Today we're doing a Double-Double-Take Review--first of Battle for Sularia, and then a preview of the first command pack expansion: Blood, Profit, and Glory, which just launched on Kickstarter.
Battle for Sularia is a card-based battle game for 2 players. It comes with two pre-constructed decks (one from each Faction: The Jotune and Synthien), as well as plenty of extra cards to build your own decks!
So is Battle for Sularia worth rolling up your sleeves and duking it out with your friends? Let's take a look!
Before we take a look at the gameplay you should understand the areas where your play cards. Looking at the picture we've included from the rule book will help out with this a lot!
There are lots of areas, but the four main ones are the Influence row, Rear and Front rows, and the Combatant zone. The Influence, Rear, and Front rows are rows that play on top of each other, and the Combatant Zone is to the right of them. The rows are important because you can't attack sites that are in the Rear row if there is a Site in front of them in the Front row. So that will inform your strategy as you build out cards.
Players start with 25 hit points to start the game, and you'll need to keep track of that with a damage counter, dice, etc.
The game plays in a series of phases which breakdown like this:
- Reset: You'll reset any expended cards by standing them up--think untapping.
- Draw: Draw two cards from your deck. (Keep in mind the you lose the game if you're out of cards! So there will only be at most 15 turns in the game... you know, because of math.)
- Influence: Play a card face down in your Influence row.
- Site: Play Sites into either your Front or Rear row. These Sites can only use the amount of influence you have in your influence row.
- Sularium: Get Sularium (the currency) by adding up how much Sularium you're producing on all of the cards you have in play.
- Combatant: As long as you can afford them you can play combatants, and they cost Sularium.
- Attack: Make attacks with your combatants on your opponent's sites.
- Discard: Just discard down to seven cards.
- End: Any effect or modifier that says it ends at the "end of turn"... end now.
Attacking is one of the biggest aspects of the game as it's the way you deplete your opponent's life points. To attack you'll commit attackers to a Site, in hopes of destroying it. Blast through damage can be dealt, but your opponent will also lose hit points relative to the amount of the site's Influence cost.
The other term you'll come across is the "Command Window." This window opens at the end of the Draw, Influence, Site, Sularium, Combatant, Attack, and Discard phases. That's a lot of Command Windows! A Command Window gives the players a chance to react to what just happened. They can reveal cards in their Influence row, play Tactic cards from their hands, etc. The player with priority (the player whose turn it is) gets the first chance to play a card, and the Command Window stays open until both players pass. The cards are resolved in backwards order of how they were played.
The game ends at the end of a round (both players having a turn equals a round), if one player has zero or fewer life points. It's possible that both players could have fewer than zero life points after a round, and in that case the player closest to zero wins.
The Battle for Sularia Verdict
Firestone--The various rows and keywords take some getting used to, but once you have those down, it plays smoothly. People keep asking how this compares to Magic, but really they're completely different beasts. For one, this is more like an LCG than a CCG. For another...well, Magic is just a practically perfect game. I understand why people don't like it because of the money you spend and some of the darker themes that can spring up. If you're looking for a Magic killer, this isn't it. If you're looking for a science-fiction themed non-collectible card game with solid gameplay, this is right up your alley.
Jeremiah--The Command Window is probably the cleanest/most streamlined way of having players respond to actions that just took place. I've played some battle card games lately -ahem- no names please... that have some fairly convoluted turn order/response mechanics, that can really bog things down. I'm a fan of the Command Window for sure!
Jeremiah--The game length is great for this type of game as well. It doesn't over stay its welcome but if you wanted to play it in a sort of tournament setting you could get together and have at it all night while tweaking your decks, etc.
Firestone--I like that there are a finite number of turns. You never want a game to feel it's gone on too long.
Jeremiah--I enjoyed the theme and artwork of the game as well. Really nice illustrations that work really well with the style of gameplay!
Firestone--The artwork is terrific--though I prefer the Jotune just because it's a little brighter and less dark and muddy. (That dark does thematically fit the Synthiens.)
Jeremiah's Final Verdict--Battle for Sularia is more than clever game mechanics, it's set in a deep and interesting universe that drives the story and strategy. Did I mention clever mechanics? The game play is deep yet elegant, and a nice addition to your card battling collection! Nice job!
Firestone's Final Verdict--Battle for Sularia is a solid 2-player card game. The two Factions feel and play differently, and the game offers you interesting decisions. And I love the science fiction setting!
Blood, Profit, and Glory
This first Command Pack adds four new cards to each Faction, including slick new Combatants and tactics, and a Site for the Jotunes. The Synthians get a couple Combatants and a Condition. The pack also come with six neutral Mercenary cards that can be built into any deck. All of the cards included have four copies of each so you can tweak that deck just to your liking!
The Verdict for Blood, Profit, and Glory
Jeremiah--This is the perfect addition to a game like Battle for Sularia. It's textbook LCG format, and it works. A handful of cards that fit right in with the base game, and a new type of card that doesn't really add a huge wrinkle, but a nice bit of variety.
Firestone--I like the Mercenaries. The two distinct factions are one of my favorite things about Battle for Sularia. But it's also fun to have cards that aren't strictly for one side. And the mechanism for bringing them onto your side is cool and thematic, too. They come to the person who pays the most. What would you expect from a mercenary?
Jeremiah--It's totally worth checking out if you're into the base game, and fits seamlessly into your base game. The Mercenary cards are really sweet though and have some super awesome abilities!
Jeremiah's Final Verdict--Go get it! It's what you'd expect for an expansion of Battle for Sularia, and it has awesome cards! 'Nuff Said!
Firestone's Final Verdict--If you already like Battle's base game, this is a great way to get more cards for the game you already love. If you don't know about the game, you can get the base game and the expansion for a good price with the campaign.
Check out the Kickstarter here. You can get the expansion for $15, or both the base game and the expansion for $35.
Theology of Games would like to thank Punch-It Entertainment for providing review copies of Battle for Sularia. This in no way affected our opinions of the game.
Thanks for reading!