Greetings all! Hope you’ve had a great time playing games! I certainly had a great March! Now, let’s hop right into the next review, which is Underleague from Cogwright Games. Please note that there will only be a few stock photos which were supplied to be by Cogwright Games, as the copy sent to me was an unfinished product that will be on Kickstarter soon. (I will share links when they are up!)
If You Love
- Multiplayer Combat Games
- Deck Building
- Fantasy Theme
In underleague, each round is played in three phases. The first round is the Pre-Season, in which players will add up all Victory Points, and check if anyone has gotten to 20 points yet. If someone has, the game ends, and the player with 20 points is declared the winner. If not, they will continue on through uncommiting their creatures, drawing strategy cards, collecting chips in their chip pool and optionally transferring creatures. From there, players go to the betting phase, which will see players placing chips from their chip pools on creatures and betting that the creatures are either winning or losing battles. Every player will place 5 chips on various creatures in play. They don’t have to bet on only their own creatures to win or lose, and the only restriction is that you may not bet on the same creature multiple times (You can’t bet a creature will win AND lose to guarantee a chip back). Once players have used all their betting chips, they will move onto the combat phase. Winning bets are advantageous because at the start of the next Pre-Season, the number of chips that have made it back into your pool for winning becomes the number of strategy cards you draw that Pre-Season. The Combat Phase starts with the player with the least amount of Value from the Pre-Season round. They will then choose a creature they own and commit it to battle in a challenge. They will then declare who they are challenging. The opponent who owns the creature they have challenged then decides whether the battle will take place during the day, or night. (Two separate numbers on each creature card). The challenger then has an opportunity to play a strategy card. If they choose to use one, they must pay the cost of the card by discarding other cards from their hands equal to the cost number on the strategy card. From there, players will roll a number of dice, (either 1d6, 1d6&1d4, or 1d6,1d4, and 1d3) and these results will be their attack values. They add up attack value, and add in any modifiers on the creatures in battle to determine the winner. Once a winner is determined, chips that made the proper bet are returned to those players chip pools. If the attacker wins, the defender then commits, and the attacker takes a strategy card face down and places it their victory card pile. If the defender wins, the bets are returned accordingly, but the defender doesn’t commit, and no victory cards are given out. Once there is a full turn around the table without a challenge, or players playing any strategy cards, the round is over, and the next round Pre-Season phase will then begin.
The Pretty Little Bow
With the copy of Underleague I am reviewing, I cannot make any comment on anything at the moment about the quality of any cards or parts or anything of that nature. What I can say however is that from the photos Cogwright Games has online of boxes and art on the cards, I can say I’m excited to see a final product.
What’s To Love?
The best part of Underleague for me is that while it is structured as a living card game, where you will be able to pick decks and build from a base set box and expansions of your choosing, it is also playable without building decks. As long as your creature decks are separate, you can toss all the cards you have in the middle of the table and play from those. It gives players an entry point to play the game, without the need of having their friends going out and each buying a copy so they all have the same cards. It makes for a fun casual game that isn’t a constant investment into a single game. As a company, they have set rules to make it competitive, and if you chose to play in that way, it would be quite easily accomplished, but it also brings in board gamers who enjoy the casual atmosphere of games, rather than heavy competition. Being able to reach different groups like that is always an appealing thing in my opinion. When it comes to gameplay, I was really happy with the flow of the game. It was interesting that the Victory Point tally was at the start of the round, which I sort of questioned, but once I played through the game a few times, it made more and more sense.
What’s Not To Love?
The number one biggest issue I had with this game was the adjustment period. I read through rules, and knowing it was a combative card game, my mind immediately thought of a certain CCG, and it would have much similarities. Even after reading rules, I was looking at cards and wanting to play them in a similar vein. (PS, I have never mentioned other games names in my reviews, and don’t plan to start now, but I’m sure you know which game I’m talking about.) Having that mentality going in was tough to adjust for me. I actually had to email Cogwright Games to clarify things that were completely in the rules. For example, strategy cards are played only on YOUR combat turn. This means that it has to be a challenge that you made. It isn’t while you are in combat at any point. I feel like a lot of the confusion on my part was due to a rule book that currently has no examples or pictures, and the final copy will be much more clear and concise. Due to these issues, I think it made the game come off as a little finicky during the first plays, however, we were also playing in a way that we weren’t supposed to.
What’d You Think?
Overall, I think this is a decent game. I think there is a ton more strategy sitting just under the surface of the game, and that makes me want to play it again and again. I just want to tap into that deep strategy and really see how much the game can stretch its legs. A big part in this is that I find being first player can be a big difference maker through a game. Which really makes for an interesting game, as you have to be losing to become first player. Very good depth to say the least. Also, I found that once I was clarified of rules, and went through the rules again with a fine toothed comb, I was able to teach the rules quite easily, and players caught on quick. I think this was an off chance at rules being tough to decipher, as it is an incomplete rule book still, so that to me is non-issue at this point. The idea that you can play Underleague both casually and competitively is awesome as well. As it stands with my current copy of Underleague, I probably won’t keep it for too long in my collection, as the cards are not final and they are a pain to deal out and such, but I would certainly keep a final version and bring it to game nights probably once every few weeks. It’s definitely a solid alternative to other card combat games, and with the casual play, you never know what cards you are going to have in your hand to play with from game to game. This makes for a highly replayable game, and good direct combat fun.
I hope that you’ve made it this far and enjoyed reading about Underleague! I’ll talk to you again soon, and remember, I love you all!