Lords of War Card Game Review

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lord of warLords of War: Orcs versus Dwarves is a dual-deck strategic card game for two-plus players which sees fantasy races engage in dynamic, tactical card battles.

Orcs versus Dwarves was the first Lords of War game to be released, in December 2012, at the Dragonmeet Game Fair in London. The game went on to win the Best Strategic Card Game Award at the UK Games Expo 2013, along with Lords of War: Elves versus Lizardmen.

During Lords of War battles players use hands of 6 units, drawn from their total ‘army’ of 36 cards, playing one card per turn at the start of their turn.

Cards have unique formations of Attack Arrows on their edges and corners signifying which adjacent cards they attack once played, and the damage they will do. Some cards also have Ranged Attack values. Each card then has a Defence value which, when exceeded by attacking cards, sees that card defeated.

At the end of a player’s turn, once combat has been resolved, the player can then either draw a new card from their army deck to return their hand back up to 6 or retreat a unit that has not engaged in combat during that turn.

The game is playable out of the box and contains two complete armies – the Orcs and the Dwarves.

These factions are differentiated by their exclusive cards and strategies; the Dwarf faction plays more defensively, using some Ranged cards and powerful Berserker units to pick-off assailants, while the Orc army encourages players to attack more vigorously, often committing kamikaze moves to their tactical advantage.

Orcs versus Dwarves is cross-compatible with Elves versus Lizardmen, meaning that all the Lords of War armies can be used to battle one another. The armies can also be blended together, using a strict Ranking System, to create Mercenary decks for tournament play.

About Black Box Games and Lords of War, from the Lords of War website:

“Black Box Games was founded in 2010 by Nick Street and Martin Vaux. The two teachers, having met through mutual friends, soon realised that they had both been designing games as a hobby in isolation for years and that maybe, just maybe, two heads were better than one.

After months of dusting off prototypes stashed away in attics or stacked at the back of dusty cupboards, showing one another new games and old, discussing their ideas, favourite genres, themes and intentions, they tried to narrow down the scope of their focus.

Lords of War bubbled to the top as the first priority project.

The game, originally inspired by table-top war gaming, had been a rough idea for almost 10 years. The prototype had sat quietly, unplayed, waiting for its moment in the sun.

Nick and Martin spent months re-engineering the game from the ground up, attending game shows and surveying players, taking their prototype decks to gaming groups and running tester sessions, using feedback to improve and refine the mechanics and shaping their concepts of what gamers really wanted.

After meeting with publishers, speaking to other start-up games companies and securing some investment, Nick and Martin embarked on the processes of bringing the game to market themselves.

This involved securing award-winning artist and graphic designer Steve Cox to breath life into the Lords of War characters and game mechanics. From January 2012 Steve has been working to help consumers to see and interact with the ideas Nick and Martin had been carrying around in their heads for years.

Alongside the development of the physical product, Nick and Martin also struck up a working relationship with Tom Miles and Joss Adley, two veteran video games designers working at Creative Assembly on the spectacularly successful Total War franchise.

Tom and Joss saw the potential in Lords of War to create an exciting and original video game experience, and began designing a digital version of the game for smartphones and tablets.

They in turn commissioned the help of composer Rob Watson to add the stirring scores and sound effects befitting the blossoming game.

In December 2012, the first physical product from Black Box Games was released to the public in the form of Lords of War: Dwarves vs Orcs, an expandable, customisable card game.

This first release will be quickly followed by Lords of War: Elves vs Lizardmen, an independent, complementary product, playable with Lords of War: Dwarves vs Orcs, containing all the same mechanics but new tactics, artwork and opportunities to customise and personal player decks.

Moving forward, there will be more Lords of War core packs released, with complimentary expansions to follow, all of which will expand the Lords of War universe and ensure that the game remains forever fair, forever innovating and forever a product made by gamers for gamers.

As for Black Box Games, outside of the Lords of War universe we have innumerable other games, card, board and digital, that are ready to be brought to market.

All we need now is fans. Fans to buy the games, to support us, to guide us, to spread the word and play our games.

Lords of War Fantasy Battles is only the beginning. Lords of War Historical Battles, Steam Punk Battles, Sci-Fi Battles and much more are in the pipeline – and that’s just within the purview of the Lords of War gameplay system and mechanics.

Other games set within the Lords of War universe are also ready to roll, the plans for which we are keeping very close to our chest.

Beyond that, we have games set in the real world today, in other universes, in defined historical epochs and even within dreams, all of which we want to share with you.

Lords of War: Dwarves vs Orcs is only the beginning. So welcome to the start of something really special, and thank you for being part of our journey.”

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