Wednesday, August 23, 2017

REVIEW: Warhammer Age of Sigmar Open War Cards

A new addition to the game with the release of the General's Handbook 2017, Open War cards present you with a fun and exciting new way to play. What could a deck of cards possibly bring to Age of Sigmar? Well, a pretty innovative and fun way to approach scenario creation!

The packaging this deck of cards comes in is pretty slick. It's made of a nice, sturdy cardboard in a cigarette style box, meaning it will be easy to open and close. I don't have much fear of this box getting beaten up during travel. The design on it is nice and simple, using an iconic image from Age of Sigmar.

The General's Handbook has two pages on how to use these cards, but the deck also comes with a little fold out rules pamphlet. There's not much to go over, with the deck being divided into Deployment, Objectives, Twists, Ruses, and Sudden Death cards. The idea behind this is that you use the cards to generate your scenarios, practically guaranteeing that you won't replay the exact same scenario for a very, very long time. First you pick a deployment card, which will show you how to divide up the battlefield, then an objective card so you know what you need to do to win the game as well as where to place any objective markers. The last card you'll use for every game is a twist card, which just adds one more layer of special rules onto the game to make sure it's unique. The only time you use a Ruse card is if one player has less total wounds in their army than their opponent. You could easily change wounds to points and it would work the same. A Sudden Death card is picked if your opponent has double or more wounds/points than you. That's basically it, then you just play the game. In the General's Handbook they have some suggestions on how to run a campaign of linked games using this, as well as how to incorporate them into a tournament. I really like this latter idea, which essentially has the tournament organizer drawing the cards for the scenario at the start of each game. Everyone plays the same scenario, but no one knows what it'll be before the game starts.

There are 12 Deployment cards, which have a bunch of different ways to deploy your armies. Some of these are pretty unique and look like they would give you a pretty challenging game, but that's before you even find out what you're fighting for.

There are also 12 Objective cards with varying objectives for you to complete. These range from capturing objective markers, to killing the most models. War of Attrition, for example, has you keep track of how many wounds of enemy models you have killed (or points if you want to switch it up), and whoever has the highest tally at the end of the fifth battle round wins. The Prize instead has you fighting over an objective marker at the center of the battlefield which you must pick up and carry with you. Whoever is carrying it at the end wins. 

The Twist cards are exactly like they sound. They add another rules element to your game, ensuring that even if you manage to draw the same Deployment and Objective cards your games will still be different. Grudge Match has you ignoring all battleshock tests for example. There are 12 of these as well.

There are only six Ruse cards because you will not use them in every game. These are designed to help out an understrength player, giving them something a little extra to try and level out the battlefield. 

The Sudden Death cards are drawn if a player is severely understrength and are similar to the Sudden Death conditions from the core rules. Both these and the Ruse cards are kept secret so your opponent won't know what you're trying to accomplish until you want them to. The Vendetta card above gives you instant victory if your general slays their general. The amount of paranoia this would create for your opponent will keep them on their toes since they won't know if they should protect their general or not, since you may have a different Sudden Death card.

All of these cards have a piece of artwork of a key player from the Age of Sigmar narrative on the back, making them look very cool and polished.

All in all, these are a nice little addition to the game, and ensure you'll never be short of scenarios to play. While they have been developed for Open Play, with wounds being used instead of points, it's easy enough to convert them over for Matched or Narrative Play. I'm definitely excited to give them a try, and I particularly like the idea of running or participating in an Open War cards tournament. If you're tired of playing the same Matched Play scenarios over and over again and want to try something different, then these are definitely for you. At only $15 too they are a pretty good deal, giving you potentially hundreds of news games to play.

Until next time,

Tyler M.

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