One of my favorite things about moving toward these monthly features is that I can take on different roles as a fan of games. I’m absolutely capable of falling victim to hype, no matter how much I might fight tooth and nail against the latest hotness trends in the hobby. However, my hype is less for the abundance of sculpted miniatures, or the latest multi-hundred dollar full-back pledge level with 99 Kickstarter Exclusive unlocks running on Kickstarter, or even the latest Stonemaier title to hit the wild (although I do admit, Tapestry turned out to be far better in the first play than I anticipated). I am more likely to get hyped for the latest titles from some of my favorite publishers, just like I’m sure many of you are, and White Wizard Games falls into that category. And so this morning, when there was an email announcing the latest game to hit their lineup – well, let’s just say I wouldn’t do much for a Klondike bar but I’d bend over backwards to get an early review copy of the game….
But before I talk about why I am extremely excited about KAPOW!, I wanted to create some useful content with some first impressions of Epic Card Game. I finally got in two games of it a few weeks ago, and was overall impressed with the quick-pacing and easy-to-understand flow of the game. Anyone who has played Magic: The Gathering will feel at home with the premise of playing events and deploying Champions to form your army which you will use to try and defeat your opponent. The clever twist in this game, and this is the thing that really impressed me, is that cards either cost 0 or they cost 1 coin. You get 1 coin to spend during each turn, meaning I have a coin to spend on my turn, and I have a coin to spend during my opponents’ turn. There are some insanely powerful cards in there, but when everyone feels overpowered it turns out to strike a sense of balance. Games are really fast, and armies of Champions can fill out quickly in the game. We used completely randomized decks of 30 cards from a single starter and had a really good time of it. It can only get better going forward, once we both take time to customize decks to use in the game.
The best thing about Epic is that it skips all the boring “ramp” of deploying puny cards and slowly building up to be able to play something fun in 7-10 turns – assuming a game would last that long. You can play your most powerful card on the first turn of the game, but so can your opponent and you want to make sure that powerful card isn’t lost quickly as a result. Because there is no stressing about resource generation, you also are able to focus on filling your deck with exciting cards and players are always on an equal footing in terms of what they could do.
However, it isn’t a perfect product. There are so many keywords, and you need to turn to the center of the rulebook to look them up – a printed player reference for each person playing is going to be a must for quick and easy reference of what these keywords mean. Some will complain about there being only 1 of each card in the game, when you could ideally construct decks with 3 of each card. This means some players are going to feel compelled to buy in at 3 of every product in order to have a maximized card pool for deck construction. If that doesn’t bother you (and it doesn’t bother me, as I don’t need 3x of every card!) the price to play this game is extremely reasonable at about $15 for the base game and plenty of expansion boosters that run around $5 each for a fixed set of cards. Going all-in on the game is not too far off from a normal board game, and there is plenty of fun to be had even with just the base game. I backed the latest Kickstarter for the Duel/Jungle sets before playing the base game, and I am pleased with that decision now that I tried the game. Turns out this is going to be a fun and solid one for my collection that I will eventually want to own everything for.
But first, I need to buy the bigger box because, well, there is no room for expansion cards in the base box.
And now to hype their newest game: KAPOW! A Fast and Furious Buildable Dice Superhero Game. This looks like it checks so many boxes for me:
* Superhero theme
* 2-player dueling game
* Simple ruleset
* Fast and engaging gameplay where the “complexity” comes from the decisions made in-game rather than an overwhelming rules overhead.
* Customization of certain dice over the course of the game, allowing you to adopt strategies on the fly based upon how things are unfolding
I’ll be honest here, I hadn’t heard of KAPOW! Until this morning. Had I known about it, I probably wouldn’t have backed the Kickstarter because I don’t go in on those very often. However, I would have definitely considered it and found a way to get this into my collection before now. With the folks at White Wizard getting involved, this can only mean great things for a game that already sounds great. Because while dueling with a few Superheroes and Supervillains is fun and all, getting more variety in the future is going to be a desirable thing. And I have a hunch that this game is going to get expanded beyond the game that already exists. I’m not saying I’ll buy everything KAPOW!, but I’m also not saying I won’t. If it plays half as good as it sounds, this will be a game I will gladly own and expand in my collection for many years, much like Hero Realms, Star Realms, and Epic Card Game.
My biggest hope with the game, like any game I end up loving obsessively, is that they develop some strong lore for the game. They don’t need to go as far at Greater Than Games did with their Sentinels of the Multiverse line, but I’d love something. As a writer, and as a fan, I want to know the background of the world, and to know more of the characters than just their simple stat sheet with various powers.
If you are at Essen, I’m jealous of you because you can go try out the game. If you go to PAX Unplugged this year, I’m more jealous because it sounds like it will be available for purchase there. And this game is very, very high right now on my wishlist of games to play because it simply sounds like it will be a lot of fun. If you want to learn more, check out the announcement from White Wizard Games here: