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Ivion Review

Quick Look:

Designers: Aislyn Hall and Aaron Shaw
Artists: Various
Publisher: Luminary Games
Year Published: 2018
No. of Players: 2-4
Ages: 13+
Playing Time: 20-40 minutes

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com


Ivion is a collectible card game (CCG) that uses hand management, deck building, grid movement, and an action-point allowance system. You'll be using your deck to fight your opponents until only one of you is left standing.

Rules and Setup:
Players create their own character by choosing which cards to include in their deck. You can choose a specialization from the twelve different types, as well as two different classes from the available six. You will also choose two traits that match requirements that your character must have. You'll have 15 cards from your specialization and 30 cards from your two classes, which makes 45 cards in your deck.

You will begin by placing the terrain tiles in a 4x4 grid. Take your three Feats and place them in front of you, and set your starting HP to the value listed on your Ultimate card. Shuffle and place your deck nearby; you will start with the first five cards from your deck. Set both your action die and power die to 0. Lastly, place your standee on the bottom right tile from where you are sitting.

There is no rolling dice in this game; the dice are simply there to help you keep track of certain things while playing the game. The action and power dice keep track of  how many actions you have, while control dice can be used to restrict your opponents' actions.

You get three actions at the start of your turn, as well as an initiative token which can be used to either move one space or draw a card. At the beginning of your turn, you will draw a card, perform your actions, gain your initiative token, and "at the start of your turn" effects occur. You can then do as many things as you want using your resources and cards. When you are done, all "at the end of your turn" effects will occur. You will need to discard down to seven cards, cards placed from the other player(s) will be discarded back to them, and any unused initiative tokens will be removed. It's then the next player's turn.

During the game, you can play "instant" cards normally or in response to another player's card. They will also be able to play an instant card back until a player no longer plays a card in response. "Counter" cards are used to prevent your enemy's cards from resolving; if done, the owner will discard the card, and all resources allocated to it will be spent.

During the game, you will be moving on the grid in an effort to get close enough to attack your enemies and lower their HP. When you reduce all enemies' HP to 0, you will win the game.

Theme and Mechanics:
Ivion's core mechanics are hand management and deck building. You're able to make your beginning deck out of a wealth of options, but you can only have 7 cards in your hand at a time, so you will need to manage your hand wisely and pay attention to where cards might be in your deck to set up certain combos. You will also be moving on a 4x4 grid. Movement is always adjacent and never diagonal; even when determining range, you must follow this rule and count the number of adjacent tiles away from you, not diagonal.

You will be using cards from either your hand or from your feat zone, using up resources as you go. If your enemy doesn't respond with an instant card, then you will resolve your card and place it in your discard pile.

The theme takes you into the world named the Skels. Here, the Skelanders don't fight for glory nor survival, but do so to avoid the damnation of their spirits. The land, which was once a verdant paradise, is now a ceaseless cursed winter. Those who perish in these conditions are robbed of a normal death and now are plunged into the Wintersea, a frigid prison of an afterlife.

The theme holds true throughout play, as you are trying to stay alive and kill your enemies. The art and mechanics match this world and theme and keep you from forgetting your true goal.

Artwork and Components:
The art is done by many different artists, and all match the theme and show off this world while still having the artists' unique feels. The icons do well to help clarify what each card does and the costs of them without the card feeling too cluttered. After playing the game once, their meanings will become second nature to you.

The game comes with a staggering 806(!) cards, 20 six-sided dice, eight HP dice, 12 standees, and 34 tokens. As always, the components could be nicer using miniatures instead of standees, but such upgrades would raise the price of the game significantly. The dice are smaller size than what you might expect, and some of the faces on the dice are not centered as they should be.

The Good:
The game ends up being a very strategic game, where you can plan out combo attacks and then can try to defend in a variety of ways. I like the way that power works in the game, as cards can both use and give power. You won't be able to do every single thing, as you only will have so many resources, so strategy and careful planning is key. I like how the terrain can be changed into difficult terrain to make it harder to move around. I also like the control dice and how you can trap your players, as well as the mechanics for removing them; they made sense and flowed nicely.

The Bad:
It's a little overwhelming trying to make a good deck to play with, especially considering the sheer number of cards.. This becomes a great thing when you know the game and can choose which type of cards you like and want, but at the beginning, it's hard to know what might be a good combo for your deck. The movement seems to not be as eventful as it could be. If you only have attack cards where you need to be one space away, then you will need to get close to the opponent, and it then becomes harder to defend yourself from cards that attack at that same distance.

Final Thoughts:
This is a fun card game that takes deck building to a combat arena-style game. If you don't like attacking other players, this game is not for you. The game is very strategic, and it plays within a reasonable amount of time. The game will play different as there are so many different cards to use in the game, and since you shuffle those cards, you never know when certain cards will come out.

Check out Ivion on:


About the Author:
Brody Sheard played board games with his large family growing up. He continues his love of games by teaching his family, local gaming guild, and friends about new and exciting games. Brody believes that board gaming keeps your mind healthy while also having fun interacting with others.
Ivion Review Ivion Review Reviewed by Brody on June 12, 2018 Rating: 5

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