Calvin’s Commentaries: Volfyirion
So I ripped into the package of Volfyirion with a definite air of anticipation.
The games will soon be kickstarted from Tabula Games and expand upon the world of their earlier game Mysthea.
So let’s start with the obvious, the moment the wrapping was shredded and the cellophane cleared away, I flipped through the cards of Volfyirion and was immediately immersed in the excellent art. You could lose yourself in the game for some time just appreciating the art. I wish I could credit the artist but there is no mention on the prototype, but their art on this one is impressive.
So what is Volfyirion? The game is a competitive deck-building card game for two players.
Deck-builders are probably my third favourite genre, so again this one had my attention. While other games of the genre to allow for one-on-one play, games specifically focused on two-players are rare, so I was hoping this one would offer something good.
In terms of flavour, there is a back story that at least gives some context for the game.
“The unspoken rivalry between House Volarees and House Rufus escalated into war once they learned that it was possible to control Volfyirion, that dreadful dragon inhabiting the ruins of Kyradar,” detailed the rules print-out, (I had to go online for the latest version as the game was still in final design). “The desire to gain complete dominion over the powerful beast resulted in a conflict between the two forces, who were ready to employ any means necessary to stop the other. Their Cities are now nearly completely besieged while the battles rage on. Everyone tries to do their part: troops are stationed at the high walls, scouts venture to the ruins of Kyradar, civilians build anew what was destroyed, and scholars research forbidden tomes. However, the war is far from being over, because as long as a single enemy City is still standing, neither House will ever surrender.
“In Volfyirion, each player represents one of two ancient Houses of Mysthea. The goal is to conquer the other by destroying all enemy Cities. This is done by gaining points which can be spent to deploy strategic assets and attack.”
So if you are familiar with deck-builders each player starts with a small starter deck of cards, 10 in this case which is fairly standard for the genre. You draw five for a hand, with the cards generating; command, battle and knowledge points. It is the points that allow players to do things in the game.
Battle points are what you use to attack enemy cities.
Knowledge cards have a number of uses and are the most versatile asset you have.
Many cards will have more than one type of points associated with it, but unlike many games, you don’t have to choose which to use, as you gain all the points depicted.
In earlier rounds, you will want to build your deck by grabbing cards out of the asset row, but it helps to have something of a plan. Some cards have specific colours and if you can chain certain combos together you can unlock additional powers for a turn.
Many cards can also be removed from the game for a one-time effect. It is usually a significant bonus, but the sacrifice is the card is out of the game.
Other cards are added to your cities, building providing resources each turn, and soldiers adding defense against an attack.
The goal is to destroy your opponent’s cities, so battle cards are important, but there is also the dragon.
Did I not mention the dragon? It resides in its own city and can be called using knowledge to attack cities, which is a workable approach too. The dragon may be a tad overpowered, but the final version may tweak that.
That is perhaps the best aspect of Volfyirion, you have a lot of choices, both in your approach to winning and within the game, what you do with your resources at hand. The more choices, the greater the replay value of a game and this one has a lot to explore.
The game does start out at a slow pace as you build resources then suddenly gets very interactive as attacks are made, or the dragon gets called. In the end, games are pretty quick as well.
Ultimately the game feels a tad like Magic: the Gathering and Dominion had a baby, and it is quite a beautiful baby I look forward to watching grow up with a few expansions.
Thanks to fellow gamer Adam Daniels for his help in running through this game for review.