John Clowdus and Kolossal Games are going big on this pimped new re-release of the Omen: a Reign of War series. There have been already two iterations of this saga and a lot of expansions of this BGG award nominee game saga since 2011. But we dare to say, this is going to be a big overhaul from the Smallbox editions and is going to be a fantastic line of games which this collaboration between these two publishers is bringing to us!
“Open your mouth and shut your eyes and see what Zeus will send you.”~ Aristophanes c. 446 – c. 386 BC
Let’s dig in and face our enemy
The big elephant in the room here is the F.A.N.T.A.S.T.I.C looking artwork which is even more elaborately showcased in this new edition. While we received a Print & Play preview copy, which is just crazy good looking and done by Print & Play, we are mesmerized by the portrait artwork. A host of artists did a stellar job of capturing the gist of this fantasy time period and they set the tone of the world you are fighting in and with, very well. But don’t get pulled in too deep, it will cost you…(check here how much 🙂)
As greedy sons and daughters of Zeus, you will pillage and carnage three cities in Greece for its divine prowess, control of the majority to gain victory points and combining all kinds of different power units at your disposal.
- Soldiers: for their brute force and controlling cities. When deployed, they give you a nice extra benefit as well.
- Beasts: even more formidable with their huge strength, but they take up more space in your city for being Colossal. Discard them for some game-changing state actions, called a Dirge.
- Oracles: bring their passive powers to the cities, they may not be as strong at first look as other units, but those sweet passive boons will have some nice benefits, in the long run, to turn tides your way.
- Hero’s: what are stories without heroes? These units are great powers or are very rewarding if you can save them until the end. Treasure them.
- Spirits: the advanced units with their huge magical powers. Those aren’t for the weak of mind and will be even more grandiose when you use their Invoke possibilities.
The flow of the game
- Wealth Step, here you will gain more cards or money to spend on cards.
- Surge Step here is the main part of the game and where you spend most of your time strategizing.
- Choose a unit card from your hand.
- Pay the cost of that unit in coins by returning coins to the supply.
- Place that unit card into one of the three cities on their side of the city board.
- Resolve any deploy abilities on the unit.
- Portent Step, here your Oracles will fire their passive powers and will let you get extra money, change cards and a whole host of other actions.
- Feat Step, the objectives you can achieve
- War Step, battles are what the Gods demand and carnage is what they will get! Count your power numbers and decide who won this battle. The loser will discard down till two cards in the city and the winner to one.
- Offering Step, discard one of your cards from hand to gain extra cards or money. Up until a limit of 5 in hand at the hand.
Already in the base game, there are possibilities to play with some variants. Especially the drafting variants are ones, which when you are more experienced with the cards, you surely want to go to. But the base game, with its central deck (like say 51st State), is one we ourselves love! And who knows? Maybe there will be more unlocked!
How does this end in the end?
While quite simple, when two out of the three stacks of City Rewards is depleted or when one of the players has achieved five out of the six Feats they have in front of them.
After that, players immediately count up their victory points and the one with the most of those will be receiving the blessing of the Gods. The points are on the reward tiles, through handheld Heroes or those feat cards.
Our initial thoughts
Let’s do this, let’s tell you what we thought after our first play’s of this colossal little card game. We love the contradicting in this, just a small box with a lot of game packed into it. We haven’t played any of the earlier editions so we cannot say how it has changed or compares. But, from the information we got from Kolossal Games, it is mostly just are little revisions, rules tweaks, adding reward tiles and a physical central board. As we got to know Kolossal Games a little better over the last few months, we can advise to follow along with the Kickstarter closely for some surprises and more fun stuff they will have for you all. Their first three projects were amazing and they are all-in to over-delivering on everything they do. They are going to give us a whole bunch of Omen products to explore and aren’t just here for solely the re-print possibilities.
While I myself have played a lot of Magic styled card games in the past, Erna hasn’t. She did need some time to adjust to the Keyword implementation, but I can tell you it is implemented very solidly and she picked up the game very quickly. The variety of units and the coming standalone products will bring a whole Omen Saga to your table and we can imagine us highly liking getting all of these in the end. Due to the easy ruleset and clear flow of the game, it will get you playing very quick. It does take a few rounds to see where the strategy is, but in the end, the base game is a medium to light tactical strategy card game. While we say that, we only played the base game and including more different units, more rewards, more feats, we do see the potential for it to be a more complex game. The system allows for that and that’s a big plus in our opinion.
- A huge variety of units and there are so many possibilities within this system.
- It’s far from a single player solitary experience, watching the moves of your opponent and take-that are through the roof here. Be tactical, but be strategic as well if you want the blessing of the Gods.
- Very short play time, but still a lot of game in those 25 – 40 minutes it takes to play.
- The artwork and setting are fantastic.
- Clear rules and you will be playing within minutes. When you are not accustomed to the Keyword feature, it may take a little longer, but not so much when you start with the base game.
Lowlights (not really though…)
- It can be quite mean and has a lot of take-that, so if you ain’t keen on that, this can rub some people the wrong way.
- You need to play the other player’s game also, we like that, but some may not.
- Experienced players may trump new players, card knowledge is an advantage.
- We do love to see SO MUCH MORE content! But well, stay tuned for that fact here 😀
- There are some edge cases with specific powers how they should play out, but this is often the case with a lot of variety in different card powers.
Yes this preview is based on a received preview copy, and yes we are already liking a lot of what Kolossal games are doing lately, but to be honest, they are are just crushing it. And this latest endeavor looks like no exception. We hope this campaign goes over well and will lead to a huge amount of content for the Omen Saga. We did approach this as usual and put it out against our review criteria, but for a longer review, you will need to wait until the full product is available. These are our initial thoughts, based on the current state of the game. (which may change during Kickstarter, who knows.)
Go visit the Kickstarter page and if you liked our preview, please let us know in the comments below or on our Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or BGG accounts!
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~ Marlon & Erna
Preview copy was provided by the fantastic folks behind Kolossal games, thanks Y’all!