Dominion was a bolt out of the blue, like space Invaders heralding a new genre of games. It was new. It was different and it was cloned to death. We had some good games in a similar vein like Ascension and Star Realms and some not so good like Thunderstone.
Now I need to qualify this I’ve only played the first edition of Thunderstone and there’s been multiple editions and versions since then so it has to have improved and people have to be liking and buying it.
Valeria Card Kingdoms is similar to Thunderstone. Each player is a hero wrangler recruiting warriors, mages and various brawlers, killing big scary monsters, taking over lands and castles and generally having a good old fantasy time but more accurately accumulating score.
Players start with a basic set of cards just like Star Realms and sink their money into bettering their economy and upping their offensive. The board is made up of a grid of cards that can be bought for gold, power and wildcard mana. At the top are a number of stacks of progressively tougher monsters which require a minimum level of power and possibly magic to kill. Below the board are a set of lands, castles and various yokes that you can buy to score points and boost one of your incomes.
Unlike say Star Realms all your cards are laid out in front of you and everyone can see them. Each of the cards you have show a number at the top between 2 and 12. On the turn you roll two dice and either combined or singly or both the cards with the matching numbers pay out. Everyone else gets a minor payout if they have matching numbers on their cards so every turns sees an impressive amount of resources building up. You’ll need it. It’s Dublin prices for everything.
Cards are usually multi-function and building up chains are key to winning. This card gives me mana each turn. This one doubles mana and coverts it to gold etc. keep your eyes open for combos or you’ll be left behind. It’s not a difficult game and most things are obvious but you’ll kick yourself if someone else pulls a move you could have been doing for the last six turns.
There is the normal amount of cock blockery and some in your face cards for stealing resources but it’s primarily a race
The game rattles on until a set number of stacks are exhausted (or the players) and it’s count your cards, cry me a river.
The game is a decent length. Under an hour and dependent on numbers. It scales well. The artwork is excellent. The pieces nice and sold and the card stock good. It takes as much board space as any good game but if can become a messy affair. Don’t gesticulate wildly around this game and get a wee box to hold your resources
It’s a good game. I’d never played anything in the Valeria series but I found it solid and fun and well worth a look. That’s if. That’s all I have to say. Now go. Get gaming