ASGARD'S CHOSEN by Morgan Dontaville MAYFAIR Games.
This is an unusual deck manipulation game for 1-4 players with 2 player cooperative rules.
The players are Norse Lords and your goal is to enter Valhalla knowing that your family line has prospered and has the favour of the gods.
They do this by building up the terrain using the double land element tiles and enchanting them with one of four different round effect tiles.
These tiles, Faery Ring, Focus, Water Mastery and Wind Mastery, are designed to fit neatlt into the circular gaps formed when Terrain tiles
are positioned to form the playing area. The Terrain tiles are designed to have 2 different elements selected from Lake, Bog, Forest, Hill,
Mountain and Scrub. Of these 12 tiles 3 are specific as "start" tiles. This means that each tile has three elements which are 2 different lands
and an enchantment (circular tile). Other round tiles, white with line art illustrations, are Town tiles. Three of the terrain tiles have towns
already on them and these tiles must always be included in the game. Otherwise there are a different number of tiles for the number of players.
Battles between players will take place over the ownership of the towns and terrain. The gods can be called upon to assist on either side, but
as the game is about appeasing the gods using them for gain doesn't win you any brownie points as far as they are concerned. Each god card
gives the god's name, the favour that can be granted and the way to appease the god. The game winner is the player who appeases the required
number of different gods.
Examples of gods abilities:
Baldr. Favour = Discard 1 card and draw 3. To Appease - Both of your Heroes must currently be vanquished.
Odin. Favour = Draw 5 cards, select 1 discard 4. Appease - Banish 3 items.
Thor. Favour = +1 Power to all your attacks this round. Appease - Defeat a defending Hero.
There are 6 types of cards which are separated into different decks, including Creature and god card decks. Each card has several important
parts, different depending on the card type but equally as important. Each player has 2 Heroes, 1 Female and one Male, Hero tiles for each
hero, marked accordingly male/female, and nine control markers in the same colour as the Heroes. Players are also given a double-sided Aid
and Setup Sheet.
There are 40 god cards in 4 sets of 10. These sets are identified by a small icon next to the gods names. Players each have one set of these cards
and they begin the game with a predetermined hand of 5 of the gods, Baldr, Freyja, Odin, Thor and Tyr; the remaining 35 cards are shuffled and
form a face-down draw pile. Once you have learned the mechanics and have a handle on how to play you can begin the game with a random draw
of god cards. ASGARD'S CHOSEN is one of those games where the designers have put in a balancing mechanism - in the learning version and the
main game the hand of cards at the beginning depends on the number of players, with the starting player always beginning with just the 5 cards.
The Creature cards are shuffled and laid out to form the Tisch (Table) comprising of two rows, each of four cards: certain cards are removed from
the introductory game Sacrificed Creature cards end up in the Barrows alongside similarly used Item cards. Cards that exceed the Barrows limits
(5 cards per side) are removed from the game.
There are 16 pages of mainly text rules which need to be read and understood by all players. Asgard's Chosen appears quite complex at first as the
author and rules writer has tried, quite successfully, to cover every aspect of play. Once you have the knowledge and understanding there is an order
of play that flows logically and well; this order means that you should plan your moves carefully. There are rules for solo play but having tried to
play the game on my own my personal view is that although they are solid the game has no real satisfaction without human interaction.
This is a lot of game with numerous choices and options that is the type of game we usually thrive on here. But for some reason, even though the
topic is one we like a lot, for us it plays like a going-through-the motions experience. Even when the gods are with you the game doesn't excite
and that's the problem we have with it. The pieces are well made, the rules well written though perhaps a little heavy, and it's published by one of the
leading games companies in the USA, it's just not, in my opinion, provocative or stimulating enough for the length of time a game takes.
Asgard's Chosen is basically a 2-player game but plays equally as well with four players acting as two sets of partners; the winning conditions for
partnerships is only a little different than the basic 2 player game. Again, on a purely personal basis, I would always choose to play a partnership
game rather than a competitive 2 player challenge.