Card Game Review: Rising Storm: The Stormborne


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Number of Players: 2-4

Time: 45 Minutes

Age: 10+

Game Type: Placement and Action

Gamer Type: Advanced Casual

Complexity: 6

Eurogamers rejoice, we have a game with no dice. DPH games has brought to the table a new card placement game which balances drafting and card placement into a unique combination that will challenge even the most seasoned strategists. What makes it even better is that new players can join in the fun, for their inexperience can offset the best laid plans of even the best master strategist. So shuffle your cards and get ready to battle your wits in Rising Storm: the Stormborne.

Story

As with many games, I get to analyze the prototype. Sometimes the stories are fully developed. Sometimes the stories are not there. As the rulebook is being completed, there is a little more room for story development in this game. As it stands now, there are two factions (which can be played individually or as a team). These factions are trying to win through skullduggery and outright battle. While the cards seem to tell a little about the “why” the battle is going on, a lot is left to the imagination. This leads you to believe the war is because of outright human avarice. Hopefully, in the full release we can get a little of the backstory. 5 of 10.

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Artwork

Where the story is light, the artwork is exceptional. The individual card art draws the players into the game and the “feel” of the system has that “dystopian war” feel to it. The cards are easy to read and the player panels are just the right size for the game. The box is a full-sized small box, which will fit with many of your other games on the shelf and the box artwork is interesting enough that your friends will ask about the game. 7 of 10.

Mechanics

Reading the instructions, this game has one randomizer: the cards. As noted in the introduction, this is a Eurogamer’s dream. What makes it better is that the hands for the game are created through draft. From start to finish, you are in control of the cards that you have have each round. While there is a minor random element – the cards that come up in the draft and whatnot – it is a very strategic game.

The draft phase allows players to fill their hands. Not only does this allow you to choose what cards you have, but also allows you to determine what cards your opponent is holding. There is some randomization here as one full row of the draft board is face down, but overall it gives you a good feel of what your opponent is holding and possibly even what they are doing.

The play/resolve phase is reminiscent of Mahjong. Players take turns playing cards, then the resolution is dependent on how the cards were played. Guessing where your opponent is going to allocate resources places a 3D chess game within the mind of each player, or you can have players that just go for the most chaotic pattern, which can be even more difficult to set up. The resolutions are based on position and card text, which makes the play-out different every time you play. 8 of 10.

Strategy

This one is all strategy. If you have powerful cards in your hand, then you go for offense or rush. If you have text-heavy cards in your hands, then you go for defense and try to build out an engine that will funnel points in your direction. Either way, you will be shifting your strategy every round depending on what the cards are in the draft and what cards you get out of the draft. This makes the mental game herein much more nuanced. If you are a fast thinker, then this is a game for you. If you are a “what if player,” you will likely never see the exact same game again. 8.5 of 10.

Novelty and Overall.

Card floppers have a place in the heart of most gamers. One of the great things about card games is that they have the most room for growth within any system. Rising Storm lived up to this growth by bringing something old and something new together into something really special. For novelty, we are seeing some really cool mechanics coming together in a new way. 6.5 of 10. However, the game really shines in its strategy.

This game is coming out of the gate with a strong score of 35 of 50. If the production version has more of a story within the ruleset, this game could easily gain two or three points to rush the upper echelon of the games for this (next) year. While the rulebook seems complex, once you play it you understand it, then that’s where the strategy comes in. This game gets a stamp of approval, and another set of eager hands waiting for the production version.

Christopher W Smithmyer
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