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Flashback Friday - Summoner Wars - Love It or Hate It?

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Flashback Friday - Summoner Wars

Game Information

There Will Be Games

Love it or hate it? Do you still play it?

Hot on the heels of the re-aquisition of Plaid Hat Gamers, Colby Dauch announced the possiblility of a new edition of Summoner Wars. To celebrate, we are taking a look back at this game.

Summoner Wars: Master Set, a tabletop miniature game played with cards instead of mini figures, was originally released in 2011. It recieved our Reader's Choice Award for best 2-player game for 2011, and made Ken B.'s Top 5 Games of 2011 list. 

But how do people feel about Summoner War's in 2020? Do you love it or hate it? Do you still play it?

There Will Be Games

Shellie "ubarose" Rose  (She/Her)
Managing Editor & Web Admin

Plays boardgames. Drinks bourbon. Writes code.

Articles by Shellie

Shellie "ubarose" Rose
Managing Editor & Web Admin

Articles by Shellie

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ecargo's Avatar
ecargo replied the topic: #307741 06 Mar 2020 13:20
There is no reason that I should like this game given my typical gaming preferences, but I love Summoner Wars and own everything. I don't play it often, but that doesn't stop me from frequently staring fondly at my Master Set box on the shelf.

I have mixed feelings about the announcement that they are working on a 2.0. On the one hand, more stuff! On the other hand, clearly second editions render all my stuff THOROUGHLY UNPLAYABLE. /sarcasm
fightcitymayor's Avatar
fightcitymayor replied the topic: #307743 06 Mar 2020 14:46
Loved it when it was released, still love it. Some random Summoner Wars thoughts:

1) I got yelled at on the original Plaid Hat message boards (shortly after they were created) by Mr. Bistro for reasons unclear to me now.

2) SW was one of the few games where I actively enjoyed each new bit of content. Never had a problem buying the new decks because I knew they would be fun & interesting (and playtested well.) And they always were.

3) I would wager if 50% of the dim bulbs who willingly lay down 200 shekels for the latest Kickstarter bucket-o-minis game just spent $50 on a used lot of Summoner Wars stuff, they would get more enjoyment out of the SW stuff than the KS dreck, and it would scratch a similar itch.

4) I still think some of the art was kinda bad. No offense to the artist, if they are reading this.

5) If I recall, this was one of the first notable hobby games to do the special promo cards (mercenaries) that were only available under certain circumstances (like ordering direct from Plaid Hat.) I also think they were an early item when BGG first opened their storefront. Khan Queso FTW!
BillyBobThwarton's Avatar
BillyBobThwarton replied the topic: #307744 06 Mar 2020 14:50
I really enjoy it but I have never won and my wife got tired of the predictable outcome.
dysjunct's Avatar
dysjunct replied the topic: #307746 06 Mar 2020 15:42
I really liked it at first but the strategy of attacking your own units soured me on it. Seemed really antithematic.
Sagrilarus's Avatar
Sagrilarus replied the topic: #307755 06 Mar 2020 20:24

dysjunct wrote: I really liked it at first but the strategy of attacking your own units soured me on it. Seemed really antithematic.

Then don't allow it.

I really like Summoner Wars, even if my boy can make it last two hours.
Jexik's Avatar
Jexik replied the topic: #307756 06 Mar 2020 20:53

dysjunct wrote: I really liked it at first but the strategy of attacking your own units soured me on it. Seemed really antithematic.

There were some quirks and general issues with turtling that showed up in high level play. Here's hoping that second edition retains the charm without some of the bugs.

One of my favorite games of all time, though I rarely play it now. I don't have many willing opponents live since I played so much in testing and on the app.
Vysetron's Avatar
Vysetron replied the topic: #307759 06 Mar 2020 21:37
SW slaps. One of the best games of its kind. I love it and don't own it - all app baby. I've played the physical version a couple times and sure it's slower, but you get to chuck dice so it's just as good.

That ownership thing WILL change for 2nd edition as I'll actually be able to keep up for as long as I'd like. I'm more excited for this than any other recent announcement that I can remember.
drewcula's Avatar
drewcula replied the topic: #307765 07 Mar 2020 09:44
I bought in early, and was happy to support Colby and Co.
Ten factions, sleeved and summoned.
Shortly after that first big box release, I sold it all.
It wasn't getting played.

It's a clever game and I enjoyed my (limited) time with it. I may have tried to push it more with friends, but I didn't. Why? I think in large part it was because of the artwork. The illustrations are horrible. Digital drek.
DarthJoJo's Avatar
DarthJoJo replied the topic: #307767 07 Mar 2020 11:21
My feelings are pretty well summed up by Dan Thurot’s recent discussion of the game (namely I loved it until I dabbled in online play and learned about killing your own units and dropped out of the game shortly before the Alliances box), but I have to push back against the dismissal of the art.

Are we talking about the same John Ariosa? The lead artist for Summoner Wars, Dungeon Run, City of Remnants, Mice and Mystics and a bunch of John Clowdus’ games? I love his work. In a time where the World of Warcraft aesthetic was still huge, his designs ran simpler and cleaner but with plenty of texture and personality.

I do think the art fell off around the Alliances box and looked half-done or leaned too much on glowing effects, but Ariosa’s work is solid.
Gary Sax's Avatar
Gary Sax replied the topic: #307768 07 Mar 2020 13:08
^agree. Here's the link to Dan's piece, it's an awesome read:

I, also, think the art on Summoner Wars looks bad. Different strokes for different folks etc but...