Title: Deck of Wonders
Created By: Dennis Furia
Art By: Lauren Brown
Released: Coming to Kickstarter August 25th, 2020
Player Count: 1-2 (primarily solo, but with optional co-op rules)
Time to Play: 15 Minutes
You've stolen the Deck of Wonders from Fate herself and now she is willing to do whatever it takes to get it back! Deck of Wonders is a expandable, deck-building, solo game, where you compete against Fate's villains and minions to keep possession of the Deck of Wonders. It includes aspects of legacy games, with the replayability of non-legacy games. The more you play, the more your deck will grow and evolve, creating new chances for success with each passing game. However, Deck of Wonders is not a one time campaign. The more you play, the more cards you unlock. Use new card combinations to go and fight previous challengers for a new adventure. It plays in as little as 15 minutes, perfect for busy gamers. It also includes a co-op mode for those that prefer to play with a friend.
The goal of Deck of Wonders is to defeat the villain coming after you trying to steal back Fate's deck. You do this by reducing the villain's health to zero before running out of your own health. Turns are passed back and forth between you and the villain you are fighting. Turns consist of drawing a card, playing cards and attacking with any available minions who are ready to battle. For gamers familiar with Hearthstone, the game play in Deck of Wonders will feel very familiar, however it will evolve as you play.
To start a game of Deck of Wonders, select a villain to battle. There is a recommended starting villain to get your started on your first game. Each villain comes with their own special rules that you will want to read on their card and familiarize yourself with before the start of the game. For Cullin, the starting villain, you and Cullen both start with 20 health instead of 30.
Players will then need to build their deck. Start by selecting the correct villain cards (typically 28 cards) that will be required to play against that villain. Then you can pick an additional 28 cards of your choice from any unlocked cards in your collection. You unlock cards by completing specific challenges during games. New players can start with the suggested 28 cards, but as you learn Deck of Wonders you will be able to be more strategic in picking cards to maximize your chances for success in your upcoming battle. The deck is made up of a combination of minion and spell cards. Once all the cards have been selected, both the villain cards and your chosen cards get shuffled together.
For Deck of Wonders, both the player and the villain will be using the same deck of cards. Each card is split in half, with one side containing information for the player and one side containing information for the villain. Depending who draws the card, the appropriate information is carried out. Minions always have health and attack values displayed, though these may differ depending on if the minion is used for a player or a villain. Player minions also have a number called "priority" shown. This will be important when attacking. Some cards will also have card text that tells you if a card costs something to play, does something when played, or impacts the game in some way, shape or form. These may be the same for villain and players or they may differ depending on who plays it.
To start a game you will draw 4 cards (all other turns start with drawing 1 card). You then play as many cards as you would like/ can afford. Card management is super important and you want to make sure you don't use up all your cards early in the game without a way to replenish your hand. If a spell is played, the card text is immediately resolved and the card is discarded. When a minion is played, that minion always enters the battle exhausted, meaning it cannot attack that turn. If it is still alive in the future, it will be able to attack as the last part of a player's turn. When player's minions attack, the player is able to decide which order minions attack in and if they are going to attack an enemy minion or the villain. If your minions have enough combined power they can take out an enemy minion. It is important to note that damage does not carry over from one turn to another, so if a player attacked a minion with 3 health with a 2 attack minion and did not have another minion to attack for at least 1, then the enemy minion would return to full health on it's turn. It would not sustain 2 damage. If the minion being battled attacks back with enough strength to take out the player's minion as well, both minions are removed and added to the discard pile. Adding cards to the discard pile can actually be a strategic move. Some cards allow you or the villain to pull cards from the discard pile and put them either into your hand or into play, so the order cards are discarded in can matter.
The villain's turn follows similar rules to the player's. Villains draw 3 cards the first time (and one each future turn) and carry out the text on the card immediately. You will find that a lot of villain cards allow the villain to immediately draw and play another card, so what starts out as a playing a single card might turn into playing 3 or 4 cards for the villain in one turn. After the villain is done with the card draw phase, they enter the battle lines phase. In this phase players must orient their own minions in play in priority order from highest to lowest. Enemy minions will attack player minions in that specific order. Players then get a chance to position the villain's minions in any order they want. They key here is to try and make this order as least optimal as possible for the villain. Once all minions are in the appropriate and chosen order, the enemy minions will attack. Enemy minions will always attack from left to right and will start by targeting the highest priority player minion. However if the enemy minions cannot collectively successfully kill the player minion they need to target, they will attack the player directly instead. This is how the you, as the player, take damage. If you are not careful, it is easy to run out of health quickly, so being strategic about which minions to play and when is super important. Sometimes it is worth it to take the damage directly, sometimes it isn't. Plan carefully!
Turns continue passing back and forth between you and the villain until someone runs out of health. If you defeat the villain, you've won! Also be sure to mark down any objectives you are completing on the villain card while playing. These may be accomplished at times even if you lost the battle! This will be how you unlock cards going forward. Complete objective and unlock a legacy pack with new cards! Our Pudgy Cat decided she was going to guard the legacy cards until we unlock them. We would love to tell you more about the legacy cards, but that would ruin the surprise. So you are just going to need to play and find out more for yourself!
Deck of Wonders is 'wonder'-ful. We really enjoyed everything about this game. We have had the opportunity to preview Deck of Wonders on both Tabletop Simulator and the physical copy, and both versions are easy to pick up and learn to play. We have been enjoying watching the art getting revealed leading up to the launch of the Kickstarter and can't wait to see what is coming next. One of our favorite cards is the pixie riding into battle on the corgi!
When speaking with creator Dennis Furia, we learned Deck of Wonders was designed to be played during nap time so parents could enjoy a game without having to worry about their little one waking up before they finish. Even for someone without kids, the timing of Deck of Wonders is great. One of the things we enjoyed most is that Deck of Wonders is HARD. It is not easy to win, which means that if you are like us, you are going to want to keep playing again and again until you finally beat the villain you have been facing. The brevity of each round means that it is actually possible to have multiple battles in a reasonable amount of time. The challenge associated with each boss means that when you finally manage to create a winning deck, your win feels really satisfying. Take it from us, we dealt ZERO damage to Cullen the first TWO times we fought him. This only incentivized us to keep playing, and boy did that win feel good when we finally were successful.
We also love the idea of unlocking more and more cards as you play. This will keep the deck building fresh and we like the variety of options it will allow for. We also appreciate how even though it has the legacy game piece of unlocking bits of the game as you play through it, Deck of Wonders is not a one shot campaign. You don't reach the end and that's it. Players can always go back and fight previous villains with new decks, creating new challenges for themselves.
Deck of Wonders will be launching on Kickstarter on August 25th, 2020. We cannot recommend this game enough if you love deck-building, beautiful art, battling villains and playing games solo. More information about Deck of Wonders can be found here.