Hello ladies and gentlemen, Harrison here. Earlier this month ATGN was lucky enough to receive a copy of Kamigami Battles: Battle of the Nine Realms and Kamigami Battles: River of Souls from Japanime Games to review. I took both along to my semi-regular board game night and sat down for a couple of games.
The physical game is of a very high quality, which is apparent from first opening the box. All of the cards are printed on a high-quality card stock, with no – that I was able to find – printing errors. Some of the storage options for the cardboard coins were a little flimsy, but other than that I couldn’t find a fault with the quality of the product.
Gameplay in Kamigami Battles is not simple and not intuitive, but neither is it incredibly dense or complex. Players take the role of various gods, goddesses and heroes from various mythologies – Greek and Norse in Nine Realms, Babylonian and Egyptian in River of Souls- and attempt to defeat all of the other player’s gods. To do so, you recruit various Hero and Disciple cards by generating and paying Faith, one of the in-game resources. Player turns consist of spending Disciples to generate Faith, which allows you to purchase additional Heroes or Disciples to add to your deck. Heroes are what actually allow you to advance the game by attacking other players or adding to your own side of the board. In probably the most non-intuitive part of the game, you don’t actually draw at the start of your turn. Instead you discard all cards remaining in your hand at the end of your turn, then draw five, ready to go for your next turn. Once all of the cards in your deck have been used, you shuffle your discard and go back around again.
Playing the game is reasonably similar to most deck-building board games. Your choices are limited by what Heroes are available as well as what win condition you are aiming for – either generating 25 Power yourself, or reducing all of your opponents to 0. Different Hero cards can link together based on what symbols they have, which can potentially put together some powerful combos. Or, if you have the attention of a goldfish like me, you forget which cards you have already bought and just pick the cool-looking ones.
Speaking of the cool-looking cards, it’s time to address the elephant in the room – the art in Kamigami Battles. If you were feeling charitable, you could say that it is a very expression of women owning their outfits and looking good. If you weren’t, you could instead say that it is borderline softcore porn.
The art is of a very high quality, don’t get me wrong. But, you would never show your parents. Some of the girls – and make no mistake, these are definitely girls – are wearing next to nothing at all. Some people will definitely find that a plus, but I am not one of those people. It distracts from what is legitimately a strong game system, with a lot of potential.
I really haven’t referred to River of Souls or Battle of the Nine Realms separately in this review, because there is honestly no point. Both game versions are identical in terms of what they contain in the box, other than what is physically printed on the cards. Think of them like Magic: The Gathering sets. Both are played exactly the same way, with the same rules used, but with different examples and interactions. Comparing the two, I believe that River has more complexity, more interesting interactions and is an arguably better version of the game, while Battle is more streamlined and has more iconic Gods – a whole lot more people know who Zeus and Thor are, especially compared to Marduk or Bastet.
Should You Buy This Game?
There is a very simple flow chart you can go through to make that decision.
“Do you like anime boobs and board games?”
If yes, you should strongly consider buying this game. If not, don’t.
In terms of which version (River or Battle), there is realistically almost no difference between the two. If you are looking for a more challenging and in-depth game experience, River is stronger in that regard. However, for a more casual playgroup – such as mine – Battle with more recognisable Gods and cards was the better version.
Check with your local store for Kamigami Battles or you can order your copy of Kamigami Battles and it’s expansions from the Japanime website directly – https://japanimegames.com/pages/kamigami-battles-resources