Ok, so you may or may not have heard of Warhammer Age of Sigmar Champions - a new trading card game that has just been released, hopefully this review will give you a bit more information about what it is, how it plays and how it compares.
Now I have played both Magic the Gathering & World of Warcraft (before its demise) TCG, both of which played differently from each other and Champions.
So Champions - whats the aim?
Each player has a life counter, usually ranging from the high 20's to low 30's. The aim of the game is to reduce your opponents health to 0 before they do it to you.
How do you reduce your opponents health?
You do this by playing Units / Abilities & Spells to do damage. You get to take two actions a turn, and each action allows you to play 1 card, or you can pass with your actions, and then you get to draw cards at the end of the turn.
Why is it called Champions?
Each player has four Champions, and the Champions are what allow you to play abilities, this differs from Magic (where the player is the Warrior / Caster / Summoner), and WoW:TCG where you picked a hero card to use. You can only play abilities through Champions, so Warriors can't cast spells, spell casters can't deploy units.
How does the game setup?
The game is setup into 4 lanes, and you deploy each Hero in their own lane, and this influences the impact they have on the game.
For example a hero in lane 1, might have an ability that reduces damage from spells case by the enemy Champion directly opposite them. This is wasted if your Champion doesn't setup opposite an enemy wizard, which means that Champion placement becomes a big thing that you need to plan out as the game starts.
Quests & Blessings what are they?
Finally you have 4 blessings, each blessing is a powerful buff to you, dealing damage, healing you, providing other passive bonuses. Blessings are unlocked by your Champion completing four quests. Things like deal damage, play an ability / unit / spell etc.
This also links back to your hero placement. Some units / spells stop a Champion from deploying units, if you have a Champion that needs to deploy a unit to complete your first quest its quite possible for someone to prevent you doing so for several turns.
The game plays quickly once you have picked up the rules, and unlike Magic as you just get two actions a turn, you don't end up where you can't do things because of a lack of resource (I have had plenty of games where despite a significant portion of my deck being Land, I just dont draw enough!), while WOW:TCG countered this by allowing you to place any card face down to count as resource (thus preventing resource starvation, although at the cost of sacrificing a card to do so), this mechanic in Champions is straight forward, and does take away a bit of your deck building challenges (balancing out that resource cost).
This is not to say that the game isnt tactical, in a lot of ways both Magic & WoW deck building feels more challenging, but as there is an optimum number of resources you would need, most people's decks consist of XX number of cards to play, and Y (+/- 1 or 2) as resource.
Champions approach means that their deck size is actually only 30 cards, a much smaller deck to build and does make some of the choices you make for what goes in the deck (when you get into deck building) much more interesting.
As I mentioned games of Champions are pretty quick, even as beginners my opponents and I are able to knock out a couple of games in a half hour lunch break around eating our food.
Some turns pass pretty quickly (when both players pass twice so they can draw cards), and some turns take that little bit longer while you plan out what you want to play, and what buffs / debuffs the enemy has that you need to take into account.
For the Future
I will see about posting a battle report / game report that shows you some pictures from the board setup, and how the game progresses, this has really captured my imagination, and I can hope that the support from GW & Fusion will allow the community to grow moving forward!