Thursday, November 3, 2016

100 Swords (Laboratory)

You grew up in a small village your whole life. Every day was more drudgery and more of the same. Lately, you have been seeing your friends coming back with treasure and telling tales of dungeons, dragons, and even mammoths! (Whatever that may be) You grow weary of life passing you by and want to experience this adventure as well. One day you finally decide to leave this town, before you can talk yourself out of it again. Armed with an old pair of boots and a crappy sword, you embark on what you hope will be a quest for fame and fortune. This is 100 Swords100 Swords is a micro-deck building game for two players (with the potential for four players), taking approximately 25 minutes. Season One base decks retail for $15 and booster packs for $8. Season Two is currently on Kickstarter, so let's learn how to play the game!
1. Set aside the Boss Card you wish to use.
2. Give each player their Starting Deck. (This deck is composed of 6 Crappy Swords, 1, Awkward Sword, and 2 Boots.)
3. Designate an area for your personal Discard Pile and above that your Trophy Pile.
4. Place the three Rental Items (marked with an R) in reach of all players.
5. Shuffle all other cards face down to form the Dungeon Deck.
6. Draw nine cards from the Dungeon Deck and add the Boss Card to them. Shuffle those ten cards and place them at the bottom of the Dungeon Deck. (Note: If using a Dungeon Builder Set in addition to a base deck, you would then draw an additional five cards from the Dungeon Deck and place them below those ten cards.)
7. Draw five cards from the Dungeon Deck and place them face down in a row. This forms the Dungeon, and each card is considered a room in the Dungeon.
8. To the right of the Dungeon Deck, leave an empty space for the Vaporized Pile.
9. Have each player shuffle their Starting Deck and draw five cards to form their hand.
Game Play - The game plays out over a series of alternating turns until the Boss is defeated or the Dungeon Deck is emptied and there are less than five cards in the Dungeon. On your turn, you perform the following actions in order:
1. Rent any of the Rental Items before entering the Dungeon, using cards from your hand as Energy to pay the rental fees.
2. Using cards from your hand, use these cards as movement (Boot symbol), to Defeat Monsters (Fist Symbol), Acquire an item (Each card is worth one Energy/Lightning Bolt).
3. Discard any cards that you played this turn or left in your hand.
4. Slide the Dungeon cards from the right to the left to fill in any empty rooms and refill any empty rooms with cards from the Dungeon Deck until there are five rooms in the Dungeon again.
6. See if you met the win condition mentioned above. If not, draw your new hand of five cards from your deck, shuffling your discard pile if necessary to reform your deck, and the next player begins.

Game End - After the game ends, add up all the coins on your cards, both in your hand and in your discard pile. The player with the most coins wins.

Deck building games are one of my guilty pleasures when it comes to games. If there is a new deck builder out there, I want to try it. 100 Swords takes the mechanism, gives you multi-use cards, adds a memory element to it, and places it in the genre of a dungeon crawl to boot. This is a lot of bang both for your buck and for a deck of cards no bigger than a poker deck. Another positive for me are the graphics. They have an early video game system feel to them, which I like, and the symbols on all the cards are big enough to help you easily understand what the card can do, without being too big that it detracts from the artwork.

This is Season Two for the game 100 Swords. In Season One, we received two decks, Red Dragon and Blue Mammoth, and four expansions/Dungeon Builder Sets. Season Two is giving us two more decks, the possibility of another four expansions, and a multiplayer option (more on that later). With the ability to mix and match the base games and the expansions, This gives you loads of replay value and the ability to customize your game. The game is also super easy to learn and plays in under 30 minutes. This is both a positive and a negative for me. On the plus side, you can play a game or two during your lunch time. On the negative, for me at least, my wife wishes the game were a bit longer, because she feels like whenever she is getting into a game, it ends.

The only knock I had about this game came from Season One, and that was that the game only supported two players. Unless it is just you and your wife, or you and a friend, who play games, you would have to leave your family/friends out unless you had multiple decks and did it tournament style or something of that nature. The Multi-User Dungeon (M.U.D. for short) expansion pack now allows you to play the game with three or four players (assuming you have at least two decks of cards).

With a low price-point, small footprint, easy game play, quick playing time, and solid graphics, I can think of nothing wrong with this game. Season Two is currently on Kickstarter and I invite you to check it out. It is about halfway through its campaign, and while fully funded, it needs your support to make it better. I really appreciate/admire the way they are doing their campaign. Most campaigns set dollar figure goals to reach to make the game better. Laboratory, however, is using the system of number of backers. They realize that some people may only want/need/can afford one deck at this time, and others (like myself) want it ALL! So whether you pledge for one deck, or the whole kit and caboodle, your pledge makes a difference and essentially counts the same. So if this sounds like a game for you, and honestly, how could it not, go make this campaign a success, so eventually, we will get Season Three.