Before trying Age of Sigmar Champions - The Age of Sigmar Trading Card Game - at Warhammer Fest earlier in the year I had not played any trading card games like Pokemon or Magic The Gathering.
I had, however, been working at Games Workshop when Pokemon cards first came to the UK and spend many of my working hours telling visiting parents "No, we don't sell Pokemon cards, we do however have these lovely Space Marines that your son, daughter, husband, wife etc would probably prefer playing with". Some of the local Games Workshop stores got so sick of being asked every five minutes that they modeled dead Pikachus on the bases of miniatures in the cabinets.
Fast forward almost 20 years and here I was sat opposite Elliot, my podcast co-host, about to have an introductory game of Age of Sigmar Champions with no real expectations of what I was about to do and whether I would like it. Half an hour later and I was sold, suddenly I saw the appeal of this type of game, and even with the briefest of games, with a pre-built deck to show us how it worked, I already wanted to know more.
Although I could probably have stretched to getting the founders pack, not knowing how long this game would hold my attention and how many people I knew would actually play the game, I decided to hold on to my money and between myself and Elliot we vowed to get ourselves a campaign deck on launch and maybe a handful of booster packs.
Whilst at Firestorm Games in Cardiff for the Age of Sigmar Tournament - Blackout, I picked up the Destruction pack and Elliot picked up the Chaos one, and we immediately ripped them open to see inside. Although we didn't buy any additional booster packs, you do get one in each Campaign deck, giving you that tease of the rush that comes with opening your blind boosters, hoping for that shiny hero you've been after for ages. Its like when you collected football stickers back in the day and hoped for that foil Dave Beasant to complete your Wimbledon team.
This week we finally got the time to give the game a go and also found out that John at the club had also bought in and got himself the Death and Order campaign decks, so we planned our evening of some winner stays on action.
My first game with the Destruction was against Elliot's Chaos, using just the starter cards we had bought. We didn't have any fancy mats to play on like we had at Warhammer Fest, however the fold out glossy paper playing areas you get in the Campaign Decks work perfectly well for the games leading up to getting a nice mouse mat style playing board. The boards also have on them, a key to what the symbols on the cards mean, and a small guide to the order of play, essential things for our first few games.
After a quick fifteen minutes of play our first game was over, and my Destruction had decimated the Chaos, with my health on 21 as the Chaos's dropped to zero. Was it better play by me, was it the cards we had been dealt, was it pure luck? Who knows, but we both had fun learning the intricacies of the game as we threw down cards, whilst trying to read and understand what the other person was trying to do.
As it was winner stays on, I faced John and his Death deck next and unlike the first game this lasted a lot longer as both of us managed to play health boosting cards, mine as spells from my Bonesplitter Shamen, and him from cards that dealt damage and regained him health. As it looked like my Destruction were in control, one of the Death's Blessings came in to effect, stopping any of my cards rotating or doing any damage, the tide had turned and I eventually lost.
Three more games took place that evening, with each one we all started to formulate plans of how to adjust our decks and which Champions and Blessings would be best for our play style. John had bought a load of boosters and was generous to give us the Destruction and Chaos cards he wouldn't need, and we in return did the same with our Chaos and Death ones.
I have now purchased some card sleeves, to protect my deck, as I can see them getting damaged with a lot of play, and with a game only taking 30 minutes at most, this is a great game to play on the fly, either at the end of a club night when other people are still playing, at lunch at a tournament, or after a days gaming to relax in the bar afterwards. I for one will make sure I have my deck in with my models and books when ever I go gaming, on the off-chance someone wants a quick game.
So in conclusion, I really enjoy this game and am glad I have bought it, I undoubtedly will be grabbing a load of boosters in the near future, I mean what an extra couple of quid here and there on top of that Codex or SPace Marine squad you're already buying.
If you're sitting on the fence on this one, give it a go. For about £15 you can get yourself a Campaign Deck and that's all you need to play. Find a friend, give them a game or three, and if you don't enjoy it, you haven't wasted hundreds of pounds. Also, if you don't have a local gaming community, all you need to do is download the Age of Sigmar Champions App, scan in your cards (which takes 5 minutes) and then very soon you'll be able to play online against people anywhere in the world.
Why not scan the image of the card above and become friends with me and we can play online!