Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Beautiful artwork, good enough game

The thing that initially attracted me to Blue Moon was the artwork.

The game was designed by the world-renowned Reiner Knizia, whose games I usually enjoy, and it's his first attempt at a customizable card game, which is an intriguing notion. It's a two-player game, which we're always on the lookout for, and it was published by Fantasy Flight Games, the publisher we probably own the most games from.

But really, it was the artwork, which is absolutely stunning.

The cards are quite a bit larger than standard playing cards, and they don't have much game information on them, leaving more room for the images. And with nine expansion packs, that's a lot of pretty cards to look at.

Imagine what a relief it was to discover that the game is pretty fun to play, too.

Each player chooses a faction to play and builds a deck based on that faction's leader card. Players can use the decks included in the base set and expansions right out of the box, or they can mix and match cards as they like, much like any collectible card game but without the rewards and frustrations that come with collecting rare cards.

Games are played in a series of battles, wherein players play out characters, aided by support cards. Each new character played replaces the last, and must match the strength of the opponent's most recent character. If it cannot, the opponent wins that battle and attracts one of the three dragon miniatures from the middle of the table to their side, or back to the middle from the opponent's side. Then the cards are cleared and a new battle begins. A player wins as soon as they have attracted all three dragons to their side.

As usual for Reiner Knizia, the game is based on the manipulation of numbers in a way that is interesting, but is a little too simple and generic, and it stops short of being truly immersive. It really is the artwork that holds your attention.

Rating: 4 (out of 5) A visually stunning game, and the deck customization and number of factions means it has a lot of replay value, but the game play is just a little on the simple side.

Date played: November 30, 2013

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