After a busy Thanksgiving with a fair amount of driving, I’m back to posting. We’re onto Cyber Monday, but I don’t have anything that I’m really looking for, so let’s talk about some games that you can give to that solo gamer in your life,…
Tag: Aeon’s End
Normally, this would be another Halloween article, because I’ve been doing those every Wednesday, tomorrow, since it is actually Halloween will be my Halloween themed article. Instead, you are getting more of my top 100 board games, which will wrap up on Friday. ***Disclaimer***These rankings…
So this is a game that I got to the table recently and had a blast playing. If you want to see a playthrough of it, you can go to the Malts and Meeples Youtube Channel or I have it on the site here. I originally found this game when I started watching the Rolling Solo Youtube Channel and watched his playthrough of it and the unique deck building made it look like a game that I’d enjoy.
In Aeon’s End: War Eternal, you play as breach mages who are trying to hold back giant monsters, nemesis, who are out to destroy the town of Gravehold. You prepare your breaches, cast spells, and buy new cards building up a deck to either outlast these giant monsters while taking out their minions, or to kill the giant monster itself. In the game there are basically always enough things to worry about to use your damage on, to heal Gravehold, and to buy that you don’t feel like you can do everything that you might want to do.
Let’s talk a bit about the unique deck building. In most deck building games, it doesn’t matter what order you put your cards into your discard pile because you end up shuffling the discard pile when you need to draw cards and are out. But in Aeon’s End: War Eternal and all the Aeon’s End games, it’s a bit different. The order you put your cards in matters because the discard pile doesn’t get shuffled, instead you simply flip it over, so if you’re very good at counting cards, you can set-up your hands so that you always have money (gems) and spells, or you can set it up so that you sometimes get a lot of money so that you can buy the best spell cards. I would say that playing solo makes it a bit trickier to stack your deck like you’d want. If I just had to focus on a single character, I’d likely be able to manipulate it more. But I found that very interesting, and it makes the game seem faster, especially solo, because I’m not having to stop to shuffle all the time.
Aeon’s End does another pretty unique thing, and that is with it’s turn order deck. You could compare it to an initiative track, but you don’t know it, and every time you go completely through initiative the order is shuffled up again. That means, if you are unlucky, you could have the nemesis go four turns in a row because it has two cards in the initiative deck. Now, that would be brutal, but you always have four player cards to the two initiative cards in the deck, so the odds of that happening are pretty low. I can see people not loving this part, but Aeon’s End: War Eternal gives you some more control not shuffling the discard pile, but then takes away control by having you not know the turn order. It’s a good tension point in the game, because the nemesis I played against in the live playthrough wasn’t too difficult, but if the nemesis had taken a few turns in a row, he’d have been much harder.
Finally, the last really unique thing that I can think of right now for Aeon’s End: War Eternal is the casting of spells. The casting one turn and it going off the next turn isn’t unique, but the idea of having to have these breaches open or being focused to cast spells is certainly interesting. And the fact that you can open them in any order is also interesting, though the higher numbered ones give you an advantage with extra damage, but they cost more. So do you want to rush to get one of those done early so that you can do more damage, but if you do that, you won’t be able to build up your deck as quickly.
Another thing that I like in games, but isn’t unique to Aeon’s End War Eternal is that it has variable player powers. Each character stars with a unique card in their deck that no other character has access to, so that starts unique. And their starting deck beyond that is also unique, so one character doesn’t feel like another character. But, to give each character more powers, they have special abilities that they can charge up, and these are themed to the character. One of the characters I played in the Malts and Meeples playthrough had healing abilities while the other did extra damage with their charged power. And each character has an ability themed to whom they are supposed to be in the game. So while the game doesn’t have role playing elements that you get in some of these fantasy games, it still has it feel unique.
I definitely enjoyed this game and it will go into the collection of deck builders that I have. I think it’s different enough and offers enough interesting choices that you can have it with other games from Dominion to Xenoshyft: Onslaught. I really like that the deck building aspect is more than just grabbing points, it gives you some real choices unlike, I feel, Dominion does. The game also feels thematic, which is something that Dominion doesn’t have, you feel like your own unique character which I really like. Looking at my favorite deck builders, having the unique character or starting point that you build a deck for is something I really look for in a deck builder, and something that I consider lacking in Clank! In! Space!, even if the rest of the game is really great.
Overall Grade: B+
Gamer Grade: B+
Casual Grade: B+
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I was back against last night with some Malts and Meeples, this time I was actually get to a playthrough of Aeon’s End: War Eternal from Indie Boards & Cards and Action Phase. Aeon’s End: War Eternal is a deck building game where you are…
Trying my hand at this for the first time to see how it goes to unbox something. Also, this was supposed to have gone up on Twitch, but I had issues where it said it was streaming there and it didn’t. You can find me…
So I normally do a lot of top fives at the end of the year in bigger categories, but I wanted to break it down for a few specific categories within board games so you can see what I really enjoy in the various genres and I’ll give my reasons why:
5. Magic the Gathering
Normally I don’t have games on a deck building list like this. MtG, though, is a deck building game, you just aren’t doing it actively in the game. But I would argue that a lot of the fun of Magic, though I really do like the game, is trying to build out that crazy deck that just might work. I think that part of the game can become too much when people start to take the game too seriously and go all in on the pay to win model. But putting together a deck that just might work, that’s a lot of fun. Then you get to test it out, go back to the drawing board, and try again. I really liked to create decks that would build towards a big finish if I could stay alive long enough. Best way to describe it is building the ticking time bomb deck that you know will blow up, but you don’t know when.
4. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle
A deck builder that has a good amount of theme. It feels, as you’re early in the game, that you’re playing through the books. The only odd thing is that you continue to add villains each game, so the further in you are, the more it feels like you’re playing through the series as compared to playing through a book. I wish that was different, but the cards themselves, and the characters as you open up more books and unlock more of the rules, feel like you’re playing as the different characters from the books and each has a different thing they are a bit better at, such as Hermoine with spells.
3. Clank! In! Space!
I really enjoy this game for the goofiness of the deck building. The cards are all references to various Sci-Fi shows, books, and movies. I also like it because it’s not something that is just a deck builder. You are building your deck, but you’re building it so that you can move around the space ship and gather the best treasure that you can. So the people you recruit and the cards you buy actually matter in the game for more than just something like victory points. The turns are also extremely fast in the game, which is great, because the game can take a little while to set-up with the modular board and all the different tokens and cards.
2. Xenoshyft: Onslaught
What you’ll notice about most of the games on the list is that they add a lot of plot to the game. Xenoshyft: Onslaught continues that as you are space marines fighting off waves and waves of bug monsters. What I like about this game is that you are using your cards and money to set-up your defenses for the next wave of bugs. So it has the theme of what you are doing, recruiting more troops and upgrading their equipment. I also like that you can help out your fellow players because if they are facing troubles in their lane of defense, you can help them prior to the wave of bugs or sometimes during the wave of bugs, so you can actually help build up someone else’s deck if you have your own engine working well already. It’s a very tough game, but I really like that about it, because you’re always feeling the pressure of getting the right pull.
1. Arkham Horror LCG
This game is amazing and I haven’t even played it a ton. It’s not your standard deck builder as you aren’t purchasing cards as you go, but between games you are gaining XP and upgrading cards or putting in new cards. Sometimes the scenarios even give you new cards you can add to your deck. This deck builder is closer to Magic the Gathering in the style you are building the deck because you build it prior to the game. But it is great because you have to build it in such a way to have some weaknesses that specific to your character(s) in the game, so each deck feels unique.
Now, just a few honorable mentions:
Century: Golem Edition & Not Alone, both great games, but they are really a hand builder versus a deck builder. The mechanics are pretty similar to deck building though, so can be HM’s
Marvel Legendary, I’m not the biggest fan of the game, some because there’s so much bloat that you end up just not getting the right combination of cards because you put together too odd a group of heroes. It can just be too swingy at times, but superheroes are awesome.
Aeon’s End/Aeon’s End: War Eternal/Aeon’s End Legacy, I’m going to be playing this soon, I’ve watched a playthrough of this game, it has enough extra going on with the monster you’re fighting and the spell slots, basically, that you can open up. It seems very interesting, and a deck builder that you don’t shuffle is very cool as you can theoretically stack the deck in your favor.
What’s missing from the list because I haven’t played enough or just didn’t like it that well:
Clearly there is no Dominion on the list. While Dominion is the grand daddy of them all, or at least the first super popular one, Dominion is a pretty boring game where the cards are themeless and could be anything. It’s a pure deck builder, but that’s about it.
Pathfinder Adventure Card Game is also missing from the list, it’s a pretty cool epic game, however, it’s supposed to be RPG like, and leveling up is just too slow. The game just needs to move a little bit faster. The same thing is the case with Shadowrun: Crossfire. I love the setting, and the game is cool, but the original printing was also just too slow to build to the cool things. I think that Harry Potter is the game that could be like this, bu t you feel cooler much faster.
What are your favorite deck builders? Which games would you recommend to people?
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