Forge War - Board Game Box Shot

Forge War

| Published: 2015
19 8 2

Forge War is a game of intense resource management and spatial reasoning.

In Forge War, players will take on the role of blacksmiths in a kingdom rife with marauding harpies, cursed dungeons and fire-breathing dragons. They are charged with gathering ore from the mines, purchasing weapon designs from the market and then using these resources to forge weapons for adventurers who will go on quests to fight back the ever-deepening darkness. If the adventurers are successful, they will return with more ore, money and other rewards with which players can invest back into their burgeoning weaponsmithing empire.

At its core, Forge War is a rewarding game of aggressive investment, which occurs through the acquisition of quests. Quest management becomes challenging for the player, however, because quests undertaken aren’t completed immediately, but instead progress each turn and become more difficult. At specific time intervals, players will need to add more resources to their quests or face failure.

Other features of the game include collecting metals and gems in the mine through spatial reasoning and player interaction, competing with other players for weapon designs and other valuable resources in the market through an action selection mechanic, and leveling-up adventurers as they complete quests – giving them access to more weapons and powerful titles.

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32 of 38 gamers found this helpful
“Like the miracle of pregnancy & birth, if you stick with this game through the end it'll be awesome”

Forge War is a fantasy-theme, heavy, Euro, resource management, worker placement, hero building, full of components that the box doesn’t close all the way, so many cardboard punches you’ll get blisters on your fingers, board game. You still there?

Yes, it’s a very intimidating game, and no, you won’t convince the newer players in your game group to play. After all, on the front cover it states 1-4 players with a minimum play time of 60 minutes. One interprets that as: even if you play by yourself and know all the rules and play a game it will still take you at least 60 minutes to complete. That’s 1 hour for those using metric. In fact much of the game is like moving through a textbook converting empirical units to metric. Yes, once you do it, it all makes sense and plays beautifully, but is all the effort of reading through the rule book, and watching “how to”s, and reading the rule book again worth it…sadly, yes.

It is actually worth the effort to punch out all the little cardboard bits, and place them in order into tidy little bags. Even going to your local game/comics store to pick up a couple of plastic deck boxes to hold the equally impressive number of cards. And the pieces pertaining to the mine, who the heck knows what to do with those. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Forge War is set in a fantasy realm where there’s a trouble-a-brewing. Think “D&D: Lords of Waterdeep”, and you’ve been recruited by the king to recruit, manage, and equip your band of mercenaries (“heroes” if you like, but there’s a payout, so you’re mercenaries), by utilizing the town’s merchants and available technologies (blueprints of fancy weapons and equipment), except, the town-folk are kind of lazy so you’ll need to also manage the mine that allows you to get the necessary materials to forge the equipment. Also, apparently this king is a capitalist because competition makes for the best band of mercenaries, so you’ll have to outplay your fellow players to get the resources you need, the equipment and technology to complete quests, and a good amount of tactics and strategy to come out with the lead in victory points.

I wish I had a simple, straight forward paragraph that could explain this game’s mechanics, but I don’t, which speaks to the game’s flaw of being extremely intimidating, yet also supporting the game’s deep and rich complicated gameplay. So instead, let me walk you through the scenario of what I’ll call the “short-term” game and the “long-term” game, and hopefully by the end of it, you’ll begin to appreciate how these two “games” coinhere with one-another to give you a rich and satisfying gaming experience to be had by all who are willing to put forth the effort.

There are really two games happening in Forge War:

The puzzle-like mine which will make you think, “Huh, when did Reversi and Checkers have a love child?” There’s a big payoff of learning how to manipulate the mine by converting over other players’ miners to your team and coaxing them to move their foremen so you can get another player’s miners to strike causing much laughter (on your part) and gnashing of teeth (on the other player’s part). Unlike its forbearers, the mine in Forge War not only leaves you feeling satisfied for a move done well, but also cute little cubes to fund your on-going war mongering.

That war mongering is the second game where you tactically plan out what items are best purchased, or heroes to upgrade and recruit, or what quests your mercenaries should partake in. Each of these decisions have to be decisive, because unlike other games where purchasable items linger around waiting for a player of monetary surplus and “why the heck not” mentality, each market item is discarded at the end of the round. The game is purposefully setup so that it’s impossible to purchase all items in a given round…it’s a bit wasteful, but this makes for a really awesome game mechanic. In fact, there’s a guarantee that not all players will be able to purchase items or equipment, as “Forge War” adopts a similar mechanic to that of “Stone Age” where the number of “workers” to be given to a certain task is purposefully limited. Hence, leading to many an evil-eye across the table, as you take the only available technology on the table which basically everyone needs to complete the final leg of a 3-tier quest.

The two “games” come together when deciding player turn order. Turn order is determined by the number of miners a player has in the mine. The player with the fewest miners gets first crack at the available items and actions in town. Because the availability to perform tasks in town is so limited, you’ll be regretting that great move you just performed in the mine as you have a handful of resources but nothing to spend them on or build. There are a lot of nuances to the game mechanic that can really spot-light a great player, who’s not only thinking tactically for the round currently being played, but also strategically, putting things in place to secure quest advancement and completion, hence victory points in his/her pocket. You’ll initially laugh at the player who “mistakenly” caused all his/her miners to strike losing all of them in a single move, to a feeling of nerd-rage to see him/her get first turn order and purchase the Holy, Mithril, Hand of God, Power-house Thingy.

This is not a game for beginners; in fact I would say casual gamers are candidate “table-flippers” of this game. Forge War is for gamers that are able to see through all the rule sets and complexity and spend the time to settle down and get comfy, because they know at the end of this session is going to be one, glorious, happy ending.

NOTE: There’s a distinction in Forge War between a “Normal” and “Epic” versions of the game. Skip the “Normal” once you get familiar with the game and just play “Epic”.

 

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