Designer: Rich Gain
Playtime: 45-60 Minutes
Kamigami Battles is a deckbuilding game for 2-5 players. The game features gods and other mighty figures from various pantheons. Now that many of the world’s significant religions have been covered, it’s time to get a little spooky. Rise of the Old Ones is a new base game for the franchise, incorporating various Lovecraftian figures, including Cthulu.
How To Play
Anyone familiar with deck-builders should be comfortable with Kamigami Battles‘ rules. Each player will get to draft a deity from Greek or Norse mythology that gives the player unique abilities to build around. After getting their unique abilities, players may also draft a Temple, further allowing them to customize their gameplay.
Players all start with a weak deck filled with cards that are designed to add more cards to the deck. Players can add iconic deities and other mythological figures to their decks throughout the game. These cards have various effects to help them manipulate decks, attack players, or score points. Eventually, players will be attacking each other to deplete their opponents’ score to 0. The winner is either the first person to have a score of 25 or the last player standing.
On each turn, players will start by playing the cards they want to use from their hands. Cards are divided into Warrior, Disciple, and the brand new Artifact cards. Disciples mainly generate faith, which is the currency used to buy more cards. Warriors are essentially utility cards. Some attack, some generate faith, and some defend. Players can play as many disciples as they want from their hand on any given turn but are limited to one warrior a turn. To play extra warriors, players need to chain their warriors based on the colors that each card represents. One card might have red as a primary color, then yellow and green as its secondaries. To play another warrior, the warrior’s primary needs to be one of the two secondary colors. Artifacts are mostly one-time items that can give an edge without worrying about chaining.
After playing the cards, their effects are resolved. Attack cards will deal damage to a specific target, while other cards might interact with decks, and the shop that players get new cards from. Each card has either an “Act” or “React” action. Some have both. Attacks are an example of an Act action. A “React” needs a specific event to happen to play. For example, some cards allow for players to react by blocking incoming damage. Others might let a player score points if certain conditions are met.
After playing cards, players can use the currency they built with the cards in front of them to buy from the shop. Here they will add a new card to the top of the deck, which will likely be used during their next turn. Then all of their played cards go to their discard pile and they draw five more for the next turn.
Pacing and Interactivity
Like most deckbuilding games, turns in Kamigami Battles move quickly. The game has a nice flow to it, and the ability to eliminate rival players makes it have a shorter playtime than most deckbuilders. The pacing in Kamigami Battles is excellent in games with three or fewer players. The little downtime between turns is just enough to keep players engaged at all times while they react to other players and plan out their own turns. At higher player counts, the downtime becomes just a little too long at times as players plan out what their next deck addition will be. It’s still not an unenjoyable game with more players, but it doesn’t shine the way it’s meant to.
The elimination mechanism makes Kamigami Battles one of the most interactive deckbuilding games on the market. Instead of a race between players essentially playing solitaire, Kamigami Battles is a game that demands players to constantly react with each other. It’s one of the meaner deckbuilders out there, with plenty of cards designed to discard cards from your opponent’s hand. Some even completely remove cards from decks. It all makes for a brutal yet satisfying experience for players who just want to beat each other up.
While this is one of the more interactive deckbuilders, players who dislike elimination will have hiccups here. Players can be eliminated fairly early, leaving them to sit down and do nothing. No mechanic allows them to continue like in Queen By Midnight, and high player counts can only make the problem worse.
Theme and Components
Kamigami Battles completely lean on its theme, and Rise of the Old Ones is no different. Warriors come in many shapes and sizes, from cthonians to servants to random adventurers and professors. The disciples are cultists and others who serve the gods, while the new artifacts are all neat pieces of the lore.
The theme also comes with tons of fanservice. Kamigami Battles features deities reimagined as anime characters. The characters are certainly drawn to arouse, with cleavage and physics-defining bodies all over the cards. The series has always been known for this, but Rise of the Old Ones feels like it ramps everything up, with multiple chests being the size of basketballs. While anime fans will certainly appreciate the style, there are certainly some cards that are textbook examples of bad women’s anatomy. It might not be a dealbreaker, but it will either greatly enhance or dampen the experience, depending on what your preferences on fanservice are.
The cards are of good quality, with typical cardboard tokens representing score and health totals. The cards are of great quality and don’t suffer from the blurry feel that some of the earlier sets have.
Kamigami Battles Is Great For Fans Of…
Anyone who enjoys deckbuilders and anime will likely enjoy Kamigami Battles. Fans of games like Tanto Cuore or Cowboy Bebop: Space Serenade will want to check this game out. This time, the interest might expand out a little more to Lovecraftian fans, but this isn’t your typical horror journey like Mansions of Madness, so this is debatable.
Rise of the Old Ones
Kamigami Battles works with the Cthulu mythos, but the excessive fanservice and somewhat unrecognizable figures holds it back from having mainstream appeal.
- One of the most interactive deck builders available
- Allows for high player counts and works great at 2 players
- The fanservice is dialed up more than usual
- Player elimination is polarizing
Pacing and Interaction
Theme and Components