I was able to sit down at the Fantasy Flight booth during Gencon for a quick demo of their newest LCG (Living Card Game), Warhammer: Invasion. Do not consider this a full review, as the game was completely sold out by the middle of the 3rd day of the convention and will not be available until around October. When the game releases, expect a full review (spoiler alert: It’s fantastic).
Set in the Warhammer Fantasy setting, the core set will give you four decks consisting the Empire, Chaos, Dwarf, and Ork factions. The idea behind Fantasy Flight’s Living Card Game system is that it isn’t necessary to buy any cards beyond this core set. They will, however, continue to support the game by releasing boosters that will all have the same cards in each pack, a huge difference between games like Magic and the World of Warcraft TCG. You would only need to buy multiple boosters if you want duplicate copies of certain cards to build a more balanced deck for tourney play. While the LCG format makes it economically attractive, the simple and fun gameplay is the real gem of this game.
By the time I was able to try out Invasion and fall in love with it on the third day of the show, it had already sold out making it impossible for me to let you know what’s in the box first hand. I was able to sit down with a representative of Fantasy Flight to run through the rules and a few quick turns to get the basic feel of the game and ask some questions. As I stated, the game will come with cards for four factions from the Warhammer Fantasy setting and it is possible to mix factions as long as you do not combine Order with Chaos cards and vice versa. I was able to play my favorite (and best in my opinion) faction, Chaos, versus the Empire faction. While the game has those four factions, it is only a two player game.
To set up the game, you and your opponent place your “keep” in front of you. The keep is a sturdy and very well illustrated gameboard about the size of a typical greeting card envelope that you use to keep track of your resources and damage to the three different zones represented on the card. The zones are Kingdom, Quest, and Battlefield and represent the 3 different phases of your turn and have a power values. Once a zone takes a total of 8 damage it is considered destroyed, if at any time two zones are destroyed you lose the game. Note that a destroyed zone still allows you to collect resources and draw cards.
After you set up the game and draw 7 cards, you go to the Kingdom phase. This phase allows you to draw resources equal to the amount of power that the kingdom zone of your keep has. The power in that zone can be increased by playing units and support cards, therefore giving you more resources per turn. Once you collect your resources, you move on to the Quest phase. At this time, you draw an amount of cards equal to the power value in that zone. Having more units and support cards in this zone will allow you to draw more cards. This phase is also where you can spend resources to play your units and support cards in addition to laying a card face down to increase the hit points of any zone you’d like. I can’t recall the name for this action, but it is only possible to do this once per turn and only during the quest phase. The final phase is battle, where you declare where the units in your battlefield are going to attack and your opponent decides who would like to defend and then assigns damage to those units. Once finished, your turn is basically over and you may use any leftover resources to play tactic cards at any time. You’ll want to do this wisely as any unspent resources do not carry over to your next turn.
That is, of course, the quick and simple of the game. There are of course other little rules that were explained to me such as loyalty costs that would increase the amount of resources to play a unit or the ability to corrupt units to stop them from attacking/defending, but I only got a little taste of it. If you have experience with other collectible card games, you’ll find this very easy to pick up and enjoy. I would even recommend it to somebody who either loves Warhammer Fantasy or is looking for an excellent card game that won’t break the bank. Look for an actual review of the product after it is released as we will surely be picking this up!
Part of the PNG Gencon ’09 Wrap Up series of articles.