War for Edađh is a card based combat game designed and produced by Nigel and Ash Pyne. Each player controls a number of units that battle each other using some novel game mechanics to determine the winner.
Opening the box you get
- Two decks of Cards
- Two rule books, Art of the Apprentice and Art of the Warrior
- some damage counters
- Damage tracking sheets.
The next think that will grab you is the two rulebook. Yes, two books both of which are pretty big. This initially put me off the game but they have been designed to teach you the game piece by piece. The Art of the Apprentice book starts off with the base game and slowly adds in more rules as you get comfortable with the game. The second book bring in advanced rules including rules for multi player battles. I currently haven't worked my way through the Art of the Warrior book yet, there is still plenty of mileage from the Apprentice level games for me yet.
Setting up a base game is very straight forward. Each player picks 6 cards from there faction deck and arranges them into three columns of two. So you have a front rank of 3 cards with another rank behind. A terrain card is then placed between them, to start with you use a grass terrain so that the terrain doesn't effect the battle. Next each player takes a damage record sheet and places a mastery point counter on the number 50 and a damage counter on the 0.
Playing the game is relatively easy and revolves around a hand of Combat Mastery cards. Each player has a hand of 6 cards which have two sets of values on them. These are used to determine who wins the round of combat. This is one of the key mechanics of the game.
So first up each player secretly selects one of there mastery cards and plays it face down. the cards are flipped and whoever has played the highest card wins the round. The trick here is that some of the lower cards can actually be higher depending on what the opponent has played. For example the 1 value card is worth 13 if your opponent has played a 12. This adds a twist to the game as you try and figure out what your opponent is going to play.
Once the winner has been resolved you reduce your mastery point value by the cost on the card. The winner then chooses which card from his front rank he will attack with, the defender chooses which card will defend. Each player can then restore some mastery points depending on the unit card chosen.
Some mastery cards allow the defender to guard, a check is made against a couple of values on the cards and if it passes then no damage is taken and both cards are flipped.
If the guard fails, or there was no guard available you work out the damage of the attack. Both cards are flipped to reveal some rows of stats. You cross reference the terrain type to find an attack value and defend value. If the attackers attack value is higher than the defenders defend value you will hit for a larger amount of damage, otherwise if the defenders value is higher there will be a lower amount of damage applied.
A check is then made to see if the card is discarded, this will happen if you took more damage than the cards discard value.
Both cards are kept flipped and another round is started. Players choose and place another mastery card and the pick another pair of cards to battle with. After three rounds are played a number of checks are made.
First, if the players damage marker is higher than there mastery point marker they loose the game. Otherwise players will have to discard cards to reduce there damage marker to bring it down to a specific level. Next players have the option to discard more cards to increase there mastery points value.
Finally a check for routing is made, if you have more cards in your discard pile than your opponent you are shaken. In the next round if you have more cards again you rout and loose the game.
This is a very general overview of the base game and is mechanics, and it doesn't really do the game justice. There are huge amounts of other rules that can be added, terrain cards effect combat results. Battlemasters improve a units stats. Standards card will stop units from being shaken and tactics cards can be used to effect the outcome of battles.
For someone who wants a very detailed battle game this is an ideal game, even players who are used to simpler games can start off with the basic rules from the apprentice book and add more rules as they become comfortable with the game.
Overall I have enjoyed this game so far and it's got better the more rules we have added to it. Terrain, range and battlemasters have all added to it to round out the basic game. I am sure the rules I haven't added can only improve things. I am also very interested in the world that has been designed for this game, more units and factions are on teh way which will help flesh out the world its history and the ongoing conflicts.
Presentation: Beautiful artwork that sets it apart. 9/10
Clarity of Rules: Initially overwhelming, but stick with it It will make sense. 7/10
Game Length: Games take about 30 minutes or longer depending on how many rules you are using. 8/10
Value: A battle game that will grow with you 7/10
Overall: A clever game that's quick to play, and uses some clever mechanics. (8/10 not an average)More information can be found on the WarrioElite website. Along with details of future expansions, rules and more play examples.
Nigel and Ash are the two designers of War for Edađh, following is a small interview discussing there game and future works.
War for Edađh is your first game, what inspiration did you have to come up with it?
Nigel - The actual inspiration came from playing RPGs. When we were playing we wanted a style of game where your own choices and decisions alone would determine success or failure but this didn’t exist on the market so we went ahead to create it ourselves. We then adapted the mechanic to work for battles and so War for Edadh was born.
Ash - Because we wargamed as well, but thought that our tactical mechanic would lend itself well to a battle game.
You have decided to self publish, is it easier to do this than find a publisher?
Nigel - I really couldn’t say if it’s easier as we haven’t ever tried to find a publisher for the game. However, from when we were researching the industry it certainly seems that it is very hard to find a publisher who will take a game design that hasn’t been developed in house.
Ash - It wasn’t ease that governed publishing it ourselves. We want to do this for a living and also we want to ensure future releases are in accord with our vision of that future line-up so that the game and the world remains consistent, as well as how the releases are offered up. Plus, for a lot of that future, game or world, we’re really the only ones who can flesh it out so that it’s in keeping, or integrate ideas gamers want to see in a way that maintains the Edadh ‘thing’.
I am a fan of the artwork in the game, did the artwork influence the game units?
Ash - Thanks! We worked on the world as the rules progressed in parallel. I think the nature of the Factions defined a lot of the troop types when it came to working them out, but the concept art did influence things. As an example, in the last few months I drew a canopy-running mount for the Nuko (one of the next Factions to be released) and right there we knew it was going to get made into a Troop card, which it will.
Plus as environment affects the game, the mounts and armament that a Faction uses were designed for use in those environments and as such these things then influenced the game units when we were working out what they should be.
Of course, sometimes I would go and draw something after we’d decided what the troop was going to be.
Nigel - The whole of the world of Edadh and the artwork for it was created hand in hand. I, Nigel, am the lead game designer and my brother, Ash, helped massively with this and is also the artist and visualised all our ideas for the world of Edadh. My wife, Debs, designed the cards, their look, etc. We created the world together but then Ash would go off, take those ideas and make them more ‘real’ by illustrating them. For example, when designing the Ang army we decided we wanted several troops with different war beasts of differing strengths. We decided how many and then Ash would go off and make those beasts up. Sometimes he has just sat down and drawn something from an idea he has had and shown it to me and we’ve both liked it so much that we’ve had to include it in the world somewhere. So, to answer your question, sometimes yes and sometimes no!
The game is a little daunting at first, is there any tips you can pass on to beginners?
Nigel - Play along to the ‘Art of Apprentice’ rulebook as you read it. Don’t try to read all the rules and then play. Take it step by step as it is laid out and you should do fine. If you run into any problems then go to our website – www.warriorelite.com – and ask us a question on our forum – we check it daily. However, when you get it you’ll find it is actually quite simple, a quick playing game and a lot of fun. We are also – in the very near future – going to produce tutorial videos on how to play the game so it’s worth checking the website for those.
Ash - Because the game introduces a new playing style, the rules are a little tough to grasp just from reading – especially as the expanded rules rely on a knowledge of how the basic rules operate and build on them. So a gamer really does need to play as they go and nail the gameplay of the Apprentice before even contemplating the Warrior book.
This way, it follows the modular nature of the game. You get to play the simple version and could just stick with that if you like. Or you could add in the expanded rules one by one and opt then to play with those.
Do you have any plans to expand War for Edađh with additional armies or rules?
Nigel - Oh yes, we’ve got more ideas than we can keep up with! The website has details of some of the new armies we are planning to release. Over time we will also be releasing new games that you can play with the same cards you will have got – for example, a scout versus scout guerrilla warfare style game where you can ambush your enemy, lay traps for him and do other stuff such as this. And then we’ve got plans for siege rules, naval combats, aerial dogfights, campaigns, adventure style games, and more all using the same cards. You’ll find that the core system is very versatile and there are several variants of this that we’ll be releasing as well.
Ash - There’ll be quick-play games, like jousts and such, that we’ll put on the website for download, whilst other rules types will come in the expansions - for aerial dogfights and airship combats, Clan campaigns including espionage and trade, adventures in the Underearth, and an RPG rules set where the mysteries of the world begin to unravel.
We have the world worked out with its Factions waiting in the wings to be released. Some of these will play in their own tactical way and will be supported with their own Stratagem Cards, for example.
Do you have any other games designed and waiting to be published?
Nigel - At the moment War for Edadh and its expansions are taking up all our time. We do have plans for creating a sci-fi game using the same mechanic as in War for Edadh so you’ll get spaceship combat and the like.
Ash - But that’s quite a ways off yet. We do have it worked out in note form, but from experience we know that it’ll be quite a bit of work to realize it all.
What designer are you a fan of and who would you like to work with?
Nigel - I’m not a fan of any one designer. There are many games that I love and definitely have admiration for the designers of those but I have eclectic tastes in games and there is no one ‘line’ of games that I prefer above others. Who would I like to work with? Wow, I’ve never thought about it before but I think more for nostalgia reasons than anything else – being brought up with Fighting Fantasy gamebooks – I would love to meet up with Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone.
Ash - One has to knuckle one’s forehead in the absence of any hat to tip, to Gary Gygax for introducing us to the world of RPGs at a young age. It opened up a whole new interest. Of course, there were some Spectrum games that deserved to be played over and again also.
Thanks for your time chaps, good luck with Battle of Edadh!
Update: Battle of Edadh now has an overview video, please see below...