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Cybermancy: Virtual Arena Preview


Quick Look: Cybermancy: Virtual Arena


Cybermancy: Virtual Arena
Designer: Carl Dean Cox
Publisher: See Forever Games
Year Published: 2020
No. of Players: 2 (2-4)
Ages: 14+
Playing Time: 20–30 minutes
Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

Review
War has moved to cyberspace, or to be more specific to a virtual arena. Lives once risked are now safe as elite programmers, cybromancers, work their binary magic to create forces to enter the arena and battle. The objective is to get past the summoned to get to the real opponent and deal damage directly to them, making them withdraw from the battlefield with the creatures they’ve created.
Cybermancy: Virtual Arena is a card game pitting opponents against each other for a winner take all battle. Each player has an initial deck created from the cards provided, along with the use of two resources CPU and RAM to bring their forces to life in the electronic combat arena.
The use of CPU and RAM and their controlled escalation during game progression creates a need to do some resource management within a round and between rounds.  The level of the two resources limits the strength of the forces called into battle each round. Along with limiting the strength of the individual force, you spend resources to bring them, and those forces must be available within your hand.
We played a preview copy of Cybermancy, using suggested predetermined 30 card decks, humans and undead. It was a one-on-one battle. Cybermancy was easy to learn. It was enjoyable with base tactics of calling forth your creatures for direct battle. Strategy develops with the special qualities listed on the cards for the different forces.
CPU and RAM
Setup
Ours consisted of using the 30 cards identified for each player from the 100 provided (50 each for humans and undead). The game is listed for 2–4 players and the rules state each player needs a 30 card deck.
You need to know a little of how the cards work before continuing. Each card has a CPU cost in the upper left corner and a RAM cost in the upper right corner. You need to spend those costs to bring the card into play. Furthermore, the first round starts with a capacity of 1 CPU and 1 RAM, so during the first round, only cards with a cost of 1 and 1 can enter play. The last phase of the round is to advance the power marker. The player decides to advance one or the other, CPU or RAM. On the second round of play, you will be limited to those cards which are within the limit you set, either 1 CPU and 2 RAM or 2 CPU and 1 RAM.
Continuing with setup. Draw seven creature cards to create a hand. You can keep or redraw any number of the seven original cards once. Discard the cards you want to return to your draw pile and draw that many replacement cards. The discarded cards are shuffled back into the draw deck.
Draw five of each of the Power cards (CPU and RAM). You can also redraw one time for these cards. The deck is then reshuffled. The drawn and kept power cards are set in a pile face up so players can see the capacity each has.
Place the markers on your power tracking at one for both CPU and RAM. Mark your health at maximum, 30 points.
The first player is ready to start.
Tracking
Gameplay
Each game round is divided into five phases.
PHASE ONE: Main
Players summon new creatures and attack with any available forces. This continues in a back and forth manner until neither player has any more moves or chooses to pass. Most creatures are brought in to play buffered and are unable to attack. Some have the ability to attack the same round they are summoned.
All creatures brought into play must be within the limits as noted on the power card and the player needs to have reserve Power to bring them in. More than one creature can be brought in during this phase and they can use the same source of Power until it is depleted.
PHASE TWO: Discard
All used Power cards and defeated creatures are removed from play.
PHASE THREE: Draw
Players draw one card from each of the three decks: a Creature card for their hand and a CPU and a RAM to add to their stacks on the table.
PHASE FOUR: Refresh
All buffered creatures are refreshed for the next round.
PHASE FIVE: Advance Power Marker
Player can advance their Power by one step. They can choose to advance CPU or RAM, but not both. Be careful to check what you have in your hand for determining your strategy for the upcoming rounds.
The player who didn’t make the last attack starts the next round.
Theme and Mechanics
The theme of a computer-based virtual realm for where the combat takes place allows for an easy transition of the mechanics of using CPU and RAM. Having two limiting functions and using those in two different levels provides a higher complexity of strategy.
The creation of the deck, or in our case using the predetermined deck is along the same lines as other games using a managed deck. The combat is a straight forward comparison between the cards. The limitation of the power levels on each round for the strength of the creature you can bring into battle adds a different factor of planning for your actions in the current and following rounds.
Undead
Artwork and Components
The artwork is quite fantastical, which is fitting for the theme and the setting of the game.
The Good
  • Quick to learn the basics
  • Replay-ability

Final Thoughts
Cybermancy was fun and compelling. The additional limitation of provided another element of strategy and planning.
Variations are included in the rules to allow team play and drafting. These would allow players who become savvier with the strategy to add more complexity to the game.
Players Who Like
  • Deck management combat

Humans

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Daniel Yocom - Reviewer

Daniel Yocom does geeky things by night because his day job won’t let him. This dates back to the 1960s through games, books, movies, and stranger things better shared in small groups. He’s written hundreds of articles about these topics for his own blog, other websites, and magazines along with stories, after extensive research. His research includes attending conventions, sharing on panels and presentations, and road-tripping with his wife. Join in the geeky fun at guildmastergaming@blogspot.com.

See Daniel's reviews HERE.
Cybermancy: Virtual Arena Preview Cybermancy: Virtual Arena Preview Reviewed by Guild Master Gaming on April 09, 2020 Rating: 5

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