None among the plethora are more visually stunning than Squarriors: The Card Game.
From the box top that screams ‘look at me’ if it were sitting on a game store shelf, to the art on each card gleaned from the comic book series of the same name to the embossed card backs to the rulebook, this game is gorgeous to the max. I have no qualms in calling it the best looking game in our collection.
In fact, as you thumb through the cards provided, it’s easy to get lost in the art, a number of card depictions being so cool they’d make great art prints for a games room wall.
Aesthetically, from box top to rulebook, to cards, few if any games have done it better than Squarriors. This one is gorgeous to the max.
So how does the card game from Ash Maczko play?
Well, to begin with, Squarriors: The Card Game is a tabletop game based on the comic book series, Squarriors, which I actually reviewed at one point. The book has a bit of Watership Down feel for sure, with a dash of the Secrets of Nimh mixed in. I totally loved it.
In Squarriors TCG, there is no deck of cards to draw from, instead, all cards start either in play or in your hand, which is a neat aspect, as it lessens the ‘hope’ factor of drawing the card you need.
Your ‘deck’ (known as your Tribe in S:TCG) consists of 20 points worth of creatures, three domains to defend (your Council, Army, and Vanguard), and 10 Tactic cards that start in your hand; all of which are chosen by the player.
So a key aspect of this one is card selection, discovering which cards have synergies and putting together the winning selection of cards from the many provided. That effort will make the game for some. Certainly old Magic: the Gathering fans will enjoy the ‘building’ aspect which almost creates a solo element to the game.
And it will be a turn off for others who want to just play the game.
At any given time, each of your creatures is on the battlefield in one of your three domains, and each of these domains has a power variable that will be modified as the game progresses. If a domain reaches zero power it is destroyed and creatures there must move to one of the remaining domains controlled by that player. When a player has lost two of their three domains, they are eliminated from the game.
This is not a new mechanic, the idea of defending and attacking ‘sites’ to win and lose a card game. It remains a very workable scenario and certainly fits with the story as portrayed on the comic (not that reading Squarriors is required to play the game).
Each creature has several base statistics and many various abilities, keywords, and game texts. These creatures can take various actions and make different types of attacks depending on what domain they are in.
Again this is sort of boilerplate stuff in terms of such card games, but again it works to the theme.
Tactic cards, which start in a player’s hand, serve two functions. Initially, they can be used as an action, trap, instant, etc. But after they have been played, they serve a second function by being added to your strategy. Each of your three domains can host a strategy chain and each chain adds more layers of abilities and enhancements to your tribe. Each card in a strategy chain can gain new abilities or functions depending on the other cards connecting to them in the chain, explains the rules.
This is the most interesting aspect of the game, the one that plays to good ‘deck-building’ and wise card play.
Overall, this is a game that you will get as much out of it as you put in. The more you play, the better you will understand what works, and that will allow more creative card building, and ultimately a better game experience. This is not a game that will be loved out of the box, but like a good relationship, put the time in, and you might indeed be in love.
Check it out at www.shopcoldwar.us
Thanks to fellow Adam Daniels for his help in running through this game for review.