Monday, January 25, 2016

100 Swords - Game Review

I got another one of the games I backed on Kickstarter recently.  This time it was 100 Swords published by Laboratory Games.  It is described as a micro deck-building game.  My pledge to the Kickstarter project got me 2 game decks and 4 Dungeon Builder sets.

The idea behind the game is that you and your opponent (an imagined opponent if you are playing solo) are exploring a dungeon in an effort to find the most treasure.  The things you find in the dungeon are pretty much all worth something.  Some items are acquired by spending energy and others you have to fight to win their treasure.  The items that cost energy end up in your deck and help you to better explore the dungeon.  Defeated monsters just end up in your treasure pile to be added up at the end of the game.  A game plays in about 20-30 minutes.

Artwork
I am not real picky when it comes to art.  The art in this game looks fun if maybe a little simple, but it fits the theme and depth of the game.



Component Quality
This game only uses cards.  The cards are of decent thickness and are printed well.  The images are clearly defined and I haven't noticed any bleeding of the colors.

Game Play
Players take turns using their hand of 5 cards to enter the dungeon and look around, fight monsters, or collect items.  At the end of your turn you leave the dungeon.  The fun thing is that just because you saw something in a room doesn't mean your opponent knows what is there.  When you enter a room, unless you encounter a monster or door, or you collect the card, then it stays face down.

Cards from your hand serve 3 functions; you can spend cards as energy to collect items in the dungeon or rent items from the shop, you can use cards to move you through the dungeon, or you can use cards to fight monsters.

Before entering the dungeon on each turn, you can use 1 energy from your hand and the shop to rent an item for the turn.  The available items help in your exploration of the dungeon.

The game ends when the boss monster has been defeated or if there are less than 5 cards in the dungeon and no more in the dungeon's draw deck.  Then both players total the treasure in their deck and treasure pile; the player with the most treasure wins.

Solo Game Play
I have been playing more and more game solo and this game comes with a solo variant built in.  The game doesn't change much for solo play.  After each of your turns, the leftmost and rightmost cards remaining in the dungeon are revealed (if they weren't already) and the high treasure value is collected by the AI.  If the cards have equal values, the player chooses which the AI collects.

The AI doesn't have to pay for any of these cards, it just gets them.  If some expensive cards pop up early if can be hard to win, but it is still a fun challenge to try to get a better treasure horde.

Expansions
The dungeon builder sets offer a different variety of cards and new bosses to offer different challenges.  The Kickstarter came with 4 of these sets.  You can add several at once for longer and more varied games.

Overall Thoughts
This is definitely a filler game.  It has light rules and plays very quickly.  It is a little puzzly in that you need to use your limited hand in the most efficient way if you want to win, but the challenge isn't all that complicated.

I could see the game getting boring after a bit without the dungeon builder sets, but with those, there is quite a bit of variety that can be added.

I have enjoyed playing this game and think it fits well into my collection.  

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