In God of War: The Card Game, players take on the role of the Norns, powerful beings desperately seeking a way to stop Ragnarök. Looking into the well of Fate, Urðr, they can play out many different realities, seeing what possible course of action might save existence. In each of these scenarios, they’ll be facing off against different monsters and building up their own abilities, gaining more power as they progress. Let’s take a deeper look into the mechanics of the game and see just how these different elements come together to create a new take on a beloved franchise.
Setting up for a game of God of War: The Card Game begins with each player picking which hero they want to play. Choices include Kratos, Atreus, Freya, Sindri, and others from the God of War video game. Each character is unique, with different health totals, a unique special Ability, and a specialized starting deck. From there, players take the Quest cards, placing three down on the table creating a triangle. These cards become the first two Quests they must pass through. The Final Boss is chosen by shuffling the Boss cards and placing a set of three above the triangle of Quest cards. As players progress along thorough the Quests, they will have to decide which route they’ll take to get to the Final Boss. Unfinished Quests will impose a hindrance to play, so choosing carefully is important.
Once the Quest and Boss cards are laid out, it’s time to set up for the first Quest. Players take the appropriate Scene deck and spread the cards out on the table creating a Mosaic. These cards represent the foe that the heroes must overcome. The cards have a starting side, and will be flipped to reveal a damaged side, usually when players have dealt enough damage to that particular card. Each Quest has its own win conditions that players will have to figure out. They will test players’ strategic thinking, as different tactics must be employed to finish the various Quests.
The enemy’s actions are determined by the Monster Activation deck. Each card has a different attack that the monster can take, from regular forms of attacks to devastating special attacks that can send the heroes reeling. After being shuffled, players will place two facedown cards per player above the Mosaic of Scene cards. These will be the first sets of attacks the monster will make.
Players must also set up the Upgrade deck. These are the cards they’ll pull from when it’s time to add new cards to their personal hero decks. Shuffle the deck and then flip out a number of cards equal to the number of players plus one. So, if there’s three players in the game, four cards will be revealed.
The last step before going into battle is placing the hero standees next to the Mosaic. Location matters, as heroes will attack the row of cards in front of them. If two or more heroes are placed in the same column, players must decide what rank they are in. Only the front rank can make melee attacks against the monster, and they’ll also take any damage the monster dishes out to that column, potentially blocking less-defensive characters from taking damage.
Now it’s time to attack!
A game round consists of three phases: Preparation, Player’s Turns, and Upgrade. During Preparation, players draw up to their hand limit and shuffle and draw out the Monster Activation cards. This is a rather quick phase.
The players’ turns are where the action happens. In clockwise order, starting with the first player, players can make an attack with their hero. This is done by playing the appropriate types of cards from their hands. Each card has a number determining how powerful an attack they want to make. There’s no limit to the number of cards they can play for an attack. The monster then defends using the Monster Defense die, negating some or all of the player’s attack. Any attack power left over carries through as damage and may flip the monster card being attacked to its damaged side.
After attacking, the monster attacks back, flipping one of the Monster Activation cards. Each card references a specific card in the Mosaic that activates. Each one is unique, so players will have to figure out how best to defend against the unpredictable onslaught.
Play then continues on, making attacks and defending against the monster.
After everyone has attacked, the turn moves to the Upgrade phase. Looking at the cards that are available, players discuss who will get what card. When the decision has been made, the new card is placed on top of the player’s deck of cards, meaning it will immediately be drawn at the start of the next round. No need to wait for the cool card to be shuffled and come back into a player’s hand.
Play continues in this manner, with attacks, defenses, and upgrading, until the monster is defeated, or the heroes are unable to complete the Quest.
With any luck, the players have prevailed and will move on to the next Quest. If not, Ragnarök will happen for sure and existence is doomed to annihilation.
We hope you enjoyed this look into the mechanics of God of War: The Card Game. It will be available Q3 of 2019.