Game Review: Draconis Invasion – Wrath Expansion

This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
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Expansion: For Play Time and Stats, Please Refer to the Original Article on Draconis Invasion

Last week, I had the privilege of reviewing Draconis Invasion. If you missed the review, check out the link above. The Draconis Invasion base game is a masterful deck builder that has enough legacy elements to seem familiar, but changes the genre enough to be a game-changer. One of the key points that I made in the review is that deck builders live and die by their expansions. I also noted that Wrath, the first expansion, was in the Kick Starter Phase. Having had the opportunity to playtest Wrath, I have to say: this expansion lives up to the buildup.

Writing reviews of expansions on Kickstarter is always a difficult thing. I want to paint this great expansion in the best possible light; however, since it is quest-based, I do not want to give away the excitement of opening each pack for the first time. Therefore, I am going to keep things tight to the chest as I walk you through why you should check out Wrath for Draconis Invasion.

Artwork

The artwork for the base game is excellent. The artwork for Wrath is of the same vein. It still has killer artwork that draws the player into the game. While I do not give scores, in the traditional sense, to expansions (non-stand alone), I do give modifier scores. Since the artwork is of the same quality as in the base game that stays pretty steady. The box for the expansion fits on the shelf with the core box, so we see a 0 modifier for art (no plus or minuses).

Story

Ok, since I am hyping this game up: coming out with artwork that is of the same (high) quality as the core game is not really leading with your best feature. The best feature would be the story augmentation. Wrath is episode-based, which means you have a series of challenges through which you must pass. The story is well written and – not getting into enough detail that would ruin the experience – very engaging. When I hoped for a strong expansion in the last article, this is what I was hoping for, i.e. something that changes up the deck builder experience. Wrath did not disappoint. This definitely gives Wrath the highest modifier for an expansion of +1.

Mechanics

We all remember MTG, which was the first “pay to play” deck builder (which Draconis Invasion is not). Each time there was a new expansion, they changed up the environment so that it “broken”, i.e. discovered, combos were brought back to bear. They often did this through new mechanics. Wrath introduces a number of new cards which have new powers. This changes up the playfield dramatically. The great part of this is that through the series of “chapters” the quest actually pushes you to play different styles. This helps players integrate the new mechanics and powers without having them all thrust on them at the same time. I also felt that the solo mode got a boost in the expansion. Modifier +.5.

Strategy

I found that the strategy is still very dependent on building your engine, which is how a deck builder works. Honestly, I would like to see a little more rush element, not that I like rush players to win quickly, but because rush forces offense and defense in a way different from engine building. All four major elements are there, but the emphasis still lies very heavily on engine building (which is my favorite strategy, by the way). In future expansions strong defensive, offensive or rush strategies could bring out different playstyles. Modifier -0.2

Novelty

Quest-based, re-playable expansions = game changer. Wrath hit a home run with novelty in this area. Most games focus on new powers, which Wrath does, but fail to expand the story. Even those that expand the story tend to do it only with a slight nod. This game expands it in chapters, which is great. Add to that the enhancement in playability for the solo mode and we see a great expansion that lives up to the expectations of the Core game. Modifier +1.

Overall

Since I don’t do many reviews of expansions, I want to remind you that the scale goes from -5 to 5, with five being the best. An average expansion has a score of 0; Wrath is not average. With a total modifier of +2.3, this is one of the stronger expansions, especially a first expansion, that I have seen and reviewed. Wrath is definitely worth checking out on draconisinvasion.com. If you like the base game, go try Wrath. If you have not played the base game, then buy it so you can play Wrath. This is strong overall offering and a great game, and expansion, to add to your collection.

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Dr. Christopher W. Smithmyer

Dr. Christopher W. Smithmyer

Dr. Christopher W. Smithmyer is a writer for NRN and an adjunct professor at both Penn State University and the University of South Florida. He is the author of several books, most recently “A Criminal History of the Democrat Party” which is available on Amazon and via the publisher, Elite Exclusivity. Follow on Twitter at @Acriminalhisto1

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