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Godsforge Review

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Quick Look: Godsforge.       See French Review HERE.


Designer: Brendan Stern
Artist: Diego L. Rodríguez
Publisher: Atlas Games
Year Published: 2019

No. of Players: 2-4
Ages: 14+
Playing Time: 20-40 minutes.
 
Find more info HERE.
 
From the Publisher:

Etherium is the ultimate source of magical power. Once, it was plentiful and the land was peaceful, but Etherium slowly receded from the land, dwindling to a single site.

The mighty fought for this mystic forge, where powerful artifacts were crafted. By weaving Etherium with other elements, titans were summoned and devastating sorceries conjured, giving wizards the power of gods.

You are a great mage, battling for this last reservoir of Etherium. You’ll craft creations and cast spells to defeat your rivals, leaving you as master of the Godsforge!

Disclaimer: The publisher provided the prototype copy of Godsforge & all material displayed. The opinions expressed in the review are completely my own.
 
Review:
Overview:

Godsforge is an engine building card game making use of near-random resources in which one to six players are raking one another down. 

Near-random resources:

Roll four 6 faced dice. Result is 4-3-3-1. From those fully random resources you may re-roll any.  You wanted three of a kind so you keep 3-3 and re-roll 4-1. You rolled 6-6. Two newly random generated resources.  Now take those and add to the resources you kept you got 3-3-6-6.  Are those resources still 100% random? It involved you making a decision and risk analysis of keeping 3-3 after phase one, you decided not to re-roll making the end resources 3-3-6-6 not 100% random.  Let’s say that I allow you to change values with +1/-1 MODIFIER on the dice with the price of 1$ per change.  You do because you wanted three of a kind and decide to pay 3$ to convert those resources into 3-6-6-6.  Clearly your money was not randomly generated.  How would you after those three steps qualify your resources (3-6-6-6) Those are not random numbers anymore, though you got them initially by rolling dice and using an extra resource to tamper with them a little bit.  That’s what near-randomness is all about, it’s random but heavily influenced by your actions and risk analysis.

Pure luck games are good for casinos but if no decision making process is involved whatsoever in the process only really small children that are happy to move colorful pieces around might enjoy it as a board game.

Including the right balance of luck (or rather probability) in a game is key in modern games to have the kick and deception of playing.

Godsforge is a card game with a shared deck that uses dice as primary resource and the developer managed to find that balance just right.

Godsforge – core game – as such:

The core game plays with 1 to 4 players.  First of let’s say that Godsforge is unique in the way that you are defending to the right and attacking to the left.  In 1-2 player games it doesn’t mean much but in a four-player game the effect you are building may be useful against one of your neighbors and useless against the other, so be careful.  It also means that if you manage to kill one opponent you will still face possibly two (weakened) adversaries.

To do so each player plays with a hand of 4 cards.  Before each turn players may discard up to two and draw back to 4 from a shared deck of cards.  Players roll 4 personal 6 faced dice and may decide to re-roll two of them.  Then players simultaneously decide which card from their hand they want to play.

To do so a player must have the right dice combination in a variety of “exact numbers”, three of a kind, four of a kind, sum bigger than or a combination of multiple conditions. 

From the dice not used and other effects, players will collect crystals that may later be used to pay cards or change dice values with +1/-1 modifications.

All at once players reveal what their play is.  There are two types of cards, permanent and non-permanent.  Both may be a combination of effects like, deal damage to your left hand opponent, protect you from your right hand opponent or destroy a permanent card in play.

Cards have effect upon reveal and permanent effects, some of which are scalable as hell dealing a massive blow at once.

When one of the players dies you don’t find yourself in a Werewolf of miller hollows case where you have to wait for the game to end, everything accelerates as all remaining players take a flat 7 damage per turn (which is a lot on a maximum of 30 life points).

Last one standing wins the game.

Material

Overall Graphics:

Stunning! The overall vibe that the art reflects on the player is very good and the creator chose a very strong artistic direction of superpositions but it is paying off!

Small “hick-up”, not every card has a unique art style and the art has been reused, not a problem as such but it doesn’t allow you to identify an effect purely on art.

Cards:

The Smart idea was to decide that the visual on a card would define the fact that the card is permanent or not.  A general shape/mandala is a non-permanent card whereas a pictorial representation of a mythical creature or human is a permanent card.  Cards are well designed, easy to read and to understand without any possibility to mix the effect, the pictograms are self-explanatory, even reminding the rotation of attack and defense.

Board:

Cardboard quality and paper up to today’s standard, nothing wrong, nothing extra.  Useful and practical.

Plastic shards and life token:

Standard shards, nice choice of color for the life tokens, good plastic quality in standard shape

Expansions:

Foreword on expansions:

I generally like expansions of games I like; it was even more true when I was a kid and used to polish games I loved to the point I knew all the mission cards there was in Ticket to Ride for example with the amount of points they would bring.

Expansions allow you to either discover a game as intended by the developer but which was not sold at once due to marketing/budget decisions.  Or they allow you to tweak something you knew already without needing to read a full rulebook and learn a whole new game.  Neat.

 

But there is something I really hate about expansions, the price.  A big box cost “roughly” the same as a small box in terms of cardboard and logistics (I know it isn’t strictly true) but due to print quantity and the amount of extra energy that is placed into developing the expansion, most of the time they feel overpriced with regard to the bas game.  (And I say that as an owner of Arvin and Dexter’s expansion to TTR as well as the Halloween trains).

On the other hand, one thing that expansions tend to bring nowadays is the possibility to extend the player count at the same time they bring new mechanics.  Which allows retailers to lower the price of the base game (it contains less cards and tokens).

 

 (Expansion for Godsforge) Godsforge: Return of the Dragon Gods

Designer: Brendan Stern
Artist: Diego L. Rodríguez
Publisher: Atlas Games
Year Published: July 2023

No. of Players: Adds 1 Player
Ages: 14+
Playing Time: 20-40 minutes.
Find more info HERE.

Both expansions come with the material and enough cards to bring an extra player into the game.

This expansion introduces the possibility to upgrade cards that are already in play and a lot of the stronger creatures (hence the name).  I personally preferred playing with this expansion than without (although we kept the player count at 2).

 

(Expansion for Godsforge) Godsforge: Twilight of the Great Houses

Designer: Brendan Stern
Artist: Diego L. Rodríguez
Publisher: Atlas Games
Year Published: July 2023

No. of Players: Adds 1 Player
Ages: 14+
Playing Time: 20-40 minutes.
Find more info HERE.

Once again both expansions come with the material and enough cards to bring an extra player into the game.

This expansion brings asymmetry into the game, each player starting with a unique power allowing them to choose a sort of archetype rather than standard play.

Although this is great, I believe the full potential is met with high player count games that I couldn’t test.

So should I buy it?

I’d say Yes.  If you are into take that card games and want something that plays with a possible high player count simultaneously (like 7 wonders).

Playing simultaneously but only having to check your neighbors is a great mechanic as such and allows for very short down time during the play.

I talk about high player count though the box says 1-4 players.  Why is that?  Well for simultaneous play it all comes down to the number of cards available in the end.  So I’d say depending on what you are buying you could extend up to 8 players.

Here is a little buying guide:

Playing 1 to 4 : Buy the base game.

Playing up to 5 : Buy the base game and 1 expansion

Playing up to 6 : Buy the base game and 2 expansions

Playing up to 8 : Buy 2 base games (if you go with expansions you’d rather go for twice the same than one of each with this set up)

 

After reading QuelqunQui’s review, if this sounds like a game for you at the time of this posting Godsforge is currently $39.95  for $27.91 and free Prime Shipping

on AMAZON via our Amazon Affilate Link!! (Won’t cost you anymore and it’s a way to support us here at Everything Board Games!)

Check it out and get yours HERE.

Find out more HERE.
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QuelqunQui- Reviewer

QuelqunQui (literally Someone who in French) is an eclectic who can’t stop doing more than one thing at a time..  Quelqunqui is a harpsichordist and gamer at heart that doesn’t abide by rules he doesn’t believe in.  When not playing he’s traveling the world for the Belgian Air force.

See QuelqunQui‘s reviews HERE.

 

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