Calvin’s Commentaries: Vale of Eternity

Ever gone on a camping trip where you just open a few cans of whatever in on hand, toss it in a frying pan over the campfire, and end up surprised with just how tasty the result was?

Well, it feels a little bit like what game designer Eric Hong must have done when creating The Vale of Eternity.

This game has a card drafting element that uses the oft-seen snake draft style. There is nothing new with that but the tried and true works fine.

So yes this is a card game, and generally, they are nice cards.

The game hails from South Korea and the art has a sort of anime feel, a bit like the Pokemon cards I recall my son had as a youngster some quarter of a century ago. The art here is better, but there are commonalities, and it will not find favor with all.

The cards have a feel-good quality, but the edges on some cards were chipping after only a couple of plays. If ‘Vale’ became a regular to the gaming table card sleeves would be a near must.

The cards each have abilities and come in one of five colors. Some of the abilities are used when played ‘instant’ style, and others remain active throughout the game. If you are thinking that sounds a lot like Magic: The Gathering you are correct. That MtG flavor is most certainly in play.

Since you are drafting cards to sell for coins, hold for later, or pay to play immediately, there is also a ‘deck-builder’ element at play here.

Now the best part is that each card is doing something different, and players will be looking for synergies in that.

But the cards to be drafted are set around a wheel meaning the player is looking at some cards upside down. It is not easy to get to know the card abilities and will take some study, or slow gameplay early on.

It will also take some plays to fully appreciate what strategy works best. I did luck into a string of green cards that I was able to draft and they chained for some big points to walk away with a win.

The likelihood of getting the run of any color as I did in that game seems remote, and you are going to need a combination of colors clicking together to be successful.

In an earlier game, I thought I saw a blue synergy but it was a paltry effort that ultimately left me miles behind.

The most interesting thing is money comes in one, three, and six coins ‘denominations’, but you may only ever have four coins total.

When you spend coins to keep or place a card, if you have to overpay – use six coins to pay a four cost – you get no change back.

You are always going to be coin-poor, and you will need to draft cards simply to ‘sell’ for coins.

Initially, there was a fear the coin mechanism would be overly frustrating, but surprisingly that never seemed to be the case.

Components-wise the missing piece would be a player aid card that would give players a handy reference – without turning to the rulebook – for the definition of some of the card elements.

Overall The Vale of Eternity mixes a lot of well-known elements to create something that feels quite fresh and that was a pleasant surprise.

A game easy to recommend. Check it out at

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