Kings and Kingdoms: A Review of Age of War
Take on the role of a medieval king, conquer Europe and beyond, wage deadly wars, and build an empire…all in this casual 45 minute card game.
In Age of War card game, players are competing for a certain number of kingdoms. Each kingdom is made up of three territory cards of a single color.
On your turn, you draw standard cards and one territory card. You may then take up to three actions. During the early portion of the game, until all territories have been played, one of these actions must be to play a territory. Other actions you can choose from are playing other cards onto the table (these can include such things as mission cards which grant you special abilities, building cards, or soldiers which you play facedown on specific groups of territories to protect them), attacking another player’s territory, or upgrading a building you’ve constructed in one of your kingdoms.
Each set of three territories is a unique color, and a color wheel is provided to show which territories are considered neighboring each other. You may only launch an attack against an opponent’s territories if it or they are either the same color or one of the neighboring colors, to the territories or kingdom your troops are attacking from.
Combat is determined by the players of the attacking and defending armies, choosing the order their soldiers will appear in a facedown stack, and then revealing them one by one. Combat works out similarly to a game of rock-paper-scissors, with spearmen beating cavalry, cavalry beating swordsmen, and so on. Things are complicated a little more with elite troops earned throughout the game, and archers whose success is determined by the roll of a die.
It’s always a treat when someone takes a usually complex game genre and finds a way to make it more casual and accessible for a wider audience. This is exactly what Age of War card game does with wargames.
The rock-paper-scissors type aspect of the combat was one of our favorite parts of the game, with such a fun combination of luck, reading other players, and theme. The color wheel also does a great job of giving the territories a sense of position and posing some difficult strategical decisions, while once again keeping gameplay relatively simple.
There are still quite a few small rules you have to go over while teaching the game and some players might enjoy a little bit more luck than is present in this strategy-heavy card game. But Age of War card game really does offer a great deal of depth and decisions, from the mission cards to building and upgrading structures in your kingdom, without taking the game out of the realm of casual gameplay. In addition, the game does a good job of supporting two to five players, and it’s fun to see the ways your strategy has to subtly shift as you add more players to the mix. Turns are also pretty fast, so even in games with more players, there's not too much downtime.
If you’re a fan of wargames and want to introduce them to your casual game-loving friends, or if you just like a lot of strategy in your casual games, Age of War card game would be a great choice for you.
Pros: Very fun combat system, great job at simplifying wargames for a casual audience
Cons: May be too strategy-heavy for some players, takes a little while to remember some of the smaller rules
Disclosure: we received a complimentary review copy of this game.