Publisher: Knights of Norwood
Developers: Peter Raber and Michael Flahive
Player Count: 2 players
Play time: 10 – 15 min
A prototype copy for Guardian’s Gambit was provided by Knights of Norwood for this preview. Everything you see is in prototype form, but some of the artwork is close to final. I want to thank Michael Flahive for supporting my site.
Guardians Gambit is seeking funding on Kickstarter and will launch on February 27, 2018.
One Shall Stand and One Will Fall
A game of Guardians Gambit is played over a series of rounds, until one player wins five rounds. To win each round, players will take turns attacking each others hands by targeting specific cards. The game is designed to be played standing up, so the acting player would take one of their cards and physically touch a specific card in their opponents hand. The player who runs out of attacking cards, loses that round.
This Beats That, That Beats This
Each player will have two Swordsman, two Shieldbearers, and two Special Guardian cards to create a hand of six cards. Part of the game strategy in Guardian’s Gambit is the hidden information and location of your cards. Players cannot change the position of their hand once the game begins. The Swordsman card has the standard attack action that takes out the majority of the cards in the game. For example, a Swordsman card can be attacked and eliminated by an opponent’s Swordsman card. A Shieldbearer card counters and protects most of the cards in your hand. When you use a standard attack against a hidden Shieldbearer, the attack is blocked and the card is destroyed. Shieldbearer cards have the ability to defend another cards if you choose. When the Shieldbearer is revealed to protect a card, it becomes vulnerable to standards attacks. Think of the two Shieldbearers as the guardians of your hand. Shieldbearer card have no attack option so the game or round is over if that’s all you have left. Hopefully I set you up with an idea of the action and reaction options with the two basic cards. Remember the position of the cards are no longer hidden as they return to your hand. Once an attack is blocked, even with a hidden Shieldbearer card, the opponent now knows the location of the card.
The slideshow below shows examples of the standard attack and defense actions.
What If I Use This Card?
Special guardian cards add strategy and unpredictability to the gameplay. There are 8 special guardians to choose from and you pick two for your hand. Instead of copying and pasting the list of all of the abilities, I’ll share a four of my favorites:
- The Assassin: This card has the First Strike ability. The player can stealth attack any card without revealing its location and cannot be destroy. Favorite card!
- The Mage: You sacrifice this card to either destroy an incoming attacker or destroy both a guardian and it’s defending card (Shieldbearer).
- Seer: Choose two cards for your opponent to reveal them or sacrifice the card to block and incoming attack. Similar to lesser powered Shieldbearer.
- Reaper: Return a guardian from you opponent’s graveyard (discard pile) back to your hand. You also get to rearrange your hand.
The remaining special guardians are the Death Knight, Archer, Barbarian, and Healer. Trust me, every special guardian adds a different element of fun to the game. One well timed play of the Death Knight or Reaper can flip the whole script of a game. You can test out all of the special cards by using a variant mode. Players can cycle in two Special Guardians each round and eliminate the ones that are lost. I play this variant exclusively after learning the normal mode once. I like the idea of figuring out which special guardians are left after a round or two. You shorten the game down to four rounds, which cuts down the play time.
Why Should You Back This?
- Quick gameplay with a decent amount of strategy
- Probably the most portable game you’ll ever own
- The special ability cards add a lot of flavor to the gameplay
- You can play this standing around or lay the cards out on the table
- The variant mode adds a better alternative to the normal game
- What’s left to offer in the campaign?
- The script on the card might be too small for some readers
- Slightly better artwork would help the game
- The suggested hand grip for the graveyard (discard) pile is a little uncomfortable
Guardian’s Gambit is a surprising little package. I like games that I can keep in pocket or backpack and break out anywhere. The rock, paper, scorriors mechanics with a slight twist is juuuuuuuuust enough to keep me interested. Don’t trick yourself into thinking there isn’t enough gameplay or replayability in this game. Guardian’s Gambit is quick, simple, and light strategic card game. I hope my preview helped you with your potential pledge. I will post the link to the YouTube walkthrough for a more visual reference.
I hope my preview of Guardian’s Gambit was enough for you to make an informed purchase. If you have any questions about the gameplay, please do not hesitate to ask.