Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Gaming with the Wife Volume 1 - Summoner Wars

Gaming with the Wife is an ongoing column where I talk about the games my wife, a non-gamer, likes and dislikes. If you're married to a non-gamer hopefully this column will present a little information and humor.

Summoner Wars
Volume 1 - Summoner Wars

Welcome to the first entry in Gaming with the Wife. As a married gamer with two girls ages 6 and 8 my gaming time is reduced to once a week with my friends. This means for me to get games I prefer to the table it takes a very long time at our regular Thursday meetings.

Since I also review and discuss games daily I need to find other ways to get those games in. Living in a household of women presents a challenge as to which games are going to be hits and which games are going to end after 4 turns. Playing solo is a good way to learn a game but I seldom prefer to review a game without playing it many times with another living opponent.

My wife is a non-gamer in the sense that before I started easing her into our hobby a night of gaming might of consisted of Scattegories or Balderdash. However she is wonderful in that she is willing to give any game a try with me. I find it amazing what she likes and doesn't like, in fact I am proud to say one of her favorite games is Twilight Struggle.

This particular night it was my wife who wanted to play a game and try something new. However time was short and I didn't want to hit her with a game that had complex rules so I looked over my collection and Summoner Wars jumped out at me.

After a quick setup I went over the rules which is something I always dread. My wife like a lot of players gets that glazed look in her eyes when rules are being explained. She prefers to learn as we go but surprisingly with Summoner Wars she had no problem staying with my 5 minute explanation of the turn sequence and how the game worked.

Soon we were off and quickly I had the advantage. Having played the game before I knew what cards to summon and how to work the battlefield. As she played actions I gave her advice, "If you move that guy there his special ability will kick in if this guy attacks".

It didn't take her long to catch on and before I knew if the battle had gone from one sided to pretty balanced. Unfortunately for her she had some cards she had trouble getting out due to the summoning cost and I pressed the advantage once again. My victory was not as easy as I expected it to be from the first few turns but it was definitely my experience playing the game that paid dividends.

After the game we went through the various faction decks, talked some strategy and even set up some examples. I was pretty surprised by this, usually a gaming session ends in me cleaning up and her going to bed. However with Summoner Wars I could see the wheels turning. She was thinking of ways to better play the game and more importantly what faction she wanted to try next.

A few days later I asked her about the game, she said she absolutely loved it. She, like many equated it as a similar experience to playing chess a game she loves. It easily made it into her top five games and here where her reasons.

1. Easy to learn rules
2. Card were well written and explained what they did.
3. Turn sequence made sense and not a lot of "stuff" going on.
4. Felt like she had a chance to win even in her first game against an experienced opponent
5. Liked the variety of the different "teams"

Verdict: Play it again anytime.

Next time I'll be covering Defenders of the Realm a co-operative game which is a genre my wfie really enjoys.


Ryan said...

So how long does it take to play the game? I run a school game club and am always looking for something good that can be played in under an hour.

Dan said...

Ryan - A 2 player game of Summoner Wars can easily be played in under an hour. Once you know the rules I'd say the average game time for me is 45 minutes.

If you get both starter sets you can play a 4 player game which is going to take about double the time.

I should also point out that Summoner Wars is releasing a boxed set in June / July. This will contain 6 factions and a mounted board. These 6 factions are all new and plug in with whats out now.

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