Two Tabletop Gamers Review: Summoner Wars

Written by on May 14, 2013 in [, , , , , , ]

Summoner Wars pits players against each other in an all-out fantastical war. You play as one of several races including dwarves, elves, goblins, orcs, and many other fictional races complete with their own powers. Playing as a Summoner you will lead your troops into battle, utilizing magic and brute strength. For this review we decided to answer some questions you may have and review the Master Set, the complete boxed edition with six different factions to choose from.

What were your first impressions?

Loren: I loved this game the first time I played it. It plays like a fantastical mix of chess and Magic which surprisingly works. It took a while to setup and get used to the intricacies of each race’s abilities, but the fact that the Master Set comes with so many components factors in well. The replayability is quite high and the design is simple.

Andrew: I love Summoner Wars.  The core gameplay is simple, and the races are well-balanced, yet play completely differently.  There is a ton of replayability because of all the race combinations, and they’re still coming out with more races.  Even with the Master set, I still haven’t played all the races.  It is exciting to be forced to play the game completely differently if I’m using a race I’m not used to, because the races are different enough that you can’t play two of them the same way.

Is this a good game for married people? Kids?

Andrew: This is a better game for married couples and\or friends than for kids.  There is a fair amount of strategy involved with the game, and that complex strategy is probably best for adults.  Kids with strong logic ability and well past learning to read can play Summoner Wars, but it’s not a simple game.

Loren: Yes, the two player element makes it great for couples. The competitions can get heated so make sure your relationship is steady before playing. Each race’s abilities can be a little complex for younger kids, so I would recommend waiting until your kids are ten years and above.


How easy is it to pick up and get started?

Loren: The directions are pretty straight forward, but setup and those first few turns can take a while. Andrew and I played for the first time over Skype, so if we can figure it out, so can you.

Andrew: Fairly simple.  The core gameplay is easy to understand and the artwork on the cards is straightforward and communicates everything necessary. The extra abilities and such afforded by the different races can add complexity quickly, but the core gameplay is easy to understand.

What makes this game stand out?

Andrew: I’m really impressed at how balanced the races are, and just how differently they play.  We have all played games where different races were just different art on the same underlying tropes (warrior, archer, mage, etc) but that is not the case with Summoner Wars.  You literally have to completely change your style of play depending on what race you have.  Despite this, they’ve managed to make the races incredibly well-balanced so there isn’t an auto beatdown if someone picks a particular deck.

Loren: I’ve never played a game like this. The game speaks for itself. The races each have a different feel to them and I have yet to find a race I don’t like. The art style on each card is intricate and you can tell that a lot of time was put into developing this game.


Loren: Design, replayability, simple concepts, multiple expansions, and can be played in a half hour.

Andrew: Design, replayability, expandability. The core gameplay is simple but the variations are many.  The game isn’t too complicated to teach the average game player and yet complicated enough to need real strategy for consistent success.



Andrew: Some of the games strengths are also its weaknesses.  Often times it is difficult to remember all the different abilities your units and your enemies units have, and this can either play to your advantage or disadvantage. The game is limited to two players, though an printable second board is available online that allows for a “two headed monster” style of gameplay.

Loren: Summoner Wars can be a complicated game for newcomers. Luckily, you can find a walkthrough on the Plaid Hat Games website.  The game is limited to 2 players unless you have another set and it can be hard to remember all of your opponents’ abilities.


Would you recommend this to people?

Loren: Of course. This isn’t a party game, but is great for intimate game nights or just friendly one-on-one hangouts. I would even go as far to recommend picking up the expansions and the mobile versions as well.

Andrew: Absolutely.  When I first saw Summoner Wars it was billed as “Magic: The Gathering meets chess” and it absolutely fits that mold.  I actually bought the expanded iPad version and play it nearly every day.

A copy of Summoner Wars was provided to The Married Gamers for review.


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Author: Loren Nikkel View all posts by
Hardcore Xbox and occasional PC gamer. I love to play multiplayer and co-op games where strategy is key.

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