Before I begin I was provided a copy of the game in exchange for an honest review. This is not a paid review. If you would rather watch a video of this review, check it out below. Get your own copy here.
I love a quick portable game. If I can easily drop it in my bag, and bust it out and play it anywhere, I am a fan. The challenge is finding those games that engage me, and make me want to break it out again and again, and I am always on the look out for just such a game. So when I got the change to review Vanagloria, I was more than interested in seeing if this one would make the cut!
In Vanagloria each player is sorcerer trying to rule. Each game is a head to head (or up to four with two copies of the game) where you are striving to hold more power each turn to when the trick. Each round sees you selecting two action cards out of your hand and playing them on your sorcerer, then taking turns revealing and carrying out these actions in turn order.
On the surface that sounds pretty dry, but the key is that one of the actions is duplication, which allows you to put out up to two more copies of your sorcerer, which you can then power up, equip with weapons and send out to attack, obviously each one gaining its own two action cards each round.
At the beginning of the first five rounds a single point card is revealed, and the final five rounds one point card is revealed per player. The game ends after ten rounds have been played, then you count up who has earned the most points is the winner.
So what do I think?
I do enjoy the mechanics of the selection of action cards. You see there are not enough of every action to go around, so you wind up in a mental chess game of trying to figure out the best place to attack, that will not be shielded, and the best way to use your own shields to keep your sorcerers at full strength. If the game had enough of all the cards for all the sorcerers to do all of them, the game would not work.
The game has the potential to have a runaway leader in it. I did find that if you manage to get one or two really good rounds in a row you can get your opponent in a hole, and it seems almost insurmountable. Many folks wont be bothered by this, as it becomes part of the challenge, but it can be frustrating for some.
The art work to me is fine, it does the job, but it just does not really engage me, on top of that I was disappointed that the art is exactly the same for both players in the game. I feel like that is a missed opportunity.
Bringing it all together
Vanagloria is a fast, easy to learn and play card game that has a deeper strategic element to it than you would guess at first glance. There is something quite enjoyable about cloning your sorcerer and then methodically beating down your opponents inferior clones. The game can have a bit of a runaway leader feeling to it, and the art work left me wanting more.
Me and my magic sword say get to the point
* Solid strategy in a small box
* Requires you to read and outwit your opponent to win
* Art is fine, but could have been more varied
* Can have a runaway leader issue
* Game plays quickly and is easy to learn