Warhammer Invasion Review
A game that I was really excited about was Warhammer Invasion.
Warhammer Invasion was one of the first "Living Card Games." This means, like Magic, Pokemon, etc, you would construct a deck out of cards and play against your opponents; however, unlike with normal Customizable (or Trading) Card Games, in Warhammer, the packs were not randomized. Now for gameplay... In Warhammer, each player controls a capital with three different area - the battlefield, kingdom, and quest areas. The object of the game is to destroy two of your opponent's three areas. First, you get to generate resources based on the amount of power in your kingdom area; next, you draw cards based on the amount of power in your quest area. After this setup, you use your resources to play any units and/or support cards in any of the areas of your capital. Next, you can attack your opponent, and finally, it is the other player's turn.
The first pro for Warhammer Invasion is that it is a Living Card Game. I personally loved playing CCG's when I was younger - my CCG's of choice were the Star Trek and Star Wars CCGs made by Decipher. Unfortunately, I have one of those personalities that gets addicted to buying packs. Therefore, LCG's are a great way that I can still enjoy all of the elements of deck construction, playing the game, having tournaments, etc, without having to worry about how many packs I will wind up buying or how much I will spend on the game in any given week. I really appreciate Fantasy Flight introducing several of their new games in this format.
The next pro that I have for Warhammer Invasion is how the different areas of your capital work together. Whenever playing a new unit you had to decide which area you want to place them in - do you want to use them to get more resources, more cards, or to be able to attack? If you put them in the kingdom or quest areas, they may help more in the long run, but they will also wind up serving primarily as defenders. Whereas, if you place your units in the battlefield, they really serve only as attackers - but if you don't play any attackers, you can't possibly win the game.
The third pro that I will mention for Warhammer Invasion is that each of the races plays differently. Honestly, I expect this in a deck building game (such as the different colors in Magic), but it is still an important element. Fantasy Flight did a good job in making sure that playing as the Dwarves (who have a lot of defensive things they can do) takes on a different feel than playing as the Orcs (who are almost exclusively attackers - even injuring their own units to attack more), or the Chaos (whose specialty is "corrupting" units), Humans (who are able to move units between areas of their capital), or any of the other races.
A final pro about the game is quests. One of the types of cards in the game is the "quest" card. These are placed in the Quest area of your capital, and once you have played one, you have the option of having your units (as you place them) be "questing". While questing, a unit builds up resources that can then be spent for a bonus (for example, one of the Dwarf quests allows you to discard the unit on the quest to destroy two attacking units - but only if there are at least 3 resources on it). I really think that the quests are a neat concept, and I'd be interested to see how different people would be able to use them when constructing their decks.
The biggest con that I have for Warhammer Invasion is that it really didn't have a very unique feel to it. As one of my friends put it, "it feels generic." Whereas I liked the different areas of the capitals, there wasn't really anything else that set this game apart (even the quests seem to just be a different way to represent an effect that has to "charge up"). I could continue playing it, but I don't feel like it has brought something entirely new to the table.
Another con that I had for Warhammer (that I have heard was fixed in later expansions) is that they don't give you all the cards needed to build the deck however you want. As with all deck building games, there is a limit to the number of copies of a card that are allowed in a deck. This is true in Warhammer as well. However (at least in the base set and the first few expansions), instead of the set of cards including enough copies of each card to allow you to put the limit of each card in your deck, the sets have several copies of some cards and only one copy of others. Therefore, if you wanted to build a deck consisting of several of the card you only had a single copy of, you would have to buy several of the packs - and then you would get around 9 copies of some of the other cards, with absolutely nothing to do with them (you don't really trade cards in an LCG format), so you might as well throw them away.
There's really not all that much more to say about Warhammer Invasion - the complexity of the game (as often happens) doesn't lie in the mechanics of the game, but rather in the cards and their interactions. Learning the game is really fairly simple and straightforward (another pro), but the number of different cards prevent the players from constantly playing the exact same way. To me, the key aspect of pre-constructed deck building games is how many other people in your geographical area are playing them - if a lot of people are playing them, then you have lots of opponents and have the possibility of playing in tournaments, and the game can be a lot of fun. If nobody else around you is playing, then you probably won't wind up playing it, and you won't have a great desire to work on improving your deck.
Overall, I give Warhammer Invasion an 7.5/10. I enjoyed the game well enough that I would continue to play it if the people around me played. Unfortunately, since I don't know anybody that actively plays the game, my hope for being able to enter a tournament is basically non-existant; and so I will probably wind up getting rid of my cards. And, in full disclosure and fairness to the designers of the game, there's a really good chance that I would have liked this game a lot more if I had the opportunities to play it more as it was meant to be played - where I would construct a deck and try it against many different opponents. This would have also kept me in the game long enough for them to further develop the 4 base races as well as the races that they introduced in the expansion sets.
Warhammer Invasion on Noble Knight Games (about $35 for the Core set)
Warhammer Invasion on Amazon (about $29)