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War X-Treme Preview

Quick Look: War X-Treme

Designer: Aukey Wikoff
Artist: Aukey Wikoff, Levon Jihanian, Antonius Ryan Adiputra, Swatiashok
Publisher: Orange Monkey
Year Published: 2018
No. of Players: 2-8
Ages: 6+
Playing Time: 30-60 minutes

WARNING: This is a preview of War X-Treme. All components and rules are prototype and subject to change.


tl;dr: War. Evolved.

Getting to the Game: Each player chooses a suit from whichever ones are available. My review copy was Princess vs. Zombies. Shuffle each suit completely and deal yourself 13 cards. The rest of everyone's "decks" get shuffled all together and form the Tax Pile in the middle of the table. Deal the top eight cards off the pile into a star pattern around the pile. Negotiations have failed. Set for DEFCON 1.

Playing the Game: I omitted the second paragraph above that I normally use to briefly introduce the rules. This is just War. The neat additions here are the Tax Pile, and, surrounding it, the Recruitment slots. Wars still happen as they would during an ordinary game, but now the 4th card each player plays comes from one of the eight cards surrounding the tax pile. It's a neat addition that offsets the fact that sometimes you know your deck only has low cards left, so you're likely to lose the war. Since each player is drawing a completely unknown card, the tension resulting from the war is much nicer. Additionally, when the tax pile runs out of cards, it's replaced by paying taxes from each player's deck. Whoever is winning pays the most taxes, so there's an equalizer mechanic built-in. There are also optional equipment cards, which can be used on a one-shot basis that give you various bonuses (bonii?). I'm not entirely sure why these are in the game. They seem pretty tacked-on.

Overall, this is a fun improvement on a boring-but-simple kid's game. The only issue I have with it is that I'm not sure who the target audience is. The Princess vs Zombie deck has trigger cards in it with really silly effects like "First person to clap their hands wins" and "First person to stand up wins." These mechanics sit alongside rules like the Tax pile and a discard pile called the POW camp, which satirize actual war, a concept a little too heady for most kids. I labeled this game as able to played by ages 6 and up, but that's mostly because all you need to do is be able to read and know which number is higher. The more adult themes of war, and cheating-is-fine-if-you-don't-get-caught rules would sail above those ages. Your group may vary.

Artwork and Components: The art on my cards is very placeholder, so I'm interested to see the final product. Art here is just clip art and simple iconography. Not much to report about.

The playmat also would be nice to have in something other that standard printout on paper. Maybe a neoprene rollout would elevate this game to more than just filler. Time will tell.

The Good: Neat additions to the war formula. Some good ideas here.

The Bad: What I have isn't ready for publishing. The art and playmat need to be reworked, and some of the cards are confusing (see the Princess Jack above). 

Score: This is a nice building block to jump from, so I'm very interested to see what the final product is. Right now, my games with other people have ended with a "Huh. Ok. I see what they're going for here," but no one wanted to play again. That might change if the visuals get a sprucing up, or if there's more to be had from the individual decks. I'm giving War X-Treme a score of Still in the Trenches.

Check out War X-Treme on:

About the Author:

Nicholas Leeman has been a board game evangelist for over 10 years now, converting friends and family alike to the hobby. He's also a trained actor and works summers as one of the PA announcers for the St. Paul Saints, a professional baseball team. He lives in Minneapolis, MN with his board gaming wife and son.
War X-Treme Preview War X-Treme Preview Reviewed by The Madjai on July 13, 2018 Rating: 5

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