Components Rating: 8/10
Fun Rating: 8/10
Art Rating: 10/10
Playing Time: 15-30 mins
Volfyrion caught my attention back in 2018/19 when I caught wind of the Kickstarter for a really cool looking two person, deck building card game. Now as a person who like the deck building mechanic and deck based engines for games I was all aboard this kickstarter kick and with the base game coming in at a sweetly low price of €9, which was about £7 at the time for early backers, I was reaching for my wallet in seconds!!!
And who could blame me! I mean when you looked at the components there was nothing but love for the art style, the aesthetic, the core rules they’d leaked and the content they were offering on stretch goals. It was brilliant!!! I mean the game has a fricking dragon in it that devours cities whole!!!
So they had my money and with many a Kickstarter campaign, it was a all a case of waiting from then on.
Fast forward 9 months or so and I would get a chance to play.
First impressions were really good. The box, the contents and the card were all of the best quality. The rule-book was easy to follow. The little dragon token was cool and cute. I could see the time and effort gone into them was top notch. Good.
So I had a game that looked good… but did it play good.
Well to explain let me give you a little breakdown of the game itself.
So, the object in Volfyrion is to defeat your opponent by destroying their 3 city cards, each have their own defense value ranging from 9, 10 and 11. You can do this through various means.
Way #1 is to build up your resources and lay siege to your opponents city. The three core resources in the game are “Command”, “Knowledge” and “Battle”(aka attack power). Command points is the currency of the game. You use it to buy new cards to make your deck bigger, stronger and better. Anybody familiar to deck building games will get this mechanic easy enough. Buy it, discard it, then shuffle it into the deck when next able to. Knowledge is used to unlock special abilities. When you “tap” (that means use or activate) a card with a special ability, you may expend these accumulate knowledge points to make them better. Battle is your attack as I mentioned and you use that to pummel your opponent into submission.
Way #2 and what I consider the more fun way is to use your resources to tame the beast that is the dragon Volfyrion from which the game gets it’s name and have it consume the city in hellfire and wrath… ain’t I a stinker. You can control Volfyrion temporarily by using your knowledge to bend the creature’s will to your own, or slay the beast and take it’s lair and all the bounties there in. (Volfyrion’s lair like any good dragon base is stacked with loot!)
The game ends when one player has no more cities and the other is victorious!!!
So – gameplay?
I think it’s pretty good. As the deck building mechanics are pretty solid, your starting deck of 10 “generic” cards are solid and enough to get an engine up and running and from there you can customise.
There is, you see, many ways to win the game and while there is the threat of your opponent throwing a spanner in the works by unleashing the dragon itself, there’s a good amount of craft to the system. You all share the same resources and the options of cards each turn. You also have the option to disrupt the new cards available denying an opponent a card they could use. Added to this the colour coded system which rewards players for crafting deck synergy and you have a lot of thinky-ness to this simple card game. Now, it is by now means perfect as late game, against an opponent with a ridiculously effective and efficient engine means you all but a subjected to barrage of destruction that nothing can stop, not even the tyrant Volfyrion, but these moments are few as there’s enough chaos within your turn to force your opponent to have to check against your upcoming attack, thereby delaying their malevolent intentions.
A game with some serious meat then and enjoyable. But wait- there’s more. With the stretch goals adding some fun new objective and special ability cards and with a rather cool, if somewhat easy, Solo player mode (I’ve played it eight times and never come close to losing), there’s a ton of replayability!
That’s not until I’ve got back to the thing that makes this game really shine though and that is — the artwork!
I mean it! This is a seriously pretty game! I mean look at some of these cards artwork! The semi-abstract nature, blended with science fiction and fantasy elements, vibrant colour schemes and strange mystical elements!!! I’m LITERALLY SCREAMING WRITING THIS REVIEW!!!!
So, all in all, I think Volfyrion and the guys over at Tabua games really hit a winner with this one. It’s one that I think deserves a place on the board game shelf. It’s not going to come out during a games night with multiple friends round, but against a wily opponent it’s a vibrant, competent and highly enjoyable experience.