Game Review #280: Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Champions (Nintendo Switch)
Reviewer: The Waffinator (Brad E)
Developer: Games Workshop
Category: Strategy, Multiplayer, Card Game, Board Game
Release Date: 4.15.2019
Price (At Time of Review): Free to play with in-game purchases
Learn more about Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Champions on the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
If I were to, say, name a strategy deck-building game like Yu-Gi-Oh or Pokémon, what else would come to mind? You would most likely say Magic the Gathering (MTG for short), or maybe even Dominion. Now let me ask you to name a video game collectible card game (CCG). You might say Magic the Gathering Online (MTGO), or the ever-so-popular Hearthstone, and yes there are Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokémon Online (I need to stay away from Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh). Notice something? A lot of similar games in both lists. Now let me ask you to name some tabletop games. You have Warhammer, Dungeons and Dragons (D&D), or even Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures. Now name how many of those have video games. Warhammer and Dungeons and Dragons have those as well.
Can you see where I am going with this? Let me spell it out. Both deck building games and tabletop games are so popular they can sell to all kinds of target players. Do any of you any of you recall Eye of Judgment on PS2? I think that game had so much potential with the PlayStation Eye (another Sony PlayStation product that never got proper advertisement and was unleashed upon the world too early, kind of like the Vita). Well I loved that game. I thought it was really cool to not just be able to play a card game in a video game but to watch the cards come to life. Either way video game versions of deck games and tabletop are very popular. What if I told you there is now a tabletop game that is also a deck-building game and you can get it as a video game? MIND BLOWN!
Warhammer has a video game that is a CCG or deck-building game that you can also get as real cards! What the heck, no way! Yes way! From developers GAMES WORKSHOP and Publisher PLAYFUSION there is WARHAMMER AGE OF SIGMAR: CHAMPIONS. And best of all you can get it on the Switch! And with the more popular and well known titles not on the Switch yet (people are guessing Hearthstone due to the success of Diablo [fingers crossed] or even Pokémon Online [don’t even get my hopes up]), Warhammer A.o.S is getting a really good head start and setting some standards! And want to know the best part? IT’S FREE!
Okay, I know I said the game is free, but many free games have in-game purchases where I feel like the ones who pay are typically the ones who win, unless you’re me. Then you can lose even with the best deck ever created to the poorest deck that can possibly be made. There are the ones who truly grasp the game and can win under any condition, but for the most part us more average players seem to do better when being able to buy our way in. Don’t get me wrong, there are ways to play and goals to achieve that in turn help get you more cards so you can try and build your own decks. In fact, there are two game modes that you can play in Warhammer AoS. You have:
SINGLE PLAYER - In single player you battle through “realms” that have a total of 200 matches you can play. It’s like a ladder match almost; you are trying to climb to the top and earn booster packs and decks along the way. There is also a SOLO BATTLE where you can just do random AI matches and try to hone your skills.
VERSUS MODE - Versus mode has you playing online against all kinds of players. You do have to complete and win 10 CASUAL matches before you can get into the RANKED matches with the big dogs.
Now, I know you also may be thinking that card games have a lot of rules and deck building can be stressful. I am here to tell you that is not the case. Yeah it may take you a few good matches to really start to grasp how to play. Luckily there is an amazing tutorial before you can even get to do anything. It is in 3 sections and really helps you understand the game, the cards, and what they do. You can skip the tutorial, but I strongly recommend completing it. I have been playing card games for many years and without the tutorial I would have been more lost and it would have taken longer to understand how to play. If you do get stuck after though you can always use the online rules and help from the game.
There are four Alliances, or themes, that you can play as. Kind of like MTG has their 5 (Red, Blue, White, Black, Green) or Pokémon had their OG 7 (Colorless, Psychic, Fire, Water, Grass, Electric and Fighting), Warhammer has Destruction, Death, Chaos, and Order. I haven’t tried combing decks/themes like you can with MTG or Pokémon so I don’t know if you can or not. I have just been playing mostly with Order. As you play with decks/alliance you will gain XP for that alliance which can rank it up in turn gaining you more cards for that deck.
The controls of the game are very user-friendly, offering an easy experience when it comes to functionality. You see what resembles a cursor on the screen which you use the left thumbstick or the D-pad to navigate. You use A for pretty much everything else. You use it to confirm or when in battle if you want to enlarge a card to see it better before playing it. When you are ready to end your turn in battle or want to cancel a command or when you want to go to the previous screen, you have the B button. During battle if you want to see stats of the field you hold the Y button. That’s all you really have for controls.
Warhammer offers a nice bird’s eye view of the battlefield which gives you a better view of both sides. And because you can only play so many cards the size will always be the same. That is one of my pet peeves with MTGO. Because you can play so many cards, the cards will shrink to allow more cards to be played in the allotted amount of space. This, in turn, can make it infuriating when it gets harder to see what is in play. Back to Warhammer, there are some basic animations when in battle. Like some cards might shoot an arrow which sometimes gets a little blood splatter or a fireball will shoot across the screen inflicting some battle damage effects. The only thing I would have recommended is a little bit more animation during the battle. The battles can sometimes take a while, and a few more animations would have made it that much better.
Also, one of the in-game purchases that you can buy is new playmats which allow you to customize your side of the battlefield. Just like those who play MTG and other tabletop card games in real life. As for avatars you can earn them by completing missions and get them in random packs.
The audio composition is very well executed. The music is very catchy and screams medieval and dark. The war music reminds me of something that you would hear in Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones. Also during battle just like the animations you get there are some basic sound effects like an arrow shooting to give it a more dramatic set up. Overall a job well done by the composers of the soundtrack.
Overall Warhammer I feel is more for the hardcore deck building and tabletop fans and for those maybe looking to try to get into this genre of gaming. The FREE TO PLAY portion is well-built on its own. You get a lot for free which is great because if you don’t end up liking it at least you didn’t invest too much money into it like other card games. And if you do like it and want to up your game you have the cards you can buy to do just that. And for the super, super hardcore players - you know, the ones that need to keep track of everything they have done – well, it keeps track for you, and you can check your stats at any given time.
Overall the game is worth downloading and trying. I am really enjoying it especially because it is one of the few games that I enjoy in portable mode. I played both docked and portable and enjoy both which doesn’t happen too often (I think I’m going to need glasses soon). I haven’t gotten to the point where I am doing in-game purchasing yet though. I am holding off to make sure I don’t get bored with it after buying a lot of in-game content, which happens a lot (Clash of Clans, Yu-Gi-Oh on the phone, Boom Beach, Pokémon Go, and then some). In fact, one of the only games that I poured money into and still play in the little downtime I have is Clash Royale. Who knows? Only time will tell. If you get it make sure to let me know so we can have a duel or two.
Learn more about Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Champions on the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
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*Review Code Provided by HomeRun PR