Kamigami Battles: River of Souls
Play Time: 45-60 Minutes
Kamigami Battles is a deckbuilding game for 2-5 players. The game features gods and other mighty figures from various pantheons. The base game, Kamigami Battles: Battle of the Nine Realms focused on Greek and Norse mythology. Kamigami Battles: River of Souls is the first set in the series and features Egyptian and Babylonian mythology. Despite being the first set, it can serve as an expansion to the original game or serve as a standalone title. This review will look at Kamigami Battles: River of Souls as a standalone game.
Kamigami Battles is a surprisingly simple game to play, especially if the players are already familiar with deckbuilding games. 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 that have various effects to help them add more cards, attack their opponents, or other abilities. Eventually, players will be attacking each other in an effort to deplete their opponents’ life to 0. The last player standing wins.
Of course, there is a lot to consider for players. 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. Each warrior card has three colors on the top left of the card (a primary color and two chaining colors). Players can play multiple warriors if the primary colors of the second (or third or so on) matches the chaining color of the previous card. Each player also has a god as a leader which grants them unique abilities. The colors, leader cards, and various warriors lead to a lot of strategies to consider, making Kamigami Battles an intriguing game.
The deckbuilding genre is fairly crowded, but Kamigami Battles has enough going for it to stand out from the rest. Most deck builders don’t have variable player powers granted by leader cards. There are also quite a few little mechanics that simply feel refreshing. The most notable one is that newly acquired cards go to the top of the players’ deck instead of the discard pile, unlike games like Tanto Cuore or Clank. Newly added cards are guaranteed to go into the next hand, therefore less luck is involved and players can preemptively plan their next time.
Kamigami Battles is an entertaining experience that flows well. Most games in the genre have a set ending where players add up victory points, so the need to eliminate other players really changes things up. There aren’t victory points, so players need to plan how they will attack instead. Some cards defend the players from attack, so a balanced deck is essential. The need to defend from attacks helps all players to stay engaged, even when it isn’t their turn.
While Kamigami Battles has a good enough flow, the game only shines with three or fewer players. Things are just a bit too slow with four or five players. Kamigami Battles is at its best as a two-player dueling game, where both players are able to focus all of their resources into each other. The elimination mechanic of the game can also lead to one player losing early and waiting at least half an hour for the game to end.
Anime fans will find Kamigami Battles’ art aesthetically pleasing. Like most games from Japanime Games, Kamigami Battles features multiple talented anime artists. Still, while one group will love this game’s art and theme, many will be turned away by the fanservice. The woman on the box cover represents the majority of the cards well. Most of the card art exists to arouse the players. Still, the quality of the art itself is fantastic and fits the game’s theme fantastically.
Kamigami Battles: River of Souls is a fun deckbuilding game that successfully sets itself apart from its peers. While it isn’t great with higher player counts, it’s a fantastically dueling game with a wide variety of ways to play. Fans of the genre and the game’s aesthetic will find plenty to appreciate in this game.
Kamigami Battles: River of Souls
Kamigami Battles: River of Souls is a fun deckbuilding game that successfully sets itself apart from its peers. While it isn't great with higher player counts, it's a fantastically dueling game with a wide variety of ways to play. Fans of the genre and the game's aesthetic will find plenty to appreciate in this game.