Haven’t played this one tabletop, but I may well pick it up. I’m really impressed with Playdek–they’re the ones who did the Ascension port, as well as a vampire-themed deckbuilding game called Nightfall which I recommend checking out. Nightfall has a few too many opportunities to act in an opponent’s turn for it to work well asynchronously, but it’s a good port of an interesting game, and a great way to get your fix if you like the tabletop game but don’t own it/don’t have folks to play with all the time.
To be fair, I’ve only played it once, so I can’t speak to whatever nuance there might be among the sides. And I don’t have any problem with the production values, although the paper map was pretty awful.
My objection is that it’s too simple, even though it is two games. Two too simple games – a basic card drawing game and a basic tactical boardgame – don’t make one good game. It’s not even elegant! I can see it being a decent timewaster on the iPhone, but it’s not the sort of thing I’d want to play head-to-head at a table.
What do you like about the tabletop game? Am I maybe not giving it enough credit for the different decks?
I’m not a diehard fan or anything, but there’s a reason why it grew in popularity so quickly.
As you say it’s very simple to understand and play, but I would by no means call it a basic tactical boardgame and there’s quite a bit of strategy on how you play your cards because you have very limited resources. Do you play a lot of cheaper, weaker cards or can you afford to wait and bring out the big guns? And how do those things apply to your overall strategy in terms of both your deck’s strengths and your opponent’s weaknesses.
The tactics is where this game shines the most because I’ve found that the decks play COMPLETELY differently. The Tundra Orcs are slow but tough and can summon walls of ice to defend, blockade, and even force opponents down an advantageous pathway. The Phoenix Elves are generally weak, but have lots of range and make it really tempting to utilize your very weak leader’s special ability. The Goblins are all about swarming tactics and the Dwarves are all about turtling up.
And those are just the starting decks. The tactics get more diverse (and challenging to play as well) with decks like the Fallen Kingdom where they rely heavily on your opponent killing your units and the Vanguards deck that are really good at creating chokepoints and healing (which no other faction can do). Some decks like the Benders are really weird when it comes to tactics because they do a lot of screwing with your opponents deck and units, forcing them to sometimes make tough decisions in whether or not to kill their own units. :D
Anyway, I have to say that if anything Summoner Wars is one of the most tactically rich boardgames where every turn has you making really tough decisions, both strategically and tactically. It’s also surprisingly well balanced considering there’s so many decks and expansion packs out now.
My kids will actually play this boardgame with each other (without me asking them to play). They are all teens (15 - 19) so playing a board game on their own - that says a lot about the game, IMHO. :>)
I think it is fun and it plays fairly quickly (and as others have stated - there is a lot to learn about the tactics (learning to play a race well). Each of my kids has a different favorite race (which speaks to the games balancing).
I would have to say that the game will shine with kids (especially boys). I think the iOS version will be a big hit if it gets promoted.
My daughter likes the game too - I think it being quick makes it more tolerable for her (she would not be interested in a longer war game for example). Of course being the youngest of three brothers she likes to beat them at anything she can (she already beats them on many of the Xbox games - laugh).