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Summoner Wars Master Set - Board Game Box Shot

Summoner Wars Master Set


Summoner Wars is the exciting card game of fantastic battlefield combat that puts you in the grandiose role of a Summoner. Strategy shapes the composition of each deck of cards and how they are used. Tactics determine the effectiveness of those cards in battle. Call walls of stone to protect you in combat and serve as magic portals for you to summon your warriors. Call your forces forth and send them in a surging wave against your enemy. Cast spells that bolster your forces and cut down those who would oppose you.

Victory can only come from the death of your opponent´s Summoner.

The Summoner Wars Master Set contains 6 different complete factions to choose from.

  • Play as the Shadow Elves and conceal your plans in swirling darkness!
  • Choose the Benders and confound your foe, turning his own troops against him!
  • Command the Vargath, mountainous goatfolk who call lightning from the heavens!
  • Select the nefarious Sand Goblins and delight in malicious trickery!
  • Muster the Deep Dwarves and control the forces of Geomancy!
  • Lead the ferocious Swamp Orcs to war and hack upon your foes as they are snared in your vines!

Everything you need to play is here. And when you order direct from Plaid Hat Games you get a free promo card. Your choice of Khan Queso, Sairook, or Khexhu.

User Reviews (14)

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Jungle Elves - Summoner Wars Beta 2.0 Tester
Summoner Wars Fan
Unicorn Clan - Legend of the Five Rings
76 of 83 gamers found this helpful
“Just keeps getting better!”

Summoner Wars is one of those games that tends to defy classification. It’s a card game, but your cards move and act like miniatures on a game board. It’s collectible in that you have multiple factions and expansions available to add to your armies, but there is no blind purchase element to it. It’s a tactical skirmish game with variable unit abilities and strategic decisions, but it only takes half an hour to play. So what kind of game is this? It’s all those things combined, and most importantly, it’s a lot of fun.

For this review, I’ll focus on the Master Set, but I will provide some information on the various options for purchasing. The game started out with the release of two different starter sets, each containing two different factions, some dice and makers, and a folded paper gameboard. After that came several faction packs, reinforcement packs (to add to existing factions), and a limited run of a premium game board. Last fall, Plaid Hat Games released the Master Set, which contains six completely new factions, a sturdy game board similar to the premium one, and updated rules. All told, there are now over a dozen different factions to use, and each one feels different from the rest. In addition, there are plans to release updated versions of the starter sets, which can be difficult to find.

The main components of the game are the cards, and they are really well done. They are solidly made and will stand up to regular use, although sleeving them is always a consideration. You definitely won’t need to shuffle these multiple times in every game so they should last awhile, even unsleeved. The artwork really does a good job of presenting each army as a re-imagining of a lot of the classic fantasy races. The counters and dice are also functional (although the custom faction dice are really the coolest way to go). The board that comes with the master set is a definite improvement over the paper mats that came with the starter sets, but the paper mats are much more portable.

The gameplay centers around destroying your opponent’s summoner. Each turn you can summon units (if you have enough magic to pay the summoning cost), play events, move three units, and attack with three units (not necessarily the same ones that moved). This simple-sounding formula is made much more complex by the special abilities of the individual units, as well as the special abilities of the various summoners. The magic used to summon is earned by destroying your opponent’s units. Every unit you destroy goes into your magic pile and can be used to summon more units during your next summoning phase. In addition, at the end of your turn, you can choose to discard cards from your hands into your magic pile, speeding the buildup of magic, but also reducing the units you have available to summon. And when your deck runs out, there is no shuffling the discard pile; you play with what you have left in your hand. This really makes for some challenging choices as you have to constantly maintain a balance between summoning units and building your magic. Do you go for a rush of cheap common units to overwhelm your opponent or save magic for the big heavy-hitting champions? Do you save that great event in your hand until you can use it, or do you discard it to build magic?

As I mentioned earlier, the game designer has done a nice job of reworking some of the old standby fantasy races. These aren’t just elves and dwarves and goblins (oh my!). They are Shadow Elves, Deep dwarves, and Sand goblins (and more!), each with distinct mechanics that really make them stand apart. Each faction feels very different from the others, and each one requires an entirely new set of tactics, which just multiplies the replayability. In addition, the various factions are all competitive, although some are a little tougher to master than others. A lot of the fun comes from trying out the different factions against a variety of opponents.

Overall, this is a great game that keeps getting better. It provides great tactical choices and strategic decision-making in a session that plays out in thirty minutes. The gameplay is quick, straightforward, and just plain fun. The factions are extremely well-balanced and offer loads of options. I would recommend this game to anyone.

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Viscount / Viscountess
Advocate Beta 1.0 Tester
71 of 78 gamers found this helpful
“Super 2 player mini game, without the minis.”

Anyone who knows this game and has looked at my profile and seen how I feel about Heroscape (it’s the best) will not be surprised to see I give this game a perfect 10. It is very similar to ‘Scape, using cards instead of minis, with a few interesting differences I’ll comment on later.

In this two player game the players each use one of six “Factions,” or armies, made up of a deck of cards. Besides the six different Faction decks, all of which are new to the Summoner Wars line, the game comes with two heavy folding boards with a grid on each where the cards will go, plus assorted dice and markers.

You set up your army according to the instructions for your particular faction. All factions have their “Summoner” and all start with a wall and soldiers of various types in play.

During the game you will draw the cards from your chosen faction deck into your hand and, sometimes, play them on the board as critters who will fight on your behalf, sometimes you will cast them as spells with some effect, and sometimes you will simply discard the cards into your “Magic” pile.

Like in Heroscape, some of your soldiers are “common,” and you can have any number of them, and some are Champions, and you can only have one of each of them. Some attack from range, some must be adjacent, and so on. The mechanics of movement and combat are very simple and well described in the rules. The game ends when a player’s Summoner, who is sort of like a Champion but in this way also like a king in chess, is destroyed; that player is the loser.

When you want to cast a spell, which means either (a) summoning a critter, as I said, or (b) casting some other kind of spell, depending on your faction, you will take cards from your magic pile and put them in your discard. The fancier the spell, the more cards you have to move from your Magic pile to your Discard.

The game plays fast, normally in about half an hour. There are six different factions and each one has a significantly different play style from the others; the Mountain Vargath are straight ahead bashers, and the Deep Dwarves generate lots of Magic and have some powerful spells. Try them all.

There are a couple interesting differences from ‘Scape, besides the obvious lack of massive, modular terrain and miniatures.

This game is really balanced around making competitive armies, where Heroscape is not. Heroscape is designed for scenario play, and for mixing and matching to make armies. Summoner Wars is very finely tuned to keep each deck balanced against the other decks. It is really a testament to Colby and his Playtesting crew that, with all the attention this game gets, there is no emergent superior faction.

Second, set up and take down are both very fast, which is nice.

One last word about the box & insert: the box is *huge*. There is room for the six decks in the insert and room for all the other factions that have ever come out for Summoner Wars, too. It fits on my shelves with my other games – it’s not Rise of the Valkyrie big – but it’s up there. Maybe as tall as Ticket to Ride but bigger around than Castle Ravenloft.

Also you can play with four players. I tried once and don’t especially recommend it; I thought it drags, but your mileage may vary.

Easy to Learn

Really 2p only

That’s it. We love theme and we normally play 2 player in our house, so this is right up our alley.


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I'm a Player!
71 of 78 gamers found this helpful
“Extremely good game”

Of all the purchases that I’ve made recently, this was the one that I had the least real idea of whether or not I’d like. The idea was sound and it seemed like something that I’d like, but would it prove to be that? Anyone, because of the good word I’d heard of it, I decided to check it out – and I am extremely happy that I did.

First, let me explain the game. Summoner Wars in many ways reminds me of an LCG meets miniature wargame. In Summoner Wars, players take the role of a summoner – someone who uses a special magical stone that allows them to summon armies from out of no where. The objective of the game is really simple, to kill the other players Summoner. Both players start with a pre-defined board set up based on your faction – some set ups are more offensive, others more defensive and still some a bit more balanced. Players will summon Units, play events and pretty much move around the board in their goal to kill the opponents Summoner. Why I say it reminds me of an LCG is because the packaging is set in pre-constructed decks that don’t need any additional cards, and the extra packs serve to enhance strategies with cards that are all pre-determined. It reminds me of a miniature wargame because of the combative nature and its emphasis on mobility and units attacking.

From a packaging perspective, this is pretty good. Opening the box up, and its a rather large box btw, you have some damage counters, the rule book, the cards and some dice as well as two large cardboard boards. The boards are really good quality for cardboard boards, really. Inside the box, where the cards and dice are, is plenty of room for the six armies featured in the box, but also plenty of room to add more armies in the future – easy easy storage for them. The art on the cards is a minus, in my opinion. Its not bad, but its kind of an artistic/realist approach that I just don’t prefer. The unit cards are ok, but all the Event cards feature the same portrait of your faction’s Summoner – it would have been nice to have some difference in their art, I think. However, compared to the imaging I saw on my laptop – the art printed on the cards is much better. Also, the cards themselves are pretty good quality card stock. Not as strong as you’d see in, say, Magic:The Gathering, but good quality all the same. Which is funny, because I bought the Vanguard faction pack with the Master Set and the card stock for them is cheap and flimsy when compared to the Master set. From the component side, the game is pretty good.

Gameplay is extremely fun and easy. I taught my wife the basic idea of the game in like about 5 minutes, and after the first game she was moving around the board with much more ease and comfort than she did with other games. She compared the game with a Chinese board game Xiangqi, which is Chinese chess, and I’d say that comparison is pretty solid. There are a lot of tactical decisions that you are making and the game can change tides pretty quickly and easily.

All in all, the game is terrific and one of our favorite already. I love the simple rules, and the deep strategy involved. I am not a big fan of the artwork, but that’s perhaps my biggest complaint of the game. Who would I recommend it to? First off, people who are moving to Board Games from CCGs. Its a pretty easy jump with this one. People who are interested in trying out a miniature wargame would want to try it because the gameplay is similar, if done differently. Also anyone wanting to play a good game would want to give it a try. Who would probably not like it? If you don’t like card games, then stay away from this. The cards being moved are fine for me, but if you just don’t like them for one reason or another, then this may not be a good match for you. Also, someone who doesn’t like to make the deep, tactical decisions that come with a war-game type environment may want to avoid this one too – because it offers a lot of decision making. Lastly, while I can see a house rule set up for multi-player, the game plays better as a 2 player game no matter how you see it. So, if you like to play with a big group of people then this game may disappoint some players in your group. All in all, I’d definitely recommend this one to pretty much anybody who likes a good game. Give it a couple of tries!

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US Marines Service
70 of 77 gamers found this helpful
“I love me some Summoner Wars”

I’ve had this game for quite a while, starting with the original base sets, the new Master Set and several of the separate faction decks and reinforcement cards.

This game feels like a miniatures game but with cards. Sometimes I still catch myself saying this “figure” instead of this “card”.

There are 6 factions in the Master Set and they add a great variety to the earlier released factions if you have them like me, or if the Master Set is your first Summoner Wars purchase, it’s a great introduction to the game with a nice variety to keep the game fresh.

The rules are easy to learn, as there are basic rules that apply across the board that make them easy. However, these basic rules can be broken by special powers on a unit’s card. For example: movement is normally set at 2 spaces, but certain units can move more than that. Or normally melee units can only attack other units on 4 adjacent spaces (front, back and either side) but not diagonally, but there are units that have powers that allow them to attack diagonally.

Each faction plays differently and you can feel the theme of that faction by how they play with their special powers and event cards. Event cards are special cards that you can play that can have a variety of different game effects. Some factions have a couple of the same Event Cards and some more faction specific, while other factions have some more unique Event Cards.

Units are played onto the board by spending magic points based on the cost of the unit being summoned onto the board. You can get magic points for the most part by destroying other players’ units, but there are other ways to get them too through special powers or event cards. You can also discard cards from your hand to build magic in your magic pile.

It takes a little getting used to a faction and how to best play them, but it doesn’t take but a few turns to get the feel for them. Some units require a little more aggressive play, while others require more finesse. Regardless of which faction you play, there are plenty of tactical decisions to be made during the game. Should you save up your magic for your hero units, or bring out a lot of cheaper common units? Do you build magic from your own hand or rely on destroying opponent’s units to get your magic? Aside from that, there are many other things on the battlefield to decide.

I really love this game and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a 2 player tactical game.

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I play blue
Master Grader
70 of 77 gamers found this helpful
“More Chess than Checkers”

Summoner Wars is simply a great game and many of you already know that so I’ll hold off for a moment on another summary of the game. As a casual gamer I thought I might have one important thing to add though to the many reviews that are out there and that is this: the game is more of a “main course” than some indicate. I most often see this game described as a “fast filler” but that has not been my experience with the game really at all. My wife and I really enjoy playing it but despite the fact that neither of us is prone to “analysis paralysis” our games go pretty long and we are mentally concentrating the whole time so it can be a bit draining. Admittedly, if we played more often we would no longer have to be learning the cards as we plotted our strategy but just the same, I would liken this game more to a fantasy themed, dice rolling chess rather than a fantasy themed, dice rolling checkers. My wife and I like filler games such as Lost Cities and neither of us consider Summoner Wars to fit into that light category. We both think you should get Summoner Wars, but if you are interested in it because you are looking for breezy play, this isn’t the right game. If you are looking for fantasy chess – look no further.

The rest of this review is really only for those unfamiliar with the game though I still will not try to offer the fullest description. Keeping with the “chess” theme though, you play a “summoner” who can bring forth an army and cast spells to defeat the other “summoner” in the game. Once one summoner dies the game ends. You play on a large squared, chess like board and continually move your pieces to attack (you roll dice to see if you are successful) and gain positional advantage. You also are constantly trying to build magic points up (by discarding cards and defeating your enemy in combat) so that you can bring forth more pieces or perform various actions. You have a small deck of cards and will see every card in a game though you will have to make choices on which ones to play and which ones not to. The tide of war can turn quickly in the game which is nice so that you don’t feel eliminated early.

If you are new to Summoner Wars, this set is definitely the one to start with as you get the nice playing board and six different decks to play with. The real strength of Summoner Wars is that the different armies are truly balanced and really do feel very unique from one another. The artwork is fantastic and the personality of the army really shows through in how they fight and maneuver. More decks are available to purchase which you almost invariably will want to do despite the fact that you really don’t need to since the set comes with six great ones.

This is a fantastic two player game that I highly, highly recommend. I just know I had a little bit of a misunderstanding of the game when I purchased it that I’m hoping to help others avoid. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a dense wargame by any means, but at the same time, it isn’t pure “filler” either.

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Amateur Reviewer
70 of 78 gamers found this helpful
“Alright who let the sand goblins get there hands on a stone!?”

Summoner Wars is a card game in which two factions face off against one another in an epic duel controlled by two summoners. How where these great summoner chosen? Well the sand goblin’s leader secured his position by stabbing his best friend in the back of the throat while he was not looking and stealing his goggles (don’t believe me look it up) Some of the unique features about this card game that differentiates it from other card games that you may have heard about is that the cards are actually treated as miniatures on a board, and physical placement of your units are extremely important. Also because of the relatively small size of the deck and the nature of the draw phase you will almost certainly cycle thru your entire deck meaning there is a very good chance you will at least have the option to use every card. And there is no dedicated resource cards but instead every card in your deck can potentially become a resource by discarding it at the end of your turn or even your opponents resource if he is able to kill it while it is out on the field.

Variety of cards – Every single card in the game has some ability and just about every single one of these are unique. Everything from knocking the card you are attacking back, to the ability teleporting to any unit you kill and attack again, to being able to mind control other units. Not only does this differentiate the units but it really gives each faction a unique and interesting feel. For example Benders Can pull of some great combos, steal other units, syphon away the opponents deck but have little life, Deep Dwarves can give themselves great magic boost, good mobility, strong attackers but they are also very mana heavy. Sand Goblins have no weakness and are prefect in every way (there may be a small amount of bias in that last part)

Bang for your buck – Speaking more specifically to the masters set, this is a great deal for an all in one set. For $50 you are getting six decks (normally they are $10 apiece), a very nice game board, the box is actually really nice and has a lot of extra room that allows you care your extra decks or expansions, and plenty of wound marks and dice
Simplicity – Learning this game was actually pretty simple. 3 people can move three, 3 people can attack, you can’t attack diagonal. It felt like the made a lot of choices to keep the game simple and concise without hurting depth. I do sometimes find myself wishing that units had unique ranges or speeds but I think that the abilities of each unit does a good job of taking care of differentiation.
Balance -While I am not sure that the balance of this game is perfect there does not seem to be once faction that totally overtakes all of the others. (Except the Sand Goblins, again perfect in every way)

Lack of Customization– The decks are what they are and there is no changing or even tweaking them. Now there are expansions out there that can take of this but that is going to run you another $30. Also even if you do have the expansions you do not get a say where your units start, there is a card you must follow when putting out your starting units which feels like it can give the player who goes first a small starting advantage as he can sometimes pick off a couple of your guys right off the bat.
Combat System– I am not sure how to feel about this one, but the game can really turn on a roll. Basically for every attack you do on a person there is a 2/3 chance you will hit him. So if you attack a unit with one life using a unit with 3 attack and don’t kill him it can really throw off your plan. Also some days the dice is just not on your side.

Final Thoughts: Being a person who was into Magic at one point but has since abandoned TCGs, this game has really filled that void. I do wish that there was a bit more customization to the decks but hopefully the expansion packs I just ordered will fix that. Summoner Wars is currently one of my favorite two player games and probably will be for years to come. Oh and did I mention Sand Goblins are the best

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Intermediate Reviewer
Spread the Word
80 of 98 gamers found this helpful
“Like M:tG. But more chess”

This game. I LOVE this game. It’s a perfect mixture of Magic’s pre constructed and constructed formats with the deep intellectual strategy of a good old fashioned game of chess.
You pick one of many factions to play as(all with their own unique field setup) and you can even custom out the decks if you invest a little extra cash on your more favored factions.
Then you work your way across and around the board trying to be the first player to kill the other’s summoner.
There is a rich risk and reward system in playing your cards. For every card that goes into your discard pile is gone for good. so you have to really be picky about what gets used as a recourse and what hits the field.
Each faction is diversely unique from the rest. Each with their own look, feel and play style.
The over all rules are simple enough. If you know how to play M:tG and chess you pick up fast. For others there may be a learning curve. For both some times deciphering card text can be a hassle. But not enough to detour the thrill of the game.
With plenty of extra factions to pick up along the way you will never grow tired Summoner Wars.

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Vanguards - Summoner Wars
Amateur Reviewer
72 of 89 gamers found this helpful
“More than meets the eye!”

Summoner Wars is a 2 player strategy game that offers all the carnage of a regular minis game, but with an army that fits in a card box. The base set comes with the 6 starter armies, but with the large amount of expansion armies and reinforcement packs the replay value becomes endless. The system is easy to pick up on but the strategy goes way deeper than what you might see at first glance. This is because of Summoner Wars unique resource system. Your hand, your library, your spells, troops on the field and everything come from the same deck..and when they’re gone, they’re gone. This makes every move you make be of critical importance, every unit you field has the upmost value. Not to mention that if your unit gets killed by the opponent they get to use it as a part of their resource pile. There is a bit of heavy reliance on dice rolls, and if you are on a bad streak it can cost you the game but technically the odds are in your favor(3 or higher is roughly 66% of the time you should hit).

Although technically only a 2 player game you can run multiple boards next to each other and have as many players as you have boards. Not sure how well the balance of armies holds up like this but so far its worked for me.

Overall- Great game with tons of replay value!!!

Components- Looks amazing but the card layout could have been better.

Learning curve- easy to learn but difficult to master.

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Scorpion Clan-Legend of the Five Rings Beta 2.0 Tester
70 of 93 gamers found this helpful
“Insanely addictive”

I picked up the game as a chance that me and my brother could play it (he finds L5R rules too complex). So we crack open the box, and are surprised to see six decks. We take about five minutes to read through the rules and begin playing.

Getting in the game is simple enough, thanks to the rules being fairly straight-forward. The challenge lies in the tactics that you will employ and the decisions that you will be making. A lot of other players have already mentioned that this game is a cross between a TCG and minis, and I believe that they’ve nailed this on the head.

I’ve already purchased the master set and will be looking forward to buying the other faction decks as well. Trust me, this is one purchase you won’t regret.

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70 of 98 gamers found this helpful
“Awful choice if you seek a strategy game”

At first I really enjoyed this game. It has nice art, a good lore, diversity of factions with very different playstyles and a good game mechanic overall (referring to the use of a board and spaces to move your cards as if a chess like game). The fatal flaw of this game is the die. It just ruins the experience. On my first games I rolled good dice, so I hadn’t noticed how much they can affect the outcome of a match.
Having played more, I know now that there are times when you can’t even put up a strategy. For example, there was a game where I only rolled two results of 3 or more, which means I only managed to do 2 damage to my enemy. One of them was on a Wall and the other was on a common unit that had 2 health. My oponnent destroyed all of my units over 2 turns, leaving me only with my summoner, and got his victory in less than 5 minutes – even though I played defensive and was even able to summon more units (only to roll more bad dice). Don’t get me wrong, it is possible to have really amazing matches of Summoner Wars, where the dice are fair with both sides, but to me at least it only happens twice every 10 games. So if you want to play a strategy game where your wits count more than your luck, I would never recommend this game to you.

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Filth - Summoner Wars
70 of 101 gamers found this helpful
“A Fantasy Chess”

Really nice! I really like this game. It’s like a Fantasy chess. The abilities are really nice for each deck and every race is unique somehow.
The pieces are good quality and it’s pretty easy to learn. The nice thing is that for each race you have to figure out a synergy. The races that come with the box are really nice and the ones you can buy separately are even nicer.
Even my girlfriend likes it 😀
Do not forget to buy sleeves for the cards since they will be used a lot.

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Gamer - Level 2
70 of 106 gamers found this helpful
“Feels like a cross between MTG and chess but heavy reliance on dice”

Protect your summoner from dying by using creatures, walls and spells. Solid easy to learn and easy to teach light/medium strategy game. Has a chess-like feel to it. Each faction plays very differently and figuring out how to play each faction most effectively is a fun puzzle onto itself. However, one criticism I have is the heavy reliance on dice during attacks adds a bit more of a chance element than I would like to see in a strategy/tactics game like this.

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oddball Aeronauts fan
Draco Magi fan
70 of 106 gamers found this helpful
“Warlord without equipment cards....”

I love Warlord ccg. Summoner Wars turns out to be a lot like Warlords ccg.

While some may say that the game has chess like movement mechanics, don’t let this turn you off if you don’t like chess.

While Summoner Wars has the players making think ahead tactics you still have to deal with luck of the roll with 6d dice.

Each player plays walls on the battlefield. The walls allow for you to summon unit cards next to the walls. The object of the game is to destroy your opponents Summoner unit.

Great game!

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67 of 110 gamers found this helpful
“Stratego meets Magic the gathering”

Non collectable battle card game where stratagy plays a bigger role than luck. A friend of mine introduced me and I had to get my own faction decks. Try it and see how quickly you grab some.


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