Bruno Gaia
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(reviewed after 12 games or so with only the core set and 20 more with Assault)

Before I start this review, I think it’s important to say that I’ve tried three of FFG’s LCGs so far: the “Cthulhu” one, “A Game of Thrones” and last but surely not least “Warhammer : Invasion”.

Each time I tried the games at length using only the core set even if, being an ex-Magic player I know all about the C in CCG or LCG…

Let me put it bluntly: to me it seems just fair that someone who’s spent 35euros (the average price of one of these boxes here in France) gets a proper game with the core set, no matter if it’s LCG or XVWD or BETA12.

I know it may sound ludicrous to some of you, BUT let me remind you of the fact that there are plenty of good games out there for the same price, and games that are good without the need of a single expansion!

The “Cthulhu” game we traded after a dozen games, and that notwithstanding the fact that we (my wife and I) are both Lovecraft fans. Not fun enough with only the core set: it felt like something that was definitely sub-par and would indeed need a lot of expanding and deckbuilding to become really endearing.

“A Game of Thrones” was an even bigger disappointment, even making me my first (and I hope last) rant on how much I hated FFG for making people buy a game that wasn’t fun (and even felt unplayable) for two with only the core set. Anyway, that game made me discover the books, which I’m reading right now and I can only thank AGoT for that since Mister Martin’s work is sheer brilliance.

And then came “Warhammer: Invasion”

I had traded “ACoT” for it with a friend and, to be honest, we started playing with a LOT of suspicion.

But the magic was there, at last!

Now let me warn you: I will definitely NOT go into details, since a lot of people have done that already and the rules are online anyway. I’ll just stick to what makes W:I really special.

And, I think one can talk of genius here, with a very simple and brilliant game mechanic that makes W:I stand out in the crowd: each card can be used in three different ways! Easy eh! You can get more money (in the kingdom area), or draw more cards (in the quest area) or prepare your attack (in the battlefield area), depending on which side of your stronghold (a big, beautifully illustrated tile) you place it.

And… Well: that’s about it!

All the rest is a good card game, with combos and deckbuilding possibilities for those who like that, the Warhammer universe, some of the best illustrations ever seen on cardboard and your usual card’s effects and factions that play differently and can sometimes feel unbalanced (but, in my experience are not very much unbalanced, and not so much that it might really spoil two games in a row anyway)

But it’s the very core of the mechanic that makes all the difference. With it, no “mana leak”, since you’re the one in charge of balancing between getting money, or cards or guys in your battlefield area to attack the enemy’s stronghold.

And then there’s also the huge amount of choice provided by the attack defense system related to the aforementioned core mechanic: since the same cards allow you to get more resources or cards, will you defend your area or not? Cause if you do, the chappies that gave you the dough or the cards might get killed while defending (in fact the surely will get killed)… The risk of seeing an area burn (two burning areas are a game over) is high, but more than often it’s worth it if it means building a strong army to counterstrike!

Really, really great.

For those who couldn’t be bothered and went straight to, the end:

Warhammer : Invasion is a very good game and provides a really pleasant experience with only the core set. Assault on Ulthuan is a must buy since it allows to play six races instead of four but you clearly can have plenty of good fun with only the core set.

Mister Lang, your name may have appeared in a few games that disappointed me, but the simple fact that I shines on this one makes you, in my opinion a real master in the art of designing card games. On its own, the mechanic that allows one to play a card in three different ways defines W:I as a masterpiece, which it is.

Addendum: and since we had a really good experience with the core set, we’re planning to invest in some more cards (starting with the “Legends” expansion) and start the deckbuilding experience. Now that’s what I call a marketing plan that runs smoothly
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fightcitymayor
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You didn't find the Dwarves to be overpowered with just the Core Set?
It's a common complaint.
(Although I think I had the mirror image of your experience: Cthulhu and Thrones both had me happy & wanting more, whilst W:I kinda turned me off with just the Core Set.)
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Dave Kudzma
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As for my opinion: See my microbadges
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Brian McCormick
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Great review! I'm a big W:I fan myself.

My wife made a comment the other day that your review reflected: there's a satisfying economy-building aspect of W:I that is entirely free of the mana-screw present in a lot of other card games.
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Nate Rethorn
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I played W:I through the base set and the first cycle before stopping. This review makes me want to pull my cards out again and give it a go. Nice job!
 
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Alex H.
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I am happy for you that you found a LCG that you really like. For me W:I becomes so much better with a few battle packs that I would never go back to just the base set.
Anyway, I don't think the triple usability of cards is all that novel. In all LCGs I can think of you actually have something similar: 3 ways of using your card out of a single zone or three zones. For me, this initially feels very distinct but after a few plays I have come to the concluision that the designs are really quite similar - at least in that regard.
 
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Bruno Gaia
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Being a Geek is a sure sign of a sound mind, cause it means you think that life as it is is dull and should be more interesting. Which it is.
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fightcitymayor wrote:
You didn't find the Dwarves to be overpowered with just the Core Set?
It's a common complaint.
(Although I think I had the mirror image of your experience: Cthulhu and Thrones both had me happy & wanting more, whilst W:I kinda turned me off with just the Core Set.)


About the dwarves, I'd say... Yes, sort of... But as I stated, nothing that really spoilt a night.
Especially since my last terrible bashing was me being literally smashed with the dwarves against Chaos due to a minor mistake of resource/draw management in the beginning!

I really can't find any real complain about W:I. But it's just my opinion.
 
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Simon Webster
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Very nice review, thanks

I picked this up myself just last week and so far I'm having a blast with it. I've tried it with 3 other players and they all liked too.


 
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Paul Grogan
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I played a few games of W:I and found it ok. Simple enough rules with some tactical choices, but nothing major.

I then discovered CoC LCG and haven't played W:I since. CoC has so much more depth to it. It is a more complex game, with more difficult decisions, and as a mirror to the OP, I found that playing with just the core set was far more enjoyable and had far more replayability that the W:I core set.

But, everyone is different. Having also played a fair bit of GoT LCG, I think W:I is the weakest one for me, but I can easily understand how some people are put off GoT as it can be overly complex and took us 3 hours for our first (and very confusing) 4 player game.
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