THRONESTORM is a new concept of 2-player card game in the abstract genre, published by `ORIGINAL CONTENT LONDON' (aka OCL)
I believe it was designed by Ed Saperia of OCL, it was he demonstrating it at UKGE and no one is claiming the fame for the game or the illustrations in the Rules or on the Box cover (front or back).
There are 10 sets of 4 cards duplicated in items but not in colour or illustration. By this I mean there are Ten Sets of Four Noble RELIC cards made up of:
Each set of four is colour coded and the game is about uniting all four same-coloured Relics from a single Noble House.
To slightly shorten the length of play and perhaps make collecting a little easier, there is a 'beginner's rule' of removing two Noble Houses from the deck at the start (for your first game or three).
Once you have the rules down pat (within a couple of minutes of starting) this is a game that can be played at speed; there are only two options - CLAIM A RELIC or HATCH A PLOT - for each player's Turn.
The cards are NOT shuffled together but instead shuffled into 4 separate decks distinguished by the items on their front and by the design on their flip-side. Basically Helmet, Sword, Shield, Goblet.
These decks are placed face-down in a column called The 'Reliquary' (a container or shrine in which sacred relics are kept) which is basically the Supply. The top four cards, one from each deck, are turned face-up and four cards from the CHALICE deck are positioned in the shape of a cross (one on top, two in the centre and one underneath) in the centre of the table (aka the REALM).
The Reliquary decks are placed face down with their top cards face up so that they are seen before drawn. Cards placed in the 'Realm' have to positioned according to a specific formula. They may not be placed willy-nilly (aka randomly) but must keep a system of Rows and Columns (never more than three cards in a column, and filling each column before beginning a new one, thus for example, you couldn't have four cards on the top Row, 2 in the Second row, and one in the third as this would not be uniformly positioned. Placing cards in the Realm is the second-most important action in the game, the first being deciding which Column to take and when.
Players start with no cards and thus the very first action for each player has to be taking a card from the Reliquary. Once the top up-turned card is removed from a stack you place it in your Inventory (or into the Realm) and flip over the new top card for all to see. If, later on during play, the Relic you take is of the same type you already have, then you can either place it, or the one you already have that's the same type, into the Realm, ensuring that you position it legally.
The two options available each turn are:
a) 'Claim A Relic' (take a card from the Reliquary)
b) 'Hatch A Plot' (remove a diagonal of 3 cards from the Realm and possibly add a card to your Inventory) - you can simply replace the cards in a diagonal that isn't an advantage to your opponent.
If you want a card in the Realm then you have to
a) have one already in the same colour in your Inventory
b) you have to take the other two cards that, with the card you require, form the three-card diagonal.
You take all three cards, keep the one you legally can, put the others back into the same diagonal pattern but not necessarily putting the cards back in their same places (exception: obviously the one you kept); three cards out, three cards back - you can put any three cards back so it may be possible to take a diagonal of three and keep them all if you legally can as long as you replace them with three from your Inventory - this is highly unlikely to happen though.
It's a fast paced game that gets even faster the more you play it. Not only do you have just the two options per turn but each option is usually obvious, which of course makes turns fly by. Games can take from about 10 minutes to 20 minutes in our experience (it's really a good game if I can last 20 minutes before getting crushed).
I have this silly habit that I just can't get past. I keep putting all my Relics in one basket. If I have a single Grey Relic in front of me then I will immediately look to get another Grey Relic, thus having two of the four I need to win. Of course this shows my opponent what I am collecting and as I only have two cards and they are both Grey it means that I can only pick up a diagonal column where there is a Grey card on my side of the table, something my Opponent can usually do something about. You really need to have different colour cards (always different Relics) in front of you to give you more options, in fact it is better if you can lay three or four cards into your Inventory before adding to the Realm as this way you have a better opportunity to pick up cards and relocate them to your advantage. Also don't collect Noble Houses (colours) that your opponent is collecting, as you know darn well they are not going to relinquish their card/s in that House until they can pick up a card to replace it that will fit in and be the last of their 4 Relics set.
At £15.00 from www.thronestorm.com it is a cleverly designed, well packaged, with quality cards and impressive artwork it is a simple 40 card game that is neither collectible nor likely to have any kind of expansion in the near future; mainly because at the moment, having played THRONESTORM many times, I cannot see how it could be expanded without completely changing the basics of the game play.
It's a very attractive game with good graphics and neat definition colours; it is also quite enjoyable, but the satisfaction of winning (so I have been told) is tantamount to winning a game of Tic-Tac-Toe, (if played against me my opponents have added "against a five year old" to that sentence). The retail cost is as high as it is because the 40 cards each contain a different work of art; thus 40 different illustrations plus the box design and art amounts to a large production cost.