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BoardGame-Review

Collectible Card Games (CCGs) appeal to the most addictive aspects of our personality. The adrenaline rush when opening random packs and finding “good cards”, combined with the exquisite feeling of beating your opponents can be one of the more satisfying gaming experiences of your lifetime, as well as the most expensive.

Designers know this fact, especially Robert Dougherty and Darwin Kastle, who themselves had won a variety of competitions playing the flagship CCG Magic: The Gathering. Perhaps they stopped when their significant other discovered that they spent more on Magic than paying rent.

They have now designed a game of their own: Epic, a game that plays like a CCG but is purchased only once. Designed to be immediately playable, in its basic play mode each player receives 30 random cards from the 120 that form a deck. This is quite a paradigm shift from the classic CCG model, where the players spend days or even weeks perfecting their deck. Epic manages to pull this off with a single important change. Every single card in Epic is an explosive ball of immense power. Each card is an absolute game changer. Any card that you draw opens up an extensive variety of new options, resources or lifelines. There are no cards that are just fillers, no land cards, no mana curve, no puny starter monsters, no wasting time. You have a huge monster down on turn one and so does your opponent.

There are two types of monsters: the really powerful ones, which cost zero mana to play, and the really really powerful ones, which cost one mana to play. You get one mana during your turn, and one mana during your opponent’s—simple.

The game plays like a tug of war. The players outsmart each other through precise timings of card play and card combos. Damaging the opponent becomes a rarity, and when damage is actually done it is generally a reasonably heavy blow rather than a repetitive trickle of low damage. The game is a quick start battle of wits, where players look for cards that work together.

Epic is not Magic: The Gathering, and it never tries to replicate the immense depth of a dedicated player community. Instead, Epic is a distilled CCG-style monster duelling experience without the immense investment of time and money. If that is what you are seeking, Epic will hit the spot.

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