Chris Hansen
United States
Riverton
UT
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If given the option, I would prefer to play with the green pieces, please.
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I have two new 9 Card Games: 300 Spartans and Franky's 1st Christmas
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Game Summary
Alexander: The Card Game is a solitaire game in which you are trying to win battles on four different fronts. The game contains a single deck of cards containing both Difficulty Cards and Solution Cards. The goal is to use the Solution Cards to overcome the corresponding Difficulty Cards. Once you have worked through the entire deck, a final score is calculated based on how many Difficulty Cards were left unresolved.

Game Play
At the start of the game, shuffle the deck and then divide it into four equal face down piles. The top card of each pile is turned face up. If there are Solution Cards showing, you may draw them into your hand (up to four at a time). Each Solution Card matches to a corresponding Difficulty Card (for example, the Solution Card “Ruthlessness” solves the Difficulty Card “Mutiny”). Any matching Solution Cards from your hand and Difficulty Cards from the piles are picked up and placed in a Conquest Pile. The top card in the pile is then turned over. Any new Solution Cards can then be added to your hand.

One of the cards in the game is called the Reconnaissance Card. This card allows you to look at the cards in any pile for 15 seconds but not change the order. This can help if you encounter a situation where only Difficulty Cards are available on the piles so you must discard one of them in the hopes of finding a Solution Card. If the Reconnaissance Card had been previously used, you’ll be able to better identify which pile to find more Solution Cards in.

Alexander loses a battle. All four cards showing are Difficulty Cards which the player cannot resolve.

Play continues until all four decks have been exhausted. Any cards that weren't matched go into a Defeat Pile. These include Difficulty Cards and Solution Cards. Your final score is the number of cards in the Conquest Pile.

Completed game with a score of 42 (Clear Victory). The last cards on the battle pile and the cards in my hand cannot be played.

Theme
Alexander: The Card Game is a fairly abstract game with the theme mainly functioning as game flavor. Game text such as “Fortified City” and “Siege” could be changed to any other combination of problems and solutions without changing the game at all. However, the theme works perfectly well and adds a bit of enjoyment if you are interested in Alexander the Great.

Quality of Components
This is a Warp Spawn game so there aren’t components provided with the game. The rules include a description of the cards that the player needs to make with attack properties and several other attributes. Alessandro Crespi has created some cards for the game that are beautifully illustrated with classic images of Alexander which is available in the file section. There is also a text only low ink version of the game in the file section which I put together.

The low ink version of the game compared with the illustrated version of the game.

The rules are clear and concise and you should be able to start playing right away once reading them. I printed a copy for reference but found that I never needed it during play.

Print and Play Section
How Much Time to Make?
There are 52 cards in the game and no other components. With a strait edge and X-acto knife, you should be able to have this game fully assembled in under ten minutes.

How Difficult is it to Make?
This game is very easy to make. Just cut out the cards and you’re done. There are no card back in Alessandro Crespi's version or in my Low Ink version so you don’t have to worry about alignment issues.

Materials Required
The game requires some shuffling so you will probably want to print the cards on medium weight card stock. If you print the game on regular letter paper you’ll want stiff card protectors.

After printing I cut the cards using a strait edge and an X-ACTO knife. I recommend using this method or a paper cutter with a sliding blade. Cutting the cards with regular scissors could possibly result in some slanted or curved edges unless you have a very steady hand.

What’s the Ink Damage?
The low ink version of this game will deliver on the promise of it’s name. The cards are black and white and have a large amount of white space. The illustrated cards will use a lot more ink as there is very little white space in the full color images. However, the illustrated cards give a much better sense of theme and will probably increase your enjoyment of the game. The rules are simple text and would use a minimum amount of ink but you can probably skip printing them at all since they are so simple.

The complete print and play game assembled with rules.

Final Verdict and Rating
Alexander: The Card Game is an incredibly simple game. The theme, as I’ve discussed, is mostly there just to give them game some flavor. You’re not going to learn anything about Alexander of his battle tactics when playing. This game probably falls into the Patience category of cards games. That being said, I think it’s a very good Patience game. I’ve played this game much more often this year than Klondike or any other traditional solitaire card games.

Alexander’s main strength is in it’s scoring mechanic. If you find yourself in a no-win situation (all four battle fronts showing Difficulty Cards that you don’t have Solution Cards to resolve) you can simple discard one of the Difficulty Cards and move on. This will cost you a point at the end of the game, but it helps to alleviate the frustration of losing due to random card order.

Alexander also plays incredibly fast. Most games are complete within five to ten minutes. If you have a game that you get a low score on, you can easily play again to try for a better score. When I play, I typically play two to three times.

The game’s small footprint, quick playtime, and simple rules make this an ideal game for playing in bed or for pulling out when you have five minutes that need wasted. Despite the simple rules and basic matching mechanic, there are decisions to be made. Using the Reconnaissance Card allows you to briefly see all the cards in one stack and you will have to use this information when choosing which Difficulty Card to resolve or discard. (The column with more Solution Cards or Difficulty Cards that you can resolve is the better choice - if you can remember which one it is.) The game is also moderately difficult to achieve a perfect score in. I’ve played about 10 to 20 times and only earned a perfect score once.

The game does have the problem of being somewhat dry and I find that I grow tired of it quickly. I often go months between plays and don’t think about it often when looking for a solitaire game. The game play is a little too simple for repeated play. Another frustrating aspect is that despite the use of the Reconnaissance Card, it is possible to run into situations where a Solution Card is under a Difficulty card and there’s nothing you can do about it so you just have to take the loss. In a five minute game, this isn’t a huge issue, but I still don’t like having a random element that I can’t even fight against.

Is this game worth the time to print, assemble, and play? I think so. It’s a simple time-waster, but it’s a good time-waster and has entertained me far longer than I thought it would. Despite the fact that I don’t want to play the game for more than 10 or 15 minutes at a time, I do still pull it out fairly often. I rate this game a 6 for being a fun diversion, easy to build, and fast to play.
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Andreas Hellwig
Germany
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Thanks for the excellent review.thumbsup
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