Kamigami Battles: Battle of the Nine Realms
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. Battle of the Nine Realms is the base game, setting the stage for a great battle between tons of gods across multiple sets and expansions.
How To Play
Anyone familiar with deckbuilders 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 for them to customize their gameplay further.
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 in an effort to deplete their opponents’ score to 0. The winner is either the first person to have a score of 25 or be 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 and Disciple 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 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.
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 own 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.
Theme and Components
Kamigami Battles completely leans on its theme in the best way. Most deities have abilities that make sense with their stories and lore. For example, Hades and the Valkyrie have abilities that interact with decks in a way that kills or recycles units. War gods give boosts to players when they deal damage. It’s a nice touch that adds flavor to the experience.
The theme also comes with tons of fanservice. Kamigami Battles features deities reimagined as anime characters. The characters are certainly drawn to titillate, with cleavage and physics-defining bodies all over the cards. 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. There is a noticeable dip in quality as far as image resolution on some of the cards. It isn’t much of an issue in a vacuum, but the cards in Battle of the Nine Realms are noticeably worse than they are in the other Kamigami Battles sets. This is a solid game as far as components go, but it isn’t the best that the series has to offer.
Kamigami Battles Is Great For Fans Of…
Kamigami Battles: Battle of the Nine Realms
While it's not as great as Kamigami Battles: River of Souls, this is still a solid addition to a Deckbuilder fan's shelf.