition I have expansions I haven’t even touched yet and killer metal coins. The coins are another one of those things that just add theme to the game but I would play it with cardboard (or better yet some game coins that I have in my collection). We did not have time for a second game but I am looking forward to it, I predict a 16-12 loss this time but I do not care about the score. I just want to make my enemy discard five cards in this round!

[edited to correct Lost Cities play]
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Matt Gordon
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Nice review. But your comments about Lost Cities triggered a question. I thought you played cards in Lost Cities from lowest to highest? Am I missing something?
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Chris Gordy
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Turgid wrote:
Nice review. But your comments about Lost Cities triggered a question. I thought you played cards in Lost Cities from lowest to highest? Am I missing something?


I believe you can play either lowest to highest or highest to lowest. The second card you play defines which way you are going.
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Michael Johnson
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I'm pretty sure you have to play cards in ascending order in Lost Cities.

P.s. I enjoyed the OP's review!
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Larry Witte
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Awesome that your mother plays Omen. She's way beyond a gateway gamer.
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Matt Gordon
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SuperMike3288 wrote:
I'm pretty sure you have to play cards in ascending order in Lost Cities.

P.s. I enjoyed the OP's review!

Yep, I just doublechecked the rules files available on here:
Quote:
Cards must always have increasingly higher numbers, though the numbers do not need to be consecutive.


Being able to start with the 10/9/8 would make for a very different game.
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Reed Dawley
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Bahahahahahahaha, I don't know if I am remembering wrong of if we actually played it backwards. I checked my cameras to see if there was a picture of a finished game and I can't find one to verify.

Ok, we definitely played low to high because the pictures on the cards show the actual treasure/relic on the high card and I spread the cards out to show them how the art was neat and while the theme could be anything, it was a cool little addition. We played it correctly. It has just been a long time since I have played.
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Reed Dawley
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Y'all are great, glad something was said, I would hate for someone to skim it at some point and think they were playing Lost cities wrong or learn it wrong because they know they read descending order somewhere.

wittela wrote:
Awesome that your mother plays Omen. She's way beyond a gateway gamer.


My dad taught me chess, my grandfather taught me poker and my mom taught me rummy. That's where my gaming started and my mom is ruthless in games.
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Jason Monroe
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Turgid wrote:


Being able to start with the 10/9/8 would make for a very different game.


It's called Keltis

Lost Cities is a reimplementation of Keltis. In Keltis (and the others in that family like Keltis: Das Orakel), you were allowed to do ascending or descending
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