Heroes of Graxia
boxed fantasy card game
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Ages: 13 and up
Weight: 633 grams
Language Requirements: This is a domestic item.
- 240 cards
- 6 guardian plastic figurines
- box tray to keep your cards organized
Average Rating: 2.5 in 1 review
While the Dominion train has enough momentum to support new expansions rolling out on a semi-annual basis, the amount of new deck-building games emerging all the time means that the genre is quickly becoming crowded for the rest of the field. Big names like Thunderstone and Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer quickly placed themselves as strong contenders in the new market, but the question for publishers wanting to add a horse to the deck-building race is fast becoming: do we have any chance of getting a good run? And can we bring anything new to the table? Are there any future prospects for the offspring of Dominion? The good news is that there are new and exciting deck-building games that are still emerging, drawing on the richness of the ideas and gold that can be mined from the wealthy heritage of CCGs.
Perhaps nowhere is that more evident than with Heroes of Graxia, the 2010 release by Petroglyph Games. It's a deck-building game that certainly owes a great deal to Dominion for much of its mechanics, but offers a very fresh approach to the genre by incorporating significant elements from games like Magic the Gathering, most notably the notion of player-vs-player combat. In contrast to the 25 different kingdom cards amongst the 500 cards of Dominion, the 240 cards of Heroes of Graxia feature more than 50 uniquely different characters, equipment, spells and monsters, and they're also packaged in a much more compact and portable box. The artwork is quite stunning and attractive. Heroes of Graxia clearly owes an enormous debt to Dominion in game-play, for example, the basic concept of building up a deck; spending money from cards in hand to buy face-up cards and put them into your discard pile; discarding your complete hand and drawing five new cards at the end of your turn.
But while the core of the game is something familiar and proven, from there it forges its own path in a new direction. First of all, cards can be used either for their gold value, or for their special ability as a unit, equipment or spell - so you'll rarely feel thwarted by the luck of the draw. But the biggest change is the addition of player-vs-player combat. Once you put characters into play from your hand, they remain in play, so that you can build up an army with units, improve them with equipment, and then use this well equipped legion in combat against monsters and other players. It's a brilliant concept that's interactive and innovative, and has a lot to offer. Unfortunately it's not entirely without flaws, and you will find some concerns about excessive math in calculating legion strength, and mixed feelings about how effectively the player-vs-player combat works. But there's some interesting and good ideas here, and we've had enormous fun with it in the dozen or more times we've played it, particularly with older boys and teens. And with reports that the publisher is further polishing their product with improved rules, and planning to add a sequel later this year, it can only get better. It's encouraging to see deck-building games emerging that feature inter-player attack. The future looks bright for the sons of Dominion!