Ah, good ol’ medieval times. When castles dotted the landscape, and knights in shining armor were our heroes. When kings ruled on high and princesses were admired by all. Where men were eaten by dragons and ninjas snuck in from nowhere to take you out.
Wait, I think something’s wrong with this history book….
Camelot! (It’s Only a Model…)
Of Knights and Ninjas is the first game to be brought to life by Blue Fox Games. In this 2-6 player card game, you and your friends all have your own kingdoms, and you’re sitting on a treasury of five gems. To win the game, you need to end up with ten gems.
How will you do this? By stealing from other players, of course!
On your turn, you have a few options based on the cards you have. You can fortify, which gives you protect from many types of attacks. You’ll mostly use castles for this.
You can also attack, which allows you to try to go after an opponent. Whenever you play a card against an opponent, they have a chance to retaliate, playing cards of equal strength against you. You can continue to go back and forth until you outmatch the opponent – which gets you gems – or you run out of firepower – which ends your turn.
We are the Knights Who Say….
While that’s a simple summary of the action, there are lots of different cards that you’ll see in the game, each with their own special powers.
Some will let you move around obstacles. For instance, you could play a ladder card that will allow your warriors to scale the walls of a castle and attack for that turn. Or maybe you’ll just use the catapult and immediately wipe out the castle out instead!
Other cards are intended specifically for big attacks. The dragon will not only destroy castles but will also steal two gems. Or one of the game’s namesakes, the ninja, who sneaks past all the defenses and grabs two gems.
But there are cards to also balance some of these more powerful cards. The executioner, for instance, will stop any attack, including that of a ninja. The archer boosts your overall defense, but is notable for being able to take down a dragon. And, of course there’s the princess, who can not only stop a knight or a dragon, but allows you to add that card to your own hand!
All of these different cards mean there’s a little bit of a learning curve going into the game, but you’ll quickly catch on as you move from turn to turn.
‘Tis But a Scratch!
Of Knights and Ninjas brings a fun, light-hearted approach to tower defense in the form of a card game. I really enjoyed the “gotcha” moments where someone would try to take out another player, only to have it blow up in their face. There was also a little bit of karma that followed as that player would be vulnerable to attack the next few turns.
This, to me, is a big part of the strategy of the game. Do you go all in on an attack and leave yourself vulnerable until you can draw more cards? Or do you just wait and play a defensive game? It’s all a mind game, and you’ll need some risk-taking and some bluffing (plus a little bit of luck) if you’re going to come out victorious.
What…. Is Your Favorite Color?
When I think about this game, the experience reminds me of Gyrating Hamsters. That game quickly became a huge hit among the students at my school, and I could see this game following the same path. It’s fun and silly while still allowing you to make some actual gameplay decisions. When you attack other players, it doesn’t seem as mean-spirited as it does entertaining. I think that’s a perfect setup for newer, younger gamers who may not play a game like this otherwise.
The game’s not perfect, but the team has already told me that they are going to be making some adjustments to the final product. For instance, they are looking to make the rules for each card a little clearer so that you aren’t having to go back to the rulebook all the time. I think this and some of the other ideas they have shared with me will lead to an even better game.
But even in its current state, Of Knights and Ninjas is a good time for players of all ages, and one I hope gets the attention it deserves.
You can check out the Kickstarter for Of Knights and Ninjas beginning February 11th!
Blue Fox Games provided us with a prototype copy of Of Knights and Ninjas prior to their Kickstarter campaign. This in no way influenced our opinion. Previews are a glimpse into an upcoming game that has not yet received a mass market release.