I had completely missed out on Pangea Games Company’s Kickstarter for War Co. last year. Had I seen it, I probably would have backed it based on the card art alone. Unfortunately I did miss it, but learned about the game through the designer’s Twitter account. After a brief exchange he agreed to send me all 6 decks to take a look at. Being fans of card-battle games, my son and I set out to see what this game of futuristic war was all about.
The goal of War Co. is simple, be the last one standing. How do you do this? By being the only one with cards left in their deck. In War Co., your cards are your health. When they’re gone, you’re gone.
Setup is easy. Each player shuffles their deck and places it in front of them. If you’re playing with more than 2 players every player must discard 5 cards for every additional player involved in the game. Then everyone takes 10 Energy counters and the game is ready to begin.
The phases of each player’s turn are as follows:
- Draw: Required. Draw until you have 4-7 cards in your hand.
- Place: Optional. Play cards face-up and/or facedown.
- Attack: Optional. Attack one target with one machine.
- Discard: Required. You must discard one card from your hand and you may choose to discard one technology from the field.
Play continues until only one player has cards left in their deck.
For more information on placing cards and attacking, check the full rules of the game.
War Co. contains only cards and some flimsy counters. The quality of the counters isn’t really that important because they’re just used to track energy a counted effects. They’re more functional than anything and can easily be replaced with glass counters, dice, etc…
The cards are your pretty standard ECG fare as far as the quality of the physical cards themselves. Where the cards really shine is the artwork, which is provided by James Masino. Pretty much the top 3/4 of each card is filled with beautiful, borderless illustrations. It’s really striking. I must have spent a good 20-30 minutes just going through each deck and checking out the amazing detail of every piece of artwork in the game.
War Co. is super-easy to pick up and play within 5 minutes of opening a deck. There’s currently 6 decks available, each with their own style of play. You can, of course, build your own custom deck to play with, though I’d recommend playing each deck a few times to get a feel for them before mixing everything up.
While the game is simple to learn there’s plenty of depth here when it comes to managing energy, playing cards face-down vs face-up, and all the different card combinations. A game takes around an hour to play and it’s generally a back a forth until one player can get a slight upper hand and pull out a victory.
I’ve only played War Co. with my oldest son so far, and he enjoyed it right off the bat. I, on the other hand, was a bit more skeptical at first. Our first game was the Bruiser deck against the Militant deck and it felt like a slog going back and forth until my son knocked me out over an hour later. I was almost ready to give up on the game at that point.
Thankfully I didn’t.
He enjoyed the game so much he convinced me to try again, this time with a different deck. What a difference that made! He stuck with the Bruiser deck, but I tried the Conspirator deck. This deck offered me a lot more depth and strategy and I enjoyed the game a lot more. If you’re looking into checking out War Co. I’d suggest reading their buying guide to get a feel for which decks will work out with the style of play you like the most.
Since then we’ve played a handful of games, seeing how different decks work against each other. I’m really glad I gave the game a second chance because it’s one I really do enjoy playing.
I look forward to checking out more War Co. offerings in the future. I’m really hoping more decks get released!
War Co. was provided free for review by Pangea Games Company.
Media personality Rob Kalajian has been a staple in the board game world for many years. As a former writer for Purple Pawn and the owner of A Pawn’s Perspective, Rob focuses on board game reviews, events, and news. A self-proclaimed geek, Rob loves all things toys and games and even helps raise his four kids in his spare time.
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