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Subject: My first review, Warhammer Invasion (With pictures!) rss

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Brian Tanner
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Hey all,

Firstly some background =D:
This is my first review here on BGG. Please let me know how it is. If you say "this sucks" I won't get offended, but try to be constructive and tell me why it sucks =).

Warhammer Invasion is my first LCG. I do not have a lot of experience with card games. I have played Magic: The Gathering for a long time, but only causally. That is the only CCG/TCG I have played, so some of this review might reference things in Magic. Also, I know my camera sucks and that I am not good at photography, but oh well =P. I also never played the Warhammer miniatures game, or am very familiar with the Warhammer universe.

Alright, on to the review!

For those who just want the verdict: Warhammer Invasion is a great game. I highly recommend it to anyone who is a fan of strategic card games, or for anyone who likes fun things and happiness in general.

For everyone else who wants to read:

Warhammer: Invasion is a Limited Living Card Game (LCG) produced by Fantasy Flight Games. The selling point of an LCG is that their is no buy blind model (think booster packs in MTG). Fantasy Flight quite frequently releases new expansion/blister packs of cards (called battle packs), in which every card that can be found is listed. This eliminates the chance for their to be "uber expensive OMG win cards" that plague other CCGs like Magic. With this model, a player knows exactly what they will get with each pack, and as such can purchase only packs with cards they are interested.

First we'll start with the components and what's in the box:


This is everything that is inside the box (yes those are Magic the Gathering starter deck boxes. I use them to hold my Warhammer decks).

You get:

4 capital boards, one for each faction
Chaos
Free Empire
Dwarf
Orc

With the Orc and Chaos being on the side of destruction, and the Dwarves and Free Empire being on the Alliance side.

In addition you get a 40 card starter deck for each faction, for a total of 4. The game also includes some Dark Elf (Destruction) and High Elf cards, as these factions were recently added with the Warhammer: Invasion – Assault on Ulthuan expansion. In addition, there are a slew of neutral cards that can be added to any faction's deck. The core set neutral cards are mostly support buildings, but there are a few different kinds.

You also get a nice 21 page rulebook, 35 resource tokens, 60 damage tokens, and 4 burning tokens.

Overall the components are very nice, and you get a lot for your value (can typically find this online for ~$30 or so). The capital boards are very nice and sturdy, as are all of the tokens. The cards seem sturdy enough, mine haven't seen super extensive use yet, but if you are worried about it you could always sleeve them.

One thing I must mention is that the artwork on the cards is phenomenal!

Gameplay:

The goal of Warhammer: Invasion is to burn 2 (out of 3) sections of your opponent's capital before he/she can do the same to you. Each zone starts out with 8 hit points. Once damage done is equal to a zone's hit points, that zone is considered to be burning.

The capital is laid out like this:


1. This is the Kingdom zone. Playing units or buildings in this zone is how you gather resources. What is good about this game compared to other games like Magic, is that there really isn't any "mana screw",where bad luck and bad draws keep you from gaining resources to play cards. If you get screwed on resources, it is more often caused by the fact that you didn't allocated enough cards to gathering resources rather than bad luck. By default you collect 3 resources every turn.

2. This zone is the Quest zone. Playing units or buildings in this zone allows you to draw cards each turn.

3. This zone is the Battlefield. Playing units here allows you to attack any of your other opponents 3 zones. The units don't collect any card draws or resources for you, but this it the only way they can attack your opponent.

4.
This is the default loyalty point for your faction (more later).

There are 4 types of cards in Warhammer: Invasion - Unit, Support, Quest, and Tactic.

Let's look at the anatomy of a unit card:


Here we have the Reiksguard Knights, a unit of the Free Empire.

1. This is the card type, in this case a unit
2. This is how many resources this card costs to play, in our case 3 resources.
3. This is how many loyalty points the card costs to play. This means that there must be at least 1 other loyalty point out in your play zone, or this card costs an additional resource to play. By default your capital board has 1 loyalty point on it, and other units add additional loyalty. For example, if a card costs 3 resources + 3 loyalty points, but you only have 2 loyalty points out in play, then the card costs 3 resources + an additional 1 for the lack of loyalty (3 loyalty required - 2 loyalty points = 1 left over that needs to be paid).
4. This is how much power a unit has. If this unit is played in the kingdom, it gathers 1 additional resource. If it is played in the Quest Zone, it allows the player to draw 1 additional card. If it is in the battlefield, it is able to attack for 1 damage. If it had 2 axe symbols here, then it would add 2 resources, etc.
5. This is how many hit points the unit has. Since this unit has 2 hit points, if it takes 2 damage it will die. Unlike in Magic, damage that is dealt to units is cumulative, and lasts after a turn is over.
6. This is the name of the unit.
7. This is a loyalty point, so this unit adds 1 to the player's loyalty points.
8. This is where the special abilities and the flavor text of the cards are listed.

In addition, here is an example of a support card:


This is a support card that has to be played in the Kingdom. It has 2 axes on it meaning it gathers the player 2 additional resources each turn.

A Quest card:


Quest cards are played in the player's quest zone. A player can then send a unit on that quest. Completing these quests usually gives the player a powerful reward that they can use during the game.

A Tactic card:


These are somewhat similar to instants and sorceries in Magic. In general, they can be played during combat or your opponents turn (in addition to your own). They often do things like augment combat to make things easier for you or harder for your opponent.

An example of a neutral card:


This is a support/building card that adds 1 power to wherever it is. Buildings cannot attack, so it is pointless playing it in the battlefield. However playing it in the kingdom or quest zone will allow for more resources or card draws.

Finally, each faction has their share of unique hero units:


Only one of these units can be in play at a time, and there is a limit of only 1 hero per zone.


Turn sequence is broken into phases:

EDIT: 0. Phase 0 - As many users have pointed out, the Fantasy Flight Games FAQ added a turn phase before the Kingdom phase, in which the player has a chance to take actions/play tactics before their resources reset for the turn.

1. Kingdom phase


This is where you reset all left over resources from your last turn, and gather new ones equal to the number of power in your kingdom.

2. Quest phase


The phase where you draw cards equal to the number of power in your quest zone.

3. Capital phase - The bulk of your turn where you can play units, support cards, etc. into any of your zones. In addition, once per turn a card from your hand can be played in any zone face down as a development. These developments add 1 hit point to that capital zone. For example, each zone by default has 8 hit points. If you were to lay down 2 developments in your Kingdom zone, this increases its total hit points to 10. This means your opponent must now deal 10 damage to that zone as opposed to the usual 8.

4. Battlefield phase


The phase where you attack your opponent with units in your battlefield.

When declaring attackers, you decide which units in your battlefield are attacking and what section of your opponents capital they will be attacking. Your opponent then has the opportunity to block with any number of units they have in that zone. After all attackers and blockers have been declared, damage is added up and assigned. The attacker assigns how they want their damage distributed (unlike in Magic, there is no "my unit blocks this unit", all attacking and blocking units attack or block together, and their total damage is added and assigned) to the defending units, and the defender decides how they want their damage assigned to the attacking units. All damage must be assigned to blocking units first before any damage is carried over to the capital. This makes resolution of combat much smoother and easier than it can be in Magic.

Overall the gameplay in Warhammer: Invasion is fantastic. It is a game that forces you to attack your opponent,while defending each of your zones. It is interesting and fun to try and figure out where best to allocate your cards. Do you need resources? Do you need to draw more cards to get to the cards you need faster? Do you need to attack? It makes for very tense gameplay. Many of my games have been very very close. In addition, all of the factions play differently and have unique feels to them. The Orcs rely heavily on blitzing their opponent, and don't need much in the way of developing resources. The Dwarves are slower and more defensive in nature, being all about building up. The Chaos employ more trickery and control against their opponents, as does the Free Empire.

Some minor complaints concerning the rule book: Overall it is a decent rule book, but I had tons of questions about cards and situations that arose during our first few games. I had to come to the forums at BGG to ask for clarification on several things. Fantasy Flight Games has also produced an FAQ for the game, though it didn't answer many of my questions. This is annoying, as I don't like having to dig around for answers to vague rules, but this game was more than worth digging around for clarifications.

Overall / Conclusions:
This game is great. It is incredibly fun. It has great components, gameplay, and them. I've heard some people complain about the theme as not fitting well into the Warhammer universe, but seeing as to how I know nothing about it, to me the theme is pretty good .

This game is easily playable outside of the box. I do not feel the need to go out and buy a bunch of extra cards (though I certainly want to), as I feel each deck is well balanced and plays fine against what is included in the box. One thing that is annoying about the LCG format though is that I wish I had multiple copies of some of the cards included, and the only way to get them would be to buy a whole other core set, which would be more $$ than I want to spend, and leave me with a bunch of useless extra copies of other cards. Same with some of the neutral cards. These cards have to be split up among 2 different decks, and some cards are more useful than others (Contested Village and Contested Stronghold come to mind). With a limited number, me and my friend have to take turns picking among them before we play, as this is the only fair way we came up with to split them up.

This game is very expandable, with several battlepacks already out. There is a vast deck building component to the game, though I haven't done much in the way of deck building yet. Decks essentially have to be at least 50 cards, and can contain any alliance factions (Dwarf, Empire, High Elf) or destruction factions (Chaos, Orc, Dark Elf), any Alliance can be mixed with any other alliance, same with destruction, but the 2 can't be mixed together. There is also a limit to at most 3 of any 1 type of card in the deck.

Over all this game is very very good. I am glad I took a leap and tried it out. I would definitely recommend it to any Magic fan, or card game fan in general. The resource gathering elements of it also seem to give it a unique feel among card games.

Pros:
Very fun!
Great components / art
A lot (4 decks + extra cards) for your value
Playable outside of the box, no need to get more cards
Very tense and fast gameplay

Cons:
Some rules are vague / needed to poke around for clarification
LCG format means I have to buy whole sets to get more copies of a few cards

Buy this game! And thanks for reading my first review =).


Edit: Sorry for the small images, did not realize they would appear that small. Just click on them to see larger versions!
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Shane DAmico
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Great first review.
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Kerry Harrison
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bktanner wrote:


This is everything that is inside the box (yes those are Magic the Gathering starter deck boxes. I use them to hold my Warhammer decks).


Great idea, thanks!
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Excellent work - it gives me deja vu in some ways!
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J A
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Excellent first review.

You might want to edit your turn sequence section to incorporate the rules changes from the FAQ available over on the FFG website.

- Jon
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Brian Tanner
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sirkerry wrote:
bktanner wrote:


This is everything that is inside the box (yes those are Magic the Gathering starter deck boxes. I use them to hold my Warhammer decks).


Great idea, thanks!


Ya green box for Orc
Red for Dwarf
Blue for Free Empire
Black for Chaos
White for the neutral/extra cards =D


Thanks for the feedback guys. When you link a geek image is there any way to make it appear bigger by default? Sorry about the small picture size. I guess for future reviews I will just have to find somewhere to host the pictures.
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Good review, as the other post said, there is now a phase zero before the kingdom phase. Its important to know this, because this phase allows you to spend resources before you have to turn them all back in during the start of kingdom phase. So if you have left over resources at this time, you can spend them on either tactic cards or actions on your units or support cards.
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Rauli Kettunen
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bktanner wrote:
In addition, here is an example of a support card:


This is a support card that has to be played in the Kingdom. It has 2 axes on it meaning it gathers the player 2 additional resources each turn.


Minor niggle. It doesn't say "Kingdom only" so it doesn't have to be played into the KZ, you can play it into any of the three zones. In the KZ, you get the 2 Power and its special ability, while in the QZ, you still get the 2 Power from it, in the BZ it is useless.
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Gunter D'HOOGH
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Congratulations for the great review!

Günter

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Richard Anderson
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bktanner wrote:

Thanks for the feedback guys. When you link a geek image is there any way to make it appear bigger by default? Sorry about the small picture size. I guess for future reviews I will just have to find somewhere to host the pictures.



Checkout these two very handy Geeklists for pointers on how to display things on your posts and all sorts of other geek related shenanigans (I keep them both stored in me 'quickbar')

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Great review thumbsup
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Damon Stone
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Great first review. Thorough, but not overly wordy. You stuck mostly to the facts of the game and then your impression on it was brief but clear. I love this type of review because it gives me enough information to start forming my own point of view but still tells me what you did and did not like and why which also lets me know whether some, all or none of those will be a factor for me.

Oh and I'm sure you've figured this out by now, but for the other readers, LCG stands for Living Card Game not limited.

Also you should know that a few choice neutrals were reprinted in the Assualt on Ulthuan expansion, and the new distribution format will have all Battle Packs (and possibly future expansions) with each card x3. Yep, one purchase of the Battle Pack will give you a full playset of each card. The Core set however is intended to give you the feel of playing with a constructed deck as such some cards appear less than x3.

With regard to the neutrals, the game has two general modes, one where both players own their own core sets and where both players are playing form the same core set. When you each have your own obviously there is no need to share your neutrals, though some you may wish you had x3 in a deck (though remember the game was intended to also be played in a constructed environment where people are purchasing multiple copies of certain sets for ultimate flexibility). When you play from a single CS the rules say you should shuffle and deal out 10 neutrals to both players... this prevents hogging of neutrals and introduces a greater random element into the game. I've found that if there is a skill level difference between players drafting the neutrals with the less experienced player getting first draft can help close the gap a little.
 
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Brian Tanner
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Dam the Man wrote:
bktanner wrote:
In addition, here is an example of a support card:


This is a support card that has to be played in the Kingdom. It has 2 axes on it meaning it gathers the player 2 additional resources each turn.


Minor niggle. It doesn't say "Kingdom only" so it doesn't have to be played into the KZ, you can play it into any of the three zones. In the KZ, you get the 2 Power and its special ability, while in the QZ, you still get the 2 Power from it, in the BZ it is useless.


That card says Kingdom on it, doesn't that mean it has to be played in the Kingdom?


Hoo McHoo wrote:
bktanner wrote:

Thanks for the feedback guys. When you link a geek image is there any way to make it appear bigger by default? Sorry about the small picture size. I guess for future reviews I will just have to find somewhere to host the pictures.



Checkout these two very handy Geeklists for pointers on how to display things on your posts and all sorts of other geek related shenanigans (I keep them both stored in me 'quickbar')

Tricks of the Geek

More tricks of the Geek

Great review thumbsup


Very cool, I will have to check those out for ideas / tips. Thanks a bunch for the links!


dormouse wrote:
Great first review. Thorough, but not overly wordy. You stuck mostly to the facts of the game and then your impression on it was brief but clear. I love this type of review because it gives me enough information to start forming my own point of view but still tells me what you did and did not like and why which also lets me know whether some, all or none of those will be a factor for me.

Oh and I'm sure you've figured this out by now, but for the other readers, LCG stands for Living Card Game not limited.

Also you should know that a few choice neutrals were reprinted in the Assualt on Ulthuan expansion, and the new distribution format will have all Battle Packs (and possibly future expansions) with each card x3. Yep, one purchase of the Battle Pack will give you a full playset of each card. The Core set however is intended to give you the feel of playing with a constructed deck as such some cards appear less than x3.

With regard to the neutrals, the game has two general modes, one where both players own their own core sets and where both players are playing form the same core set. When you each have your own obviously there is no need to share your neutrals, though some you may wish you had x3 in a deck (though remember the game was intended to also be played in a constructed environment where people are purchasing multiple copies of certain sets for ultimate flexibility). When you play from a single CS the rules say you should shuffle and deal out 10 neutrals to both players... this prevents hogging of neutrals and introduces a greater random element into the game. I've found that if there is a skill level difference between players drafting the neutrals with the less experienced player getting first draft can help close the gap a little.


Yeah I meant Living not Limited =D, thanks for pointing it out to me though. Yeah I know the instruction manual says to do that, but I don't really like doing that. My main opponent is my girlfriend, we have about the same experience in playing, and know how to use the cards and such. Doing it that way, one could really get screwed over on the random deal with the neutral cards they get dealt.


Thanks again to everyone who has left me feedback =)!

 
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Mike Cooper
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bktanner wrote:
Dam the Man wrote:
bktanner wrote:
In addition, here is an example of a support card:


This is a support card that has to be played in the Kingdom. It has 2 axes on it meaning it gathers the player 2 additional resources each turn.


Minor niggle. It doesn't say "Kingdom only" so it doesn't have to be played into the KZ, you can play it into any of the three zones. In the KZ, you get the 2 Power and its special ability, while in the QZ, you still get the 2 Power from it, in the BZ it is useless.


That card says Kingdom on it, doesn't that mean it has to be played in the Kingdom?
No, it just means that it has a special ability that only works if it is in the Kingdom zone. If it had to be played in the Kingdom it would say "Kingdom only". Part of the skill of the game is to know when to intentionally "downgrade" a card like the Temple by playing it in the Quest zone just for the 2 hammers, even though it loses its special ability.

Note that if you do have a {zone}-only card like Huntsmen, while it can only be played in that zone, it can still be moved via effects like Forced March to other zones.
 
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Brian Tanner
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Clamatius wrote:
bktanner wrote:
Dam the Man wrote:
bktanner wrote:
In addition, here is an example of a support card:


This is a support card that has to be played in the Kingdom. It has 2 axes on it meaning it gathers the player 2 additional resources each turn.


Minor niggle. It doesn't say "Kingdom only" so it doesn't have to be played into the KZ, you can play it into any of the three zones. In the KZ, you get the 2 Power and its special ability, while in the QZ, you still get the 2 Power from it, in the BZ it is useless.


That card says Kingdom on it, doesn't that mean it has to be played in the Kingdom?
No, it just means that it has a special ability that only works if it is in the Kingdom zone. If it had to be played in the Kingdom it would say "Kingdom only". Part of the skill of the game is to know when to intentionally "downgrade" a card like the Temple by playing it in the Quest zone just for the 2 hammers, even though it loses its special ability.

Note that if you do have a {zone}-only card like Huntsmen, while it can only be played in that zone, it can still be moved via effects like Forced March to other zones.


Ha! I did not know that. I thought the italic-ed zone words meant that it had to be played in that zone. I guess I just made that assumption because on other cards it will say Kingdom zone only, and I assumed that they shortened it to just Kingdom on some cards, like they do for a lot of Magic abilities.

Thanks for letting me know that guys!
 
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Quote:
Also you should know that a few choice neutrals were reprinted in the Assualt on Ulthuan expansion

I missed that. Which neutrals were affected?
 
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Brian Tanner
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Deefer wrote:
Quote:
Also you should know that a few choice neutrals were reprinted in the Assualt on Ulthuan expansion

I missed that. Which neutrals were affected?


I think Innovation was, I do not remember what else (if any) off the top of my head. I just recently did pick up the new expansion.
 
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Anselmo Diaz
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Nice review. I like your format. Plenty of pics, and enough test. It covers the rules, and your own comments.

Great!! thumbsup

PS Only criticism: after reading the review, I find the first paragraphs completely unnecessary.
 
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Zoltán Mészáros
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Only Innovation was reprinted (2 pcs/AoU box), nothing else. Everything else is new.
 
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Echtalion wrote:
Nice review. I like your format. Plenty of pics, and enough test. It covers the rules, and your own comments.

Great!! thumbsup

PS Only criticism: after reading the review, I find the first paragraphs completely unnecessary.


Thanks , appreciate it!
 
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Great review for a great game. I just bought it last weekend after a demo and now I wish I'd read reviews like these before, for I surely would've bought it much earlier.

But! The Warhammer geek inside me has to say this: it's not the Free Empire, it's just the Empire
 
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Brian Tanner
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Hah thanks, appreciate it!

Yeah unfortunately I don't really know a lot about the Warhammer lore, I just really enjoy this card game =).
 
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