Just a quick report on the day before the convention opens. We managed to pick up “Challengers” from Z-man games – an absolutely excellent game which we played last night.
Firstly let’s talk about value for money. In the days where publishers are charging 60 Euros for a game, Challengers contains not only an enormous number of cards but also 4 player colourful mats in neoprene – all for 40 Euros.
And then the gameplay is as good as I remembered from the prototype. Played over 7 rounds, you swap players each game (you can play up to 12) and play a 5 minute game. Winner takes a trophy and then all players select cards from one of three piles as dictated by a tournament card; taking 5 cards and choosing 2. The idea here is to try to specialise in cards of the same time and to get combos which work together well. Then you can throw away as many cards as you want to whittle down your deck and improve your chances of getting combos.
The game is simple. I start and turn over a card. You turn over cards until their accumulated value equals or exceeds mine. I ”bench” the cards that lost ie I put them in 6 bench slots, putting identical cards in the same slot. Then I turn over a new card and try to beat the last card you played.
There are two things to look out for: if you have too few cards and run out during a game you lose.
If you have too many different types of cards, then once 7 different cards have been benched you lose.
The real twist is in the cards you choose to add and how they work with cards you already took. Some cards once benched increase the value of some of your cards. Some cards are just very powerful but penalise you. Some cards erode the opponents deck. Some cards have a higher value when first played only.
The design of the cards is super and the building of the deck very engaging.
We all loved the game!
For me it’s definitely a contender for SdJ.