Lords of War is a two player card game (at the basic level) set in a fantasy world. There are two sets on sale at the moment, Orcs Vs Dwarves and Elves Vs Lizardmen. A third set, Templars Vs Undead is due to come out, having been successfully funded via Kickstarter along with some accessories such as a shiny play mat and a further set of cards to add terrain rules. There’s also a bunch of optional rules for army customisation and so on that only really come into play now the multiple sets exist.
It’s a really simple game concept, though a lot of fun for killing some spare time at a con, on a train journey or when a game of something else finishes early. It’s not ‘deep’, though there’s game lore and surprising tactical elements, which makes it a great way to introduce people to ‘non-standard’ card games and fantasy imagery. They’d also be suitable for younger kids who – at least – have a grasp on basic addition (not to say it’s educational, I want you to buy it!).
The decks come based around different themes that do influence how they’re played. Strong defence or strong attack, ranged attacks or cavalry units. Different cards have different values on their various ‘attack vectors’ (the corners and sides of the cards) and different defence values. If the total of attack beats the defence, the card being attacked is removed, otherwise it stays. Cards are placed in turn and the values compared as you go along.
Presentation-wise the boxes are compact and well made, the folded game boards are as good as they can be, but it is hard to make them lay flat. On the plus side, you don’t have to use a board at all. It just makes it easier to keep the cards aligned if you do. The cards are colourful and well made and while the elves are rather reminiscent of Games Workshop’s high elves and the lizardmen remind me of the Slaan, the Dwarves and Orcs somehow manage to look a bit different (Saxon and Fungus the Bogeyman-like respectively).
It’s definitely worth a punt.
The Final Word: A great, value for money game suitable as a gift and time-filler. I’d love to see a science fiction version!