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Volfyirion Kickstarter Preview

Quick Look: Volfyirion

Designer: Federico Tini, Alessandro Veracchi
Artist: Travis Anderson
Publisher: Tabula Games
Year Published: 2018
No. of Players: 2
Ages: 14+
Playing Time: 20-30 min.

From the publisher:

Volfyirion is a fast-paced competitive deck-building card game for two players. Lead your House into war and employ everything you have to destroy your opponent cities while building your defenses. Beware of the dragon Volfyirion, a dreadful creature powerful enough to wipe out entire regions, that decided to create its lair in the ruins near your settlements.

Will you be strong enough to bend the dragon's will and have it unleash its wrath on the battlefield against your enemies?

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

WARNING: This is a preview of Volfyirion. All components and rules are prototype and subject to change. Volfyirion is set to launch on Kickstarter on October 17, 2018.

Review: Volfyirion

Overview and Theme:
Volfyirion is a competitive deck-building game set in the fantasy world of Mythsea, where two Houses are waging war to see who can control the dreaded dragon and reign over the land. The theme is rich in the gorgeous artwork and card names and powers, and the two-player deck-building mechanism is strong and engaging as well as quick and fierce. Games end quickly--usually in half an hour or less--but are captivating in their storytelling and interaction.

Components and Setup:
Volfyirion is a deck-building card game, and so the components are cards, plus one dragon meeple, which can be upgraded to a highly detailed dragon mini in the Kickstarter campaign.

Setup is easy--the cards have distinguishable icons on them so you can quickly separate each player's 10-card starting House Deck from the 52-card Asset Deck (Command, Troop, and Building Cards),  the 15-card Wonder Deck, and the unique Volfyirion's Lair card. The prototype rulebook had a clear diagram to make it obvious how to set up the initial layout. The only thing that might slow you down is wanting to flip through the cards and look at the artwork!

Game Play and Mechanics:
Volfyirion is a deck-building card game, so fans of other deck-builders will find the gameplay familiar with some interesting new twists. Each player starts with a 10-card deck, drawing a hand of 5 cards at a time, and uses the powers of those cards (Command Points, Battle Points, and Knowledge Points) to add new cards to their deck, affect cards already in play, and control the mighty dragon Volfyirion. Each time the deck runs out, a player shuffles, adding in the newly acquired cards to make their deck stronger and more effective.

Besides your starting deck, you also have 3 city cards in a tableau in front of you, with base Defense Points of 8, 9, and 10. As the game progresses, you can add one Troop and one Building at a time to each city to increase their defense and add some power to your later turns. 

The goal of Volfyirion is to defeat all 3 of your opponent's cities. A city can be defeated if you have Battle Points equal to the city's total Defense Points or if you use Knowledge Points to send the dragon Volfyirion to the city and your opponent is unable to muster enough Knowledge Points on their turn to send him away again. In addition, if you are able to accumulate 16 Knowledge Points in a single turn, you can defeat Volfyirion himself and add his lair to your row of cities, making it that much harder for your opponent to vanquish you.

Having these cities to bolster and defend adds a new twist to the deck-building style of gameplay. At first, I wasn't a fan of that aspect, since I typically don't like take-that or direct confrontation in the games I play. It might not have helped that my partner quickly smashed one of my cities in the first few rounds of the first game we played! 

However, as the games progressed, I found the strategy really interesting. You want to build up your Command Points to be able to buy better Troops and Buildings from the Asset Deck so that you can beef up your cities quickly...but at the same time, you want to be focusing on Battle Points so that you can take out your opponent's cities and use those Battle Points to buy the Wonder Cards (which stay out in your tableau once played), and on the third hand, you're trying to accumulate Knowledge Points so you can control the dragon and send Volfyirion against your opponent's cities (or send him away if he's come to ravage your lands).

It's a tricky balance between the three types of Points that you can accumulate on your cards.  Additionally, many cards have a second-line action, which can give you a bonus if they are played with other cards of particular colors (a Synergy Chain) or if you decide to discard them from the game altogether (the Remove Option), so you're trying to keep those in mind as well.

Remember those Wonder Cards that stay out in your tableau? Your opponent can use Knowledge Points to Seal a Wonder Card (tap it) and force you to use your own Knowledge Points to Unseal it before you can use it again!

There are a lot of intriguing new mechanics in Volfyirion that make it different from other deck-builders we've played.

The Good:
Volfyirion has a lot going for it: the art is beautiful and enriches the fantasy storyline.  The dragon meeple is adorably fun, but backers may want to replace it with the sculpted mini available in the campaign, because who can resist a gorgeous mini?

Volfyirion is a multi-layered deck-builder with a high level of player interaction and a great depth of strategy while sticking to a relatively short play time. The quick play (and fast setup) makes it easy to get in more games, and the layered strategy will have you itching to play "just one more time" to see if a new method might let you grasp victory even sooner.

The Bad:
If you're not a fan of direct confrontation or take-that in games, you might not enjoy Volfyirion, which requires you to strategically defeat your opponent's cities, send the dragon after them, and shut down their Wonders.

My other bad-but-really-good critique is that I would love to see more.  I know that the small deck size keeps Volfyirion both portable and quick to play, but I would definitely be interested in seeing new cards and expansions from them in the future.

Players Who Like:
Players who enjoy head-to-head deck-builders set in the fantasy world--think Ascension, Dominion, or Magic: The Gathering--will slide easily into Volfyirion. Players who like city-building, like Machi Koro or Dice City, may also enjoy the facets of Volfyirion that let you build your tableau and add strength to your cities.

Final Thoughts:
Lose yourself in the fantastic realm of Mythsea as you work to build your House's strength in Command, Knowledge, and Battle. Add Wonders to your deck and strive to be the best at controlling the dragon Volfyirion to vanquish your foe and arise victorious. Volfyirion is an engaging fantasy deck-builder with a quick play time and layered strategy that we're eager to return to again and again.  Volfyirion is a keeper.

Check out Volfyirion on:


On KICKSTARTER now. Campaign ends November 15, 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!
Volfyirion Kickstarter Preview Volfyirion Kickstarter Preview Reviewed by MamaGames - Alexa C. on October 18, 2018 Rating: 5

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