Written by Ivar Randall
This article was made possible through the gift of a review copy.
Volfyirion is a two-player competitive deck-building card game based in the world of Mysthea. Two cities are at war for control over the dreadful Dragon that inhabits the ruins of Kyradar!
The battle area is set with each opponent taking three city cards; one city with an 8 defense, another city with 9 defense and a third city with 10 defense. City cards are then placed in front of each opponent in a row. Each opponent then takes 8 Prospector Cards, 1 Captain Card and 1 Diviner Card, placing them on their house deck location. The asset cards are shuffled and placed on the asset location on the table. The Dragon’s Lair Card is placed above the asset cards. The wonder cards are shuffled and place adjacent to the Dragon’s Lair Card. The Dragon Token is placed on the Dragon’s Lair Card.
After the first player has been chosen, five (5) cards from the asset deck are dealt and placed on the market in a row for both players to see. The first player then shuffles his house deck containing his 8 prospector, 1 captain and 1 diviner cards. The player then deals out five (5) cards onto his or her playing field below the asset market. He or she then counts the command points, battle points and knowledge points, using them to either purchase more cards from the asset market, or to perform the actions his or her cards will allow, or to purchase wonder cards from the Dragon’s Lair based on his or her point-and-action availability.
If the player has the right combination of knowledge points and battle points, he or she can command the Dragon to attack one of the opponent’s cities. The goal of the game is to destroy the opponent’s cities and gain control over the Dragon’s Lair. It is also possible to slay the Dragon itself but the game only ends when an opponent’s three cities have been destroyed regardless of whether the Dragon lives or dies. It is not necessary for any of the players to kill the Dragon or to gain control of its lair to win the game. Only the decimation of the opponent’s cities will determine a victor of the game.
Volfyirion has a comic book-like presentation. The cards are of common stock. The artwork on the cards has an abstract comic-book quality about them. I would have preferred the art to be more visually arresting, but this will suffice because the mechanics of the game is the real star of this show of cards. The game is very portable and entirely housed in a simple card-sized cardboard flip top box with an art graphic of a Dragon and the stunning logo of Volfyirion painted in red-and-yellow lettering, with a dragon curling in and around the lettering. The points-and-actions markers on the cards are easy to understand and large enough to see clearly. The set-up design of the game is easy, quick to learn and interact with. The mechanics of the game are brilliant, making Volfyirion infectious and fun to play.
The start of the game is more of a deck-building game. You are gathering your weapons, you are preparing the battlefield and arming your cities in the first four or five turns before things become vicious. War ensues as the opponents deal out blow after blow upon one other with the cards they deal from their house deck during each turn, with each opponent inflicting crippling damage to the other from their cards abilities. Players use their actions to control the Dragon and place it on their opponents cities. Tension mounts as the afflicted opponent frantically gathers points needed to move the Dragon off his or her city. If he or she cannot gather the points to move the Dragon off his city by the end of his or her turn, then that city falls under the fury of the Dragon, is defeated and removed from the game.
As stated earlier, the game’s objective is to destroy your opponent’s cities. This is what makes Volfyirion the amazing heart-pounding action card game that it is. It is poised to make a big impact in the Card gaming world when it releases to the public in 2019.
One of the game’s Kickstarter exclusive stretch goals is a 120mm Dragon miniature that will sit at the Dragon’s Lair like a menace waiting to pulverize cities.
Kickstarter backers who choose the basic core game will get a small laser cut wood token as the dragon, but this does not diminish the excellent card game that resides within. Kickstarter stretch goals also include an instruction manual with a solo player mode for the game which is a huge plus for me. It will also add four-player and co-op modes to the manual. A four-player mode will be interesting to play and I look forward to that.
Dashboard accessories/expansions would make Volfyirion even more visually arresting and organized; thick cardboard dashboards designed for the Cities and Players Fields with places to set the house cards and discard piles. Dashboards for the Asset Market and Dragon’s Lair and its wonder cards would also be a boon, giving the game even more visual appeal while still remaining a portable game in its base form. One could easily leave the add-on frills at home, bringing just the cards and woodcut dragon model for quick on-the-go game sessions.
Volfyirion’s instruction manual is designed beautifully with captivating artwork, depicting set up and explaining the game’s actions/mechanics with photographs of the game’s cards, along with all necessary explanations of the actions and icons.
Volfyirion is going to set the card game world on fire in 2019. It is exciting, tense, combative and strategic. It is a fire-breathing, hell-of-a-good-time game you’ll want to play over-and-over with remarkable replayability. Bravo to Tabula Games with a standing ovation and resounding applause.