Publisher: Atlas Games
Producer: Jeff Tiball
Graphic Designer: Nicolas Gluesenkamp
Game Design: M. Craig Stockwell
Illustration: James Mosingo & Allen Washburn
Play Time & Player Count : 45 to 60 minutes, 1 to 4 players
Witches have been represented in film, TV, and cartoons since way before my time. The dark origin of witches stems from the Salem Witch Trails of 1692. Let’s keep the details light and say townspeople accused 18 women of Witchcraft and they were punished by death. I have always been attracted to the darker themed content on witches and could care less about the Wizard of Oz version. Something about the mystical and magical lore, along with the very real religion of Wicca, draws my interest. There is just enough twist on reality for me remain attracted to games with this theme.
Witches of the Revolution is set fictional world where a Coven of witches cooperate to free their nation from tyranny. The witches recruit others and cast spells to complete smaller events and four difficult objectives before they run out of time (On the Event Track). The game has some neat little mechanics, so let’s get to the detail about the game.
- Deck building or pool building
- Cooperative play
- Solo play
- Light Witchy theme (cartoony version)
The cards in Witches of the Revolution are easy to translate. The star symbols on each Recruit/Witch cards are used during the Recruiting Phase to pay for stronger Seekers, Dedicants, Celebrants and Stewards. The color symbols on each card are used to complete events on the Event Line. Witch cards can be played using the script on the bottom of the card. As you recruit stronger witches they have written abilities that will help you assist allies, take extra actions and complete event or objectives. I think once you have a quick overview of the cards you’re using I can explain the gameplay easily.
Witches of the Revolution is pretty quick to set up. The Event Deck is created by drawing a combination 40 events and adding them to the Event Line at the bottom of the board. You can create a more challenging Event Deck by adding harder versions of each card type (glyph symbol) to the game. The variability in the game was a huge selling point for me. In my opinion, a cooperative game should create some kind of tension and timely decision making. At some point players actually need to cooperate to win. Witches of the Revolution provides variability for cooperative and solo gamers who seek a challenge. Going back to the setup, each player is dealt five Seeker cards. If you play solo, you will deal yourself six cards. The Recruit Deck is created by combining and shuffling all of the Recruit cards (stronger witches), Blessing cards, and Relic cards. The deck is placed on the Recruit Track and three cards are placed in the corresponding places. Blessing Cards are the “sigh of relief” cards of the game because they allow you to remove objective tokens or stretch beyond your hand limit. When Blessing cards are flipped over, they have an immediate effect on the game. Relic Cards are free to pick up during the Recruit Phase. Once they are used, they are removed from the game.They can be used to assist fellow witches with three resources instead of one.
Four random Objective Cards are placed at the top of the board and the matching Objective Tokens on the bottom of the cards are placed below them. Place the matching symbol markers in the middle of the Moon and Liberty tracks. You should be set to play.
Component Quality and Art
I feel the need to talk about this in middle of the review. THIS BOARD IS AWESOME. It looks a tad busy at first with the background witch coming covering almost half the board. I was impressed with how they pulled the art design off for the board so the instructions were clear for each track. I tend to fall for games with boards that keep you out of the rule book as much as possible (See Nemo’s War). The cards are fine, but I have a little gripe with the size of the the Event Cards. Just a little on the tiny side, but it’s really to make all fit on the board.
To win the game, players must complete four objective cards by removing the required tokens under each one. The players lose if the Liberty track reaches the max tyranny space, the Event cards reach a specified place on the Event Line or if you run out of events in the Event deck. On each players turn they will go through four phases:
- Add a Recruit Phase is simply adding a Recruit card and sliding the current three recruits to the right. The last card shifted to the right into the discard area is out of the game and if they are all gone, good luck.
- In the Add an Event Phase, you draw an Event card and shift anything on the Event Line to the right. You might have cards that activate immediately or activate when they reach a matching symbol on the board. For example, if an event has the Liberty icon on it and the card reaches a Liberty space on the Event Line, you must move the Liberty Track towards Tryanny. You have to discard an Recruit Card if the Peril icon (Gun symbol) ever matches up. There are also Unaligned Events and Catastrophes. Both have negative effect that make events even more difficult or effect the players ability to act.
- In the Act or Recruit phase you recruit (purchase) stronger witches using the required amount of star symbols on the witch cards from your hand. The cards you used to “pay” are discarded from the game, so choose wisely. Acting allows players to solve events on the Event line. Your goal is to manage the Events to prevent them from moving the Liberty Track or reaching the designated game ending space. In order to meet the requirements for an Event, you must pay the matching color symbols. You are able to choose which color trophy you can remove from one of the four objective. The objective trophies can be used to assist you with completing events. On another players turn, you can use a pair/pairs of trophy tokens to pay for one star during their recruiting action. Objective trophies are the life saver of the game because you may be in a pinch for complete Liberty events before they effect the Liberty track.
The fourth and fifth phases are refilling and discarding your hand. The discarding action is optional and you draw back up to hand size. Sometimes you want to keep your hand close to full so you don’t burn through cards so quick. When your deck your deck is depleted, the Moon Track goes up. The higher you go up the Moon Track, you will have to add between +1 to +4 symbols to completing Events. I can tell you it can get pretty ugly as you get closer to finishing the game. The game is already difficult on normal.
Witches of the Revolution is an interesting deck building game. The gameplay is solid and I enjoy both the solo and cooperative play. The board, artwork, and ease of play hit on all cylinders. I think being able to create a more difficult game is a major plus. Trust me, the game is already pretty brutal on it’s own. Since I’m primarily a solo gamer at home, I can suggest this game for it’s solo play. The one major disadvantage of the solo mode is not having the ability to assist other players. I decided to play two handed and bumped up the difficulty a little bit to make the game more interesting. It’s all about preference. Outside of the weird difference in art and somewhat of a weaker thematic experience, you still have a nice deck builder/ hand management game. The variability of the Objective, Relic, and Blessing cards you can shuffle in, adds to the game’s replayability. Witches of the Revolution can be found on various sites from $27.99 at Cool Stuff and Miniature Market. I hope you enjoy the experience as much I do. Thank you for your time.
I hope you liked this review and if you have any questions please let me know. Feedback is always welcome and please comment below. While you are at it follow the blog or follow my twitter @jambapg.