I’ve always had a thing for card games. Whether it be a tournament card game, a quick deck-builder, or a cooperative superhero romp, there have been many a great time had. Thus, War of Supremacy, an upcoming Kickstarter title from a local Australian designer, seemed like it would be well within my gaming tastes. Did it go down as well as many others had? Well, without further ado, let’s get right to it!
First, a disclaimer. When I first received the game, I was told that the target audience for it was the casual card player, not the hardcore tournament gamer. As I fall into the latter category, this is obviously a game not made for yours truly. With that being said, I have strived to look at this through the lens of a more casual gamer, but my own preferences will likely colour my opinions.
War of Supremacy is a mix of hand management, set collection (kind of), and king of the hill area control. All players draw from a shared deck and attempt to assemble the most powerful armies possible in order to secure various battlegrounds. You’ll need to find powerful warriors or mighty beasts with shared factions or traits in order to get them to work together. If you manage to unite powerful armies together and obtain sufficient battlegrounds, you’ll find yourself the victor of the War of Supremacy.
I’ll start with the good. For starters, War of Supremacy is relatively simple to learn. After around five minutes of explanation, you’re ready to sling cards and battle your friends, perhaps with a few questions here and there as you go. For a casual card gamer, the complexity is at the perfect level. In terms of graphic design, the layout and icons are all clear and crisp. It’s easy to find all the relevant information you need to, with virtually no clutter. The art, while nothing out of this world, is generally pretty solid.
The strongest mechanism in the game is the hand management aspect. It is often difficult to decide whether to commit heavily, lightly, or not at all to a conflict. Commit too much and you’ll find yourself unable to handle future battles very effectively. Commit too lightly, and you may be giving your opponents the opportunity they need to build up their own hands. I found myself debating this very thing on multiple occasions, torn between smashing my opponents meagre force to smithereens with a force of blobs and archers, or keeping the big boys back for future turns.
There are a couple of aspects of War of Supremacy that I found detracted from the experience. For starters, the game has a large amount of variance. The deck consists of cards of a wide range of power levels, with some epic and legendary cards vastly outclassing their common and rare brethren. On top of that, due to the need to play armies that all share the same trait or class, it is possible that your draws simply give you very few options as far as army creation goes. You can simply be vastly outdrawn, or find yourself unable to really do very much on your turns. For me, this is the largest issue.
Additionally, I found that, in fairly balanced games (that is, where the draws are relatively even), the game can actually really stagnate. In a two player game, the first battleground was still being contested after six turns! Part of this was due to the combat switching mechanism, as well as various effects which allow players to win a battle if certain conditions are met. This often meant defence was incredibly difficult, and caused the game to feel as though it was stalling. When I think of casual card games, I often expect them to be fast and action packed, something which I personally didn’t find true of War of Supremacy.
One final thing that I personally think could use some tweaking is the infrequency in which some abilities activate. Some of the locations in the game only trigger if you roll a six on a standard die, but you roll for them every turn. These effects tend to be relatively minor, and I never really understood why they didn’t trigger more frequently. As it stands at the moment, they feel extremely tacked on.
War of Supremacy was never going to be the game for me, given I am most assuredly not its target audience. For a much more casual crowd who doesn’t mind a bit of chaos, this may be far more appealing. There are some interesting interactions within the game, and the core ideas of the game are solid. Personally, I think the overall execution leaves a little to be desired.
Official Website – http://www.losttreasuregames.com/war-of-supremacy/