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Swordcrafters Kickstarter Preview

Quick Look: Swordcrafters

Designer: Adam Rehberg and Chris Neuman
Artist: Rodrigo Camilo Alves De Almeida
Publisher: Adam's Apple Games
Year Published: 2018
No. of Players: 2-5
Ages: 8+
Playing Time: 20-40 minutes

From the publisher:

The realm is defended, but the sword of protection is broken! The king has called on the best Swordcrafters to forge a replacement.

In Swordcrafters, players compete to forge the best sword scoring based on length, quality, and magic. Each round each player makes one cut in a grid of sword tiles to create a separation. After separations phase, each player selects one grouping of sword tiles and assembles them into their sword. When there are not enough sword tiles to form a new grid, scoring occurs.

Players hold their swords in the center of the table to score based on length. Sword quality scoring is based on the highest number of adjacent matching gems on one side of the sword. Sword magic scoring is based on the highest sum of two gem types.

A innovative 3D sword-building game where the player builds and holds their sword as they play.

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

WARNING: This is a preview of Swordcrafters. All components and rules are prototype and subject to change. In particular, I know that the cardboard tiles will be thicker and have a UV coating for the final game.

Review: Swordcrafters

Overview and Theme:

Swordcrafters takes the resource-production, product-building theme one step further by having players use the cardboard tiles they gather to build a 3D model of a sword as they play the game! It stands out as a very unusual physical mechanic, taking tile-laying into three dimensions as you plan to collect sets and build patterns to make the sword worth the most points.

It seems pretty clear that the theme here is obvious - a fantasy setting with swords and magic gems - and thorough - how could you forget you're building a sword? It's definitely a theme that appealed to our geeky little family.

Components and Setup:

I want to point out again that the components in the prototype my family played will be replaced with thicker, more durable components following their Kickstarter campaign - for more on that, please read this note on Kickstarter.

The prototype components in my copy of Swordcrafters were just sturdy enough to allow us to play the game and enjoy the gameplay. Cardboard squares with four notches line up to build a rectangular sword body off of a four-piece hilt. The game also includes a small deck of Sword Magic cards which give you certain color combinations to look for in scoring.

Setup is quick and easy - each player builds a cardboard hilt, and three Sword Magic cards are dealt out. The first round begins by dealing a grid of a certain size (4x4 for four players), and you're ready to begin!

Game Play and Mechanics:

Game play here runs in rounds dubbed Slice, Select, and Craft until the pile of tiles has run out.

Swordcrafters relies on a variant of the I-cut-you-choose mechanic. In each round, each player in turn will make one "Slice" to separate one of the groups of tiles into two groups along a straight vertical or horizontal line. The first player cuts the grid into two groups, the second player cuts one of those groups in two, creating a third group, and so on. With four players, you'll end up with five groups of tiles.

Now, starting again with the first player, each player in turn gets to "Select" one of the groups of tiles, choosing the colors that are most advantageous (or choosing the group with the First Player tile in order to gain the advantage of going first in the next round).

Finally, each player simultaneously "Crafts" by attaching the tiles they have chosen onto their growing sword. Rounds continue until there are not enough tiles left in the box to make a full new grid.

There is a definite awe-filled joy in working to build the sword in your hand, as well as comparing and swishing swords around (but hitting your fellow players is definitely discouraged!).

At the end of the game, the longest sword will earn ten points. Each Sword Magic card will give points to the three swords with the largest groups of certain colors. Each sword also gets points corresponding to the length of the largest set of a single color on a single side of the sword.

Scoring was fairly clear, and our family handled it quickly, though we have plenty of experience with games that use varied end-game scoring.

The Good:

Really, the sword is the draw here! My kids (11 and 15) really enjoyed the tactile nature of actually building their swords. Oh, and my husband and I got in on it, too! The excitement of comparing all the swords at the end of the game was always high.

I also appreciated the fresh take on cut-and-take, giving the first player a strong advantage in both but allowing others to snatch that first position for other rounds. The set collection here was simple but engaging.

The Bad:

The only complaints that my family had about our copy of Swordcrafters were based on the prototype nature of the components (thin cardboard peeling or difficult to wedge together and pull apart - you can see white marks on our set), and those durability and aesthetic issues will be cleared up with the official manufacturing run.

My husband did wonder if the ability to take the First Player tile was too big of an advantage (as he and I tended to hog the first player role while my kids tended not to take it), but I think that with further plays and my kids getting to see that choice as being more strategic, the game will even out for our family. A table full of adults playing Swordcrafters probably would not have had that issue. Perhaps a new family just learning it might want to choose to play without those tiles at first (if no one takes the First Player tile, it moves clockwise around the table instead).

Players Who Like:

Players who enjoy medieval or fantasy themes will enjoy the theme and look of Swordcrafters. Families who enjoy set collection games like Lanterns, cut-and-take games like New York Slice, or dexterity games like Rhino Hero will also enjoy Swordcrafters.

Final Thoughts:

Swordcrafters is a fantasy-themed family set-collection game with a unique twist: building your own 3D sword makes you the master of the gaming table and adds an engaging theme to the cut-and-take mechanic. My family will continue to (gently!) play with our prototype, and I can't wait to see how the Kickstarter fares for Adam's Apple Games and their fans.

Check out Swordcrafters on:


Swordcrafters is on KICKSTARTER between now and March 11, 2018

About the Author:

My name is Alexa: I'm a life-long game player and homeschooling mom to two awesome kids. I've loved board games since my early days playing Scrabble and Gin Rummy with my grandmother, and life only got more interesting when I married a Battletech enthusiast and fellow game lover. We've played games with our kids since they were small, and I helped start a thriving homeschool co-op where we have weekly sessions of board games with kids.  In a family with kids raised on Catan and Pandemic, life is sure to be fun! You may run into me on Twitter, BoardGameGeek, and other social media as MamaGames. Be sure to say hi!
Swordcrafters Kickstarter Preview Swordcrafters Kickstarter Preview Reviewed by MamaGames - Alexa C. on March 09, 2018 Rating: 5

1 comment

  1. Holy cow your photography looks fantastic here! Thanks so much for the coverage of the game and I'm glad you had fun playing. We're definitely taking all possible means to make this game durable and feeling awesome.



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