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Goblivion Kickstarter Preview


Quick Look: Goblivion

Designer: Jean-François Gauthier
Artist: Jean-François Gauthier
Publisher: Goblivion Games
Year Published: 2018
No. of Players: 1-2
Ages: 12+
Playing Time: 30 min.

From the publisher:

'Goblivion' is a solo or 2-player cooperative deckbuilding card game. You play the role of the king or queen of the Goblivion kingdom. You must defend your castle and repel the goblin and troll invasion. You start the game with cards that represent your starting peasants. Those peasants know nothing about fighting. You must train them to upgrade your army and have a chance to survive the terrible goblins and trolls. You'll get useful loot defeating the enemy army and will be able to build catapults and giant robots with it. It's a strategic game with big decisions, heartbreaking sacrifices, and a little bit of luck.

It's a game full of chain reactions, where you will try to slow down the enemy approach with useful actions. You're always under pressure and every decision count. There is 3 difficulty level for each of the 4 roles you can incarnate. The cooperative play have every player helping each other with his cards actions. You have more than 5 different boss to fight at the end of each game. Every game is different, every role you play give a different feeling to the game.

All in all, it's 101 cards, 46 different ones and 23 double cards. 2 boards, 35 tokens of 4 different kinds and 1 rule book.

Save the Goblivion kingdom!

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

WARNING: This is a preview of Goblivion. All components and rules are prototype and subject to change.  Goblivion launched on Kickstarter on May 28, 2018.


Review: Goblivion

Overview and Theme:
Goblivion is a deck-building, defend-the-castle, strategic, solo card game also playable as a two-person co-op. The art is charmingly set in a fantasy medieval cartoon world populated by farmers with chickens on their heads, doddering goblins, and vicious trolls. The theme fits the mechanic quite well as you upgrade your deck by training the peasants and raking in items from victories in combat, and the amusing artwork caps it splendidly.



Components and Setup:
Because it is a deck-builder, Goblivion is mainly made up of cards! 

There are 38 blue village cards for your starting deck, 32 golden upgrade cards that you can earn by training, 21 enemy/item cards in two difficulty levels, 6 ferocious end-boss cards, and 4 king/queen cards to act as your starting character.


You'll separate these by typemade very easy because the predominant colors are strikingly different (and they also have different icons for folks with color vision issues).

Assuming you're playing solo (the co-op rules are just slightly different), you start with 19 random blue cards in your deck, 1 king or queen and the golden bodyguard card it provides, and stacks of 15 enemies, along with 3-5 bosses (depending on just how difficult you want the game to be).


In addition, there are two game boardsthe larger enemy board and the smaller player boardas well as a pile of tokens for resources, ally bonuses, enemy bonuses, training, and training handicaps. The 8 piles of golden upgrade cards go to the left of the enemy board, and the player board goes to the right, leaving space in the middle for your battlefield, where the cards you play each round will go.


My copy of Goblivion is a prototype, so some of the components are not final versions, but the art and design was well done, and I enjoyed the unusual take on resource tokens (they are double-sided to show a value of 1 or a value of 3this takes a little getting used to but turned out to be very handy during the game).

Game Play and Mechanics:
The flow of Goblivion is easy to learn and the order of phases is printed right on the player board to remind you. First comes the training phase, where you can recruit the golden cards to upgrade your forces, then the enemies push forward and advance on the enemy board, and finally, if any enemies have made it to the castle walls (the bottom row of the enemy board), you'll engage in combat.


In both training and combat, you'll get to draw a certain number of cards as marked on the card you are hoping to earn or hoping to defeat. Each of those cards will have a strength number, and many of them will also have a special ability that allows you to draw more cards, destroy some cards in favor of others, move cards between the battlefield and your hospital (discard pile), and so on. You will add the force (strength) of each of the cards and their various bonuses and try to match the strength of the card you're facing.  Gamers who have already played other deck building games will feel this style of play familiar and easy to pick up.


If you have enough force to earn an upgrade card in the training phase, it replaces one of the cards you had played that turnthematically, you aren't gaining a soldier, but rather training that pyromaniac into a worthy soldier! This keeps the size of the deck fairly small and means you have to think strategically about what to add and what to remove from your deck.

If you don't have enough force to earn the upgrade card during training, you may choose to pay the difference in resources (the currency in this game) to take the card anyway. If you don't have enough force during combat, you'll be forced to pay the difference in resourcesif you run out of resources, you've lost the game!


The way the enemies move along and then down the enemy board, gaining bonus tokens if you can't defeat them, fits the theme of the game very well, as you can see those goblins and trolls creeping ever closer. Some cards allow you to peek at them before they reach the castle walls, which negates any special effect they might have had upon arriving in battle.


Goblivion continues with you (and your partner, if you're playing cooperatively) working to balance your resources with your cards, taking advantage of your bodyguard (a card you can swap in for one in your current battle, which then becomes your new bodyguard), racking up enough resources to cover you if you should fall short in battle or in training, and so on. There are a lot of decisions to be made before you defeat all the bosses (or lose in agonizing defeat when you run out of resources to continue defending the castle).


The Good:
Goblivion drew me in immediately with its theme and the artwork, and the mechanics hooked me and made me a fan. I have long enjoyed deck-building games and castle defense games, and Goblivion immediately brought to mind some of my favoritesFriday, Dominion, and Castle Panic. The mechanics here are different enough to make the game shine on its own, but with enough familiar elements that the game is easy to pick up and learn.


The layout of cards and boards works very well, and the thematic creeping forward of the enemies on the enemy board is new and quite interesting. I liked many of the little touchesthe discard pile being called the hospital, or the fact that there's a penalty for having to reshuffle your deck (the enemy pushes forward again). The dual-sided tokens were efficient and effective. The characters, enemies, and items are illustrated in an engaging way with humor and plenty of hidden treats for those looking carefully.


As I played through again and again, I appreciated all the finer details and the amount of care that went into making Goblivion a smooth and satisfying game play experience. Goblivion is really well-crafted and thoughtfully designed!

The Bad:
It's hard!

At least, we found it to be hard. Then again, I have yet to win a game of Friday, so I clearly don't shy away from a good challenge. I kept playing Goblivion again and again, and watched the playthrough video on the Kickstarter page, and re-read the rules because I thoughtis it really this hard? I think it was a combination of (a) bad luck—in my first game, my starting deck was awash with pyromaniacs with -1 strength!and (b) not being a risk-takerit took me several games to even think about pushing for some of the higher level upgrades, but that left me without enough oomph when I needed to battle the bosses.


The difficulty of Goblivion is really only a negative if you don't like being challenged much in your games. After my first game, I was a little put off at losing so badly, but half an hour later, the box called to me from across the room. Surely, I could win it this time. And each time I've played (by myself or cooperatively with various friends and family), I have felt a little stronger and come a little closer to winning, so I know it's within my grasp, and somehow that negative of not being able to win has become an addictive positive of knowing I have to figure out the puzzle and come back to the game until I can win! (On the easy level... then I have to work up to medium...)


Players Who Like:
Players who enjoy solo challenges like Friday or Onirim, or who like deck builders like Dominion or Ascension, or who enjoy humorous castle defenders like Castle Panic or even Munchkin will find Goblivion entertaining and enjoyable.


Final Thoughts:
From the delightful artwork to the engrossing mechanics, Goblivion spins a story with you at the center, a medieval monarch willing their troops to improve quickly enough to ward off the goblins and trolls collecting at the castle gates. The game is easy to learn but not so easy to winthere are strategic decisions throughout that can lead you to victory or send you to defeat at the whims of the saboteur trolls. It is a strong solo game and enjoyable as a two-player co-op as well. Goblivion is solidly amusing and invitingly fun with just the right amount of frustratingly fiendish challenge!




Check out Goblivion on:

           

Goblivion is on KICKSTARTER now! Campaign ends June 27, 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!
Goblivion Kickstarter Preview Goblivion Kickstarter Preview Reviewed by MamaGames - Alexa C. on June 08, 2018 Rating: 5

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