Today we are going to take a look at a small card game from SolarFlare games. Archmage Origins is a 2-4 player card game that can be played in 10-20 minutes and was provided for review purposes by SolarFlare games.
In this game you play as mages fighting to control monsters. You do this by setting the monster cards up in a 4×4 grid. You then choose whose playing which mage. You can choose from Demonologist, Necromancer, Technomancer, and Elementalist. Each player will have a 10 card hand containing 8 numberd cards, a hold monster card, and a unique spell card. Players take turns secretly peeking at two monster cards one at a time. You may then choose to swap the two cards. Then on the outside of the grid you will place one of your numbered card to attempt to take control of a row of cards. Imagine a blank play space next to each side of a card in the outer edges. So four on top, bottom, and each side. Every space may contain up to two cards played by either the same player or two seperate players. After this is done you may choose to use your hold card (making sure a monster cannot be seen or moved by another player during the game) or your unique spell card which in can bend some rules in your favor. After all your numbered cards have been played you then score the monsters to whichever player has the highest score for the row. Whoever controls the most monsters wins.
Ok thats a brief overview on how the game works. The big question is whether or not its fun. I am happy to report that it is a very fun micro game. The strategy is all in the monster manipulation and the placement of your numbered cards. Certain monsters have abilities that benifit specific players or may harm other players. Thus it becomes very important to idetify the rows and columns you really want and then remove the monsters that you don’t. The strategic depth is enough to ensure playing is never boring. The spell cards add a nice little wrinkle to the standard strategy and allow some more advanced card manipulation. We had a lot of fun stealing cards from each other. I also want to draw special attention to the art. It is very nice and I would love to see more from this team.
In closing I would like to award a score of 8 out of 10. If you would like your own copy it can be found at SolarFlaregames.com