A REVIEW BY
Back story time
The Daimyo (a feudal lord in ancient Japan), has died in mysterious circumstances (cue dramatic music). Some unknown sorcery has caused the disappearance of all the males in the entire kingdom. The palace is full of incredible treasure. Called by the spirit of the Daimyo the remaining women along with some noblemen from other lands compete for the treasure and the right to claim the title of Daimyo before the kingdom is lost forever.
What is it then
Daimyo’s Fall is a competitive deck builder for 2-5 players. Players collect treasures before the last petal token is removed. Whoever has the most points at the end claims the title of Daimyo, and wins. At heart this is a deck-crafting game you can play a game in 60 minutes. Of course, familiarity with the game will make the game play faster. Do not be put off by the 14+ either this game is very accessible to those aged 9 or 10+. It was successfully funded on Kickstarter in just 28 hours and went on to almost treble it’s funding target by the time the Kickstarter finished. You can (at the time of writing) still late pledge for this game just visit https://tinyurl.com/y9kl4ohw and I urge you to do so.
My interest in it
I first came across Daimyo’s Fall on Facebook and the art work really stood out. So I contacted Francesco of Axis Mundi to get a closer look at this game. The version I played was an early play-test version with some early art and some art incomplete. That being said the art on show in the version I played an the art that has further been revealed on their Kickstarter page.
Is beautifully drawn and very evocative of the Japanese Anime cartoon style. This will appeal hugely to fans of this genre. The art work really fits the theme and despite the obvious temptations given the backstory. The artist has been very careful not to over sexualise the images while still retaining the Japanese flavour. Deck-builders are common place amongst gamers now with most collections having at least one. But this really does stand out with its much more in depth approach. I for one would be happy to have this on my shelf and on my table.
I won’t go in to too much detail in this review over what you can do on your turn because the number of options could make it seem overly complicated. This is very far from the truth with it only taking a few rounds to get most of the rules and card interactions understood.
Suffice to say this game really is a lot more in depth than most deck builders I have played.
If you check out Board Game Geek there is a current rule book on there (non final). Boardgame geek
The basic gameplay run through follows a pattern that would be very familiar to anyone who has played a deck-building style game in the past.
Each player starts the game with the identical decks of cards.
All the heroes are shuffled into a deck and one is randomly disbursed to each player.
You can purchase more heroes, but you cannot have more than three heroes. As in normal deck-builders, you shuffle your starting deck and place your hero card in front of you. It is never shuffled into your deck.
Is the play area of Daimyo’s Fall and represents the palace of the deceased Daimyo, the treasure, and the lotus tree at the top of the castle. Once all petals fall from the lotus tree, the power of the Daimyo is lost. The loss of petals in Daimyo’s Fall represents a limit to the length of the game. Treasure cards, when played, release petals from the tree, so pay attention to the loss of petals throughout the game. depending on the number of players there will be either 40 or 50 petals.
Then there are six face-down decks in the domain. You have a shuffled ninja reinforcement deck as well as a shuffled samurai reinforcements deck with face-up cards available to purchase. In addition to these, you will have a face-down hero deck, a ninja treasure deck, a samurai treasure deck, and a regalia deck. Finally one hero card is drawn and placed face-up. This hero card forces a loss of petals based on the petal loss number displayed. The domain is now set-up ready for play.
The game is played in a series of rounds. And an important note here is when choosing reinforcement or treasure cards. Only samurai can use samurai based cards and the same is true for ninja reinforcements and treasures. If you have an active samurai hero, be sure to build a deck with a lot of samurai reinforcement cards.
During the Main Phase.
Players can take as many of the following actions as they wish, a player can:
Deploy reinforcements or treasure. i.e. play a card and gain the bonuses immediately.
Purchase reinforcements or heroes.
Sell one or more reinforcement cards from your hand to gain Mon (the currency). Money gained this way can’t be saved or banked so make sure to spend it. Heroes can also be sold, but you must always have one hero.
Use a Heroes’ skill. Skills are usually activated by paying a cost.
Inactive heroes can use skills, but exhausted heroes cannot.
Return or Discard a reinforcement card from your hand. Some cards have bonuses when you discard or return a card to its specific deck.
Spend trade points. Trade points are gained through reinforcements and are special currency.
Loot- When the actions match the active hero’s loot condition,
players can chain card effects to increase effectiveness of the actions they have.
The end of the game occurs when the last petal token is removed.
At this point, players count their victory points from reinforcements,
Treasure and hero cards. Ties are broken by the person who has the most treasure cards.
Although the game follows the traditional deck building rules, there are some fun interactions.
There are times you can trade out treasures by using loot points.
By spending up to 3 loot points, you can have three different “trade’ effects,
depending what you want to do. You can trade the same class of treasure for another,
trade a class of treasure for a different class of treasure,
or trade out treasure for a single Regalia card.
Regalia are powerful treasures and it can often be useful to trade for those cards.
Another interesting interaction is duelling. Active heroes can duel other heroes.
The attack and defence value of the heroes are based on their purchase and sell costs, respectively.
Simply compare the attack value (purchase) value against the defender’s sell value, and the higher number wins.
However, you can boost your value by discarding cards in your hand. So,
you may discard cards and use the purchase cost as a boost to your attack or defence.
Doing so means you may not have many cards in hand, but it may guarantee a win.
Heroes will have a duel condition if they win or they may gain other bonuses.
A hero that loses a duel must become exhausted.
At first, there may seem to be large amounts of information on some of the cards.
However, you don’t need all the information at once and you’ll learn what the icons mean rather quickly. Text that matches a specific class is colour-coded pink or purple for easy identification. In addition, words in bold print call out loot conditions. So you always have a clear understanding of what must be done to gain those treasure cards.
The rulebook identifies some confusing interactions with cards and clarifies rules in a clear and interesting way. The examples are well thought out and identified in the rules. In addition, there is a summary of the gameplay, index of terms, a list of symbols and their meanings, and some clarifications.
If you like anime inspired games as well as deck building games,
Daimyo’s Fall gives enough unique qualities that it’s a no brainer to late pledge and support.
Will you choose samurai or ninja to claim the great Daimyo’s treasure before the last petal on the lotus tree falls?
I really liked Daimyo’s Fall. It brings some welcome new twists to the Deck-building / Crafting genre while still retaining the accessibility of familiarity. There is extra depth and interaction available across the whole game. The artwork is very bright and spot on for a game illustrated in the Japanese anime style. I strongly urge you to visit the Kickstarter page and look into Late pledge or visit their website or Facebook page