MK Review: Aeons End
Welcome back from our little holiday break. We will be reviewing a game that has just started landing on Tabletops across the US and Canada, with international shipping in progress. Yet another game birthed through the crowd funding site known as Kickstarter, we welcome Aeons End by Action Phase Games to our list of games reviewed. It is set to be released this December, just in time for the Holidays! As an extra bonus, this is our first review of what they can't quite call a "Living Card Game" (LCG).
First we should probably define the term for those of you who are not familiar with the LCG style. It is a relatively new category that has been created and defined by Fantasy Flight Games (FFG), so as they own the term, we will use the definition given on their site:
The Core Set is the heart of a LCG. Each LCG’s Core Set is a completely self-contained game experience packed with content, including high-quality game pieces and immersive game aides designed to enhance play. Additionally, each Core Set contains multiple decks that provide an exciting and infinitely replayable game experience right out of the box."
Aeons End Can not officially be called an LCG for the same reasons that Champagne is only Champagne if made in the traditional method, both using grapes from, and created in the Champagne region of France. Even if done in the exact same method, using cloned grapes to assure flavor profile perfection, it can not be called Champagne because the French will not allow it. Thus no game other than one owned, created and distributed by FFG can officially call their game an LCG. So Aeons End is a cooperative build-as-you-play deck building game!
Three types of cards can be found in the Nemesis deck. The Rageborn has a secondary deck called the "Strike Deck" that relates to his personal abilities. You will find "Minion" cards that are the beasts either trying to remove your throat, or attacking the poor city of Gravehold. There are "Power" cards that unleash devastating abilities on either you or your home. The last card type in the nemesis deck is the "Attack" card. This one will most often be direct damage to a specific target.
I will admit right here and now, that I lost my first game. I was so interested in increasing my gems and buying power that when the hits really started landing I was facing a full-health boss with half-health mages and much damage already spreading through the city. I should have been paying more attention to charging my powers and increasing my ability to do damage.
The packaging as I mentioned leaves a ton of empty space in the box. Normally I am quick to say how awesome this is, but in this particular case I am more inclined to ask: why? The amazing art on the cards and Mage/Nemesis play boards is definitely solid quality. The boards they are on are nice, thick cardboard stock, so longevity is provided. The size of these boards does not seem to have been a factor in box creation. The boards, even placed at an angle inside the box do not allow enough room for the box to close. Instead they must be balanced on top of the three inch (too much dead space) wide cardboard divider in the middle of the box. The rules book is basic paper pamphlet material about an inch short of filling the square of the box and sags down whatever side the player boards do not support. It is just my opinion, but the packaging should be designed to store all the game pieces in an organized and least possibly damaging way. This is more like a big box they had on hand with a quick cheap divider placed inside.
The only complaint I would have about the game itself is again a personal preference. I am not too fond of overly complicated set-up or breakdown of a game. I like to open a box and play with minimum delay and when the game is over, I want to put it in the box and walk away. The game set up requires some building of different decks dependent on the different characters and Nemesis chosen, as well as many different options for the "Market" of cards to buy into your deck during game play. While each and every one of these factors increases the replay value, it also increases the set up time, and the time it takes to separate and return the cards into the box.
The Wrap Up
Until next time ...Game On!