Game Length: 20mins
(Bryony) For the purposes of this review I have enlisted the help of my partner in crime and Transformers expert Ross who has attempted to educate me in the difference between ‘Autobots’ and ‘Decepticons’. However even his superior knowledge didn’t save him from defeat at my hands as we did battle!!!
(Ross) The game revolves around combat between the two factions, in their Generation 1 incarnations. For those unfamiliar with Transformers, Generation 1 is the original run of the series started in 1984. This starter set is Autobot-themed, and contains some of the most iconic “good guy” characters from this Era. Autobot leader Optimus Prime, plucky kids favourite Bumblebee, security chief Ironhide and safety officer Red Alert. We’re sure their will be a Decepticons starter deck released at some point.
(Bryony) Essentially this is a collectable card fighting game. Like most CCGs you start with a trial deck and can add to your decks with booster packets. What sets this game aside is that a starter set gives you the cards for both players to start playing rather than each player needing their own deck to begin.
I could tell you how to set up your game and get playing but why listen to me when Optimus Prime and Megatron themselves have put together a series of really concise and composed videos to show you how. Click here to check them out, but be warned Megatron can be a little grouchy.
For starters I’m pretty sure this game wasn’t aimed at 36-year-old women so its no surprise that it wasn’t really my cup of tea. However, as a games expert I am able to see it for what it is and there were some pro’s and cons.
I found the gameplay and rules really easy to learn (especially compared to other CCGs) and the before-mentioned videos are really well done to help with that. The illustrations are also quite impressive if you ask me!
To measure loss of health to the main characters you use damage tokens. These are supplied on perforated card which you have to tear apart. I really felt that these look cheap and tacky, not to mention that they are likely to become easily worn over time, and should ideally be supplied as plastic counters or individual mini cards, although I imagine this is a cost issue.
The starter pack provides four character cards and 40 battle cards – two and 20 per player respectfully – but I found that this isn’t enough for a full game without re-shuffling. Also having only two characters each makes for a very short game. This is where deck building comes in…
A booster pack gets you one more large character card (of 40 available) and seven battle cards (of 81 designs) which you are them able to add to your deck. Each large character has a star rating and the guidelines say that you should aim to build a team with a total star count up to 25. And battle cards can be added to your deck with an optimum of 40 or more. As yet there are no guidelines that I can find on restrictions on the spread of different types of cards in your deck. In the booster packs that we purchased we only found auto-bot character cards, but apparently the Decepticons are out there!
The recommended age on the box is 8+ and I would agree with that. The game is clearly aimed at a young market and so older players are likely to find it over simplistic. I also found it a bit too dependent on chance rather than strategy, although I suspect that strategy comes into play more when it comes to building up your deck.
As I said, this one isn’t really for me, but it is a nice, easy to learn game that will appeal to a young robot-loving audience and starts at a reasonable price. I'm sure the iminant realease of the new Bumblebee movie will help bring a new young audiance to the game too.
Putting aside my fondness for the franchise, the card game is pretty simplistic. It encourages development of your deck, so there’s depth to be added here, and the easy combat mechanics give the game a solid grounding. There may not be more than meets the eye to the game, but it’s a doddle to learn and a good start to CCG’s for a younger audience.
Although the starter deck contains the key Autobot characters, other characters are available in expansion packs. However, I found my luck with these has been terrible – I bought 4 and managed to get 2 of the same character, and another Bumblebee. At least I managed to get Swoop, one of my favourites.
The larger character cards contain artwork created specifically for this game, but the action cards pull their art from IDW’s run on the comics. I’m not a fan of this approach generally – like Weiss Schwarz, artwork pulled from other sources isn’t always a great fit, especially when the art styles vary so much from card to card – the lack of unification gives the game a “home-made” feel.
The collector in me would love to get certain character cards (Shockwave, Soundwave, Bluestreak, Shrapnel and more) but I doubt I’d get the chance to play the game enough to justify the cost. If anyone can make the game enticing its Wizards of the Coast, so I’ll keep an eye on updates – the Metroplex cards in particular, being bloody huge, are certainly intriguing.