The Amazing Spider Tank

The Amazing Spider Tank
Spider-Tank, Spider-Tank. Does whatever a Spider-Tank does. Can he swing from a web? No he can't, he's a tank. Look out! He is a Spider-Tank!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Epic Card Game Review

As I am expanding this blog to contain all types of gaming, and not just video games, my first attempt is to talk about my new favorite card game, Epic.

There are other reviews out there that go into more detail about how the game is played. I think there are many that do a very good job of that, so I won't reiterate. I recommend Tom's Epic Gaming Blog ( This review comes late in the game so it can act as more of a refresher and a follow up to say the game is still amazing.

Epic came out last year but I didn't get a chance to play it until early this year. It had been on my radar ever since it came out since the company that makes it also made Star Realms, which is a really fun space themed deck builder. I was always intrigued by the art, as it is amazing, and the gameplay seemed like it fit the title.

Warrior Angels? Go on....
I had a Coolstuffinc order that I believe needed some more on it for free shipping, and since I recently read some reviews on Boardgamegeek, I decided to add a copy of the base set. I got it home and immediately went over to my friend, Josiah's, house to give it a try. I knew he was interested in the game as well. We broke it open, randomly dealt 30 cards to each other, and started playing. Once we had our little cheat sheet to help us with key words, we dove right in (side note: we only had to use the cheat sheet that first night, as the keywords are easy to remember).

We both loved the game. We loved how it truly felt Epic. It was an apt name. Both players start out with 30 health, and the goal is to lower it to 0 by attacking and dealing damage, similar to so many other card games. In this game, however, each player has access to some epic champions that can easily take away 1/3rd of your opponent's health with one swing, and sometimes worse.

Decide not to/can't block? Game over.
On your turn, each player has 1 gold to spend, and each card in the game costs either 1 or 0 gold. it's that simple. No land needed, no pesky resource engines to worry about, no mana screw. Just 1 gold to spend. You can always play a card in your hand. This is one of my favorite parts of the game. I have played a lot of Magic, and I know that the better players mitigate being land screwed by good play and planning, but the reality is it can still happen, and will happen frequently to new players. That is no fun. I also personally don't find it very fun to ever so slowly build up where on turn 5 I can finally play something that has 5 strength. Yay. In Epic, I can play that monstrous Elder Greatwurm on my very first turn. If my opponent doesn't deal with it or can't, I could just flat out win.

Now before people start throwing their popcorn in the air saying this game is too swingy and random, let me stop you. Although it can easily seem like the game is swingy, and it definitely can swing very quickly, this is not a bad thing, nor is it something that good players can avoid it happening to them. In Epic, you are never really out of the game. Since so many cards allow you to draw multiple cards, you are never short of a hand. Since every card costs the same or cheaper, you are never without a blocker or attacker. And as you can see from the champion above, you can't really ever be out of the game when your next attack could win it for you.

That being said, good players will still find a way to win. Good players will know when to spend their gold, and when to goad their opponents into playing their gold first. Good players will keep answers in their hand to use when an opponent plays something, Good players will not flood the board with champions just because they can and then get ruined when their opponent plays a board sweep that kills everything. What I'm saying is that anybody can play this game and have fun with it, but only a few can really master it.

Dinosaurs, magic fireballs, and dragons?! Where do I sign?
Another thing this game does well is it's opening hand mulligan rules. Unlike in Magic where your hand can screw you over, and getting a mulligan means fewer cards (I keep comparing and bashing Magic but I do actually like that game too), in Epic you can mulligan any number of cards from your hand and replace them, at the cost of 1 health. Since you have 30 health to start, you can definitely afford losing a couple to make sure you have some cards you like.

Yes another big different between Epic and other card games is that there is no stack, or response events and such. When it is your turn, you have priority, which means you opponent can't play anything until you decide to let them. If you want to spend your gold to play a champion and play a 0 cost event that allows you to recycle 2 of your cards in your discard pile in order to draw a card, then attack with your played champion, you can. And there's nothing your opponent can do about that. Once you pass priority, then your opponent gets to do the same thing. You will go back and forth with priority a couple of times in a turn, but it's very easy to follow and makes the game far less complicated as a result.

I also love how in depth you can get in this game. There are so many choices. Since you can play any card, you are given a tremendoes amount of flexbility. Do you spend your gold to draw 2 cards? Do you play a champion? Do you try to trick your opponent and pass priority, trying to get them to spend their gold first, so you can react and beat them? Do you play a card now to try and establish the board further, or do you sit on your laurels and try not to overextend? Do you play a card to destroy an opponent's little blocker to let your big guy through, knowing that they might be able to play a low health, but much better card and then you'll have nothing to deal with it? There are just so many choices. It's wonderful.

Falling in love with the art yet?
There are also a variety of decks one can play if you want to get into Constructed. The Constructed rules are pretty simple: 60 cards, and for every 2 1-gold cost cards in a faction (4 factions: Evil-red, Good-yellow, Wild-green, Sage-blue), you may have 1 0-gold card in that same faction. If you want to have 4 different colors in your deck that's fine, and there are decks that succeed in that strategy. You can build a "burn" deck, which tries to kill your opponent through direct damage instead of trying to attack through your opponent's units. You can try to play a "control" deck that discards opponent's cards, and returns cards to their hand, biding their time to strike with unblockable units.

Most annoying card in the game
There are many ways to play the game as well. For a friendly and simple entry, do what Josiah and I did and deal out 30 random cards to each play and have at it. My personal recommendation is for each player to choose 2 colors, and then deal 15 or 30 cards of each color to make a deck. The decks will be thematic and will show a variety of play styles.

You can play multiplayer, and try to defeat a table full of players, or simply go head to head. You can play Constructed, and try to build the perfect deck, or play my new favorite Dark Draft format, which pits each player against each other in a draft where you are each dealt 5 cards, you pick 1, and pass the remaining 4 and your opponent picks 2, while you pick 2 from your opponent's remaining 4 cards. it's cut throat and rewards skill and planning.

The game is also extremely easy to get into. It is not expensive at all. I bought my first set at $15, but you can find them cheaper online. Each set gives you 120 cards split into the 4 factions. There is also an expansion called Tyrants, which added 48 cards split into each faction, that added a ton of variety. And now, they just spoiled the next set which will be coming later this month called Uprising, which will be very similar to Tyrants. Stick around, as I will be reviewing that set shortly. But all in all, it's a very easy game to get into. No random booster packs, no trying to get that one card everyone has. If you want a card, get it. Everyone has access to the same cards.

Dragons, lightning mages, and Crystal Golems, need I say more?
If you are feeling particularly competitive, there are still some slots to qualify for the World Championship being held later this month. I hope to be gracing their presence by qualifying myself, but we'll see. Competition is stiff.

Either way, expect to see a whole lot more of Epic in my blog. I really love it and I hope you will learn to love it to. It's a game that is still taking off and has already grabbed the attention of several pro Magic players and converted them.

Until then, I hope you enjoyed this article and happy gaming!

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