Yesterday I finally got round to playing a couple of games of Ashes Rise of the Phoenixborn. Jonathan founding member of Fenland Gamers (if you live in the Wisbech area and love board games you really should be giving it serious thought about joining, they are a really friendly bunch of gamers.) kindly said he would play the game with me.
Before we met up I had already built two of the suggested pre-built decks for two of the Phoenixborn (well over a week before actually). The basis for deciding which two to play was “oh they look cool”.
Our first game was a learning game, with constant referencing to the rules as we both embarked on a steep learning curve. In the first game I played Aradel, while Jonathan played Noah.
Neither of us knew the cards in each deck, didn't know the combos, or how we should be playing them. What should our five starting cards have been?
Wow what a mismatch. Noah was all about reacting to the actions of the opposing Phoenixborn with the odd bit of direct damage from his allie character. While Aradel was all about the offensive building up her forces, clearing the opponents battlefield and swinging in for her damage.
It wasn't long before I had six mist spirits out on the battlefield, doing six points of damage in total to Noah each time they attacked. With Aradels spells, every time Jonathan got a unit on to his battlefield I was sending them straight back. I was starting to feel bad about doing this.
Aradel was certainly the much stronger Phoenixborn to be playing. It was easier and quicker to get units out on the battlefield, and much easier to control the opposing Phoenixborns battlefield.
It also seemed that Jonathan was getting through his thirty card deck a lot faster than I was.
Our second game saw Jonathan and I swap Phoenixborn. Jonathan was playing Aradel, while I was playing Noah.
We both looked through our new decks, working out which five cards to use as our starting hand. I spotted a combination that bought on two spider units when a unit of mine was destroyed. I also loaded up two of the same spell that would allow me to focus the spell and summon a wolf unit cheaply.
I got a wolf and a couple of spiders out early. I also noted a combination between a smoke type demon that with a spell I had could become real and be even more harder to get rid of.
Sadly I had a hard time keeping forces out on the battlefield, I did a reasonable job of slowing down the mist spirits engine. But the inevitable happened and my Phoenixborn was knocked out.
Afterwards Jonathan commented how he found Aradel a lot easier to play, and he had also paid attention to how I had played her.
Reflecting on Noah and the pre-constructed deck, I think the decks they suggest in the manual are there to teach/illustrate different playing styles/techniques. Noah's I believe is to teach about reaction and counter spells. But in doing so I believe the Noah pre-constructed deck is under powered. It will be interesting to see how he does against some of the other Phoenixborn.
I have to say that I owe Jonathan a really big thank you. This living card game/collectable card game format is not one of his favourite style of games. So I really appreciate the fact he tried the game.
Finally New Arrivals
First up the latest expansion for Machi Koro arrived Millionaires Row
The latest Love Letter, Love Letter Adventure Time also arrived but no photo, because that has gone straight out as a present for a friends daughter who seems to be a big fan of the show.
The Lego Star Wars Advent Calander also arrived and has gone straight into safe keeping until the start of December. Otherwise I would have opened it all up already. Yes for some things I have no self control.