Saturday, September 17, 2011

Summoner Wars Master Set Review

This past Gen Con had a plethora of awesome games, both for purchase and demos! One game that our store actually had the opportunity to purchase early was the Summoner Wars Master Set by Plaid Hat Games.  Not only were the demo runners helpful and pleasant, but the owner allowed us to buy 4 new copies for our store 2 weeks before release.  Kudos to all of them for helping out hobby stores!  The Master Set received an incredible amount of attention by both new and experienced Summoner Wars players, so I thought it might be time to write a review. 

First, let me tell you a little about the previous editions of Summoner Wars. Prior to the Master Set being  released, there were 2 Starter Sets available, which were great for 2-player battles.  They also had Faction Decks and Reinforcement Packs, some of which are pictured below.

All of these decks and packs are fully compatible with the Master Set, and there are even extra slots in its packaging to fit them!  Conversely, any player would be able to set aside the more special, customizable cards for easy use, or another pre-made deck if that was preferred.


When we first open the box, we see the 21-page rulebook, the 2 sides of the board, a bag of 5 dice, punchable tokens, and 6 separate decks.  All of these are individually shrink-wrapped, sorted according to Faction, and are ready to play right out of the box. Notice the extra empty slots for more decks, both of your creation and future expansions of Plaid Hat Games.  Now that's what I call planning for your company!


First, each player must choose a deck, whether pre-made or customized.  The two sides of the board should be lined up like so...

...and the decks should be placed in the proper spaces.  As you can see, there are 3 card sections for each player; Draw Pile, Magic Pile and Discard. Each player picks their Deck, find their Reference Card, and begins the Starting Setup show on the Reference Card.  The remaining cards are shuffled and placed on the Draw Pile.  Roll a die to determine who goes first, and you're ready to go!


As board and card games go, Summoner Wars has a few more steps than average.  They are;

1. Draw
2. Summon
3. Play Event Cards
4. Movement
5. Attack
6. Build Magic

After all steps are completed, it's your opponents turn.  Can't remember all of it?  Don't worry, everything you need to know is in the easy-to-understand rulebook, including game terminology, victory conditions, lists of expansions, how to set-up the game for 3-4 players, and helpful tips on creating a more customized deck. 

All in all, the Summoner Wars Master Set is the perfect starting place for gaming newcomers or enthusiasts.  It has many decks already available, a very clearly written rulebook, easy to use cards and simple rules.  On a gamer learning scale (1=extremely new to gaming, 10=gaming professional), I would mark Summoner Wars as a 3.

 But that's just my opinion...why not pick it up and play for yourself? We have a copy ready to go in our Dragon's Den Library, so if you're in the area stop by for a quick game or demo!

Stasi "Dengirl" King

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