Transformers have always been a mainstay in our household. From toys to collectable cards, the franchise has always had a special place in my heart. Imagine my excitement when it was announced that a new deck-building game based on the transforming robots would be hitting store shelves. So, does the Transformers Deck-Building Game hold up against other deck-building games out there and is there more to it than at first meets the eye?
What’s in the box?
Transformers Deck-Building Game comes packed neatly into quite a small-sized box. Inside you’ll find a bunch of cards all adorned with some really great looking Transformers artwork. The cards all have a gloss finish making shuffling quite easy. Unfortunately, they are a tad thinner than I would’ve liked — which means you’ll no doubt need to sleeve them to keep them from getting damaged.
Along with the cards, you get little card-board figures of your favourite Transformers which can be placed upright. These again are a bit on the thin side.
My favourite components by far are the cute little pink plastic Energon cubes, which fit in perfectly with the theme and will be serving as your currency when activating your Transformers’ abilities.
How do you play it?
Transformers Deck-Building Game is, as the name suggests, a deck-builder which will see you and other players buying cards from a marketplace (or in this case the Matrix) and using these cards to defeat your foes. Cards you buy from the Matrix are placed in your discard pile and can later be reshuffled into your deck, increasing your options when taking on enemies.
Each card has three main resources displayed on them. Power is when you use to purchase cards and defeat enemy cards. Next up is Range, which indicates how far (how many cards away) your Transformer can attack or affect other cards. Then there is Movement, which shows how far you can move your Transformer and which cards you can flip.
There is also the above mentioned Energon, which allows you to activate some of your card’s most powerful abilities.
When starting off a game cards are placed face down in a grid (this is the Matrix). Players have no idea which cards are where. Unlike in other deck-builders, players must then move their respective Transfomer on the grid, use move points to flip cards and can then purchase them if they would like to.
Adding to the theme, players are also given a corresponding larger Transformer card which has two sides, a bot side and a vehicle side. As you can probably guess the vehicle side gives players some extra move points, but what it adds in movement, it lacks in attack power. The bot side on the other hand gives you access to the Transformers’ special abilities which you will be using Energon to activate.
As players will be moving around the Matrix purchasing cards, they might flip over the Decepticon card. This then initiates an attack against you — which means that you would need to pick the top card of the encounter deck (the deck placed next to the Matrix) and activate that ability — which affects every player on that card. If you defeat the Decepticon, you gain the victory points indicated on the card.
Transformers Deck-Building Game ends in one of two ways. When the main deck has run out or if all the Decepticon bosses are defeated. The player with the most Victory Points wins the game.
There is also a co-operative mode which changes the Victory and Defeat conditions.
What did we think of Transformers Deck-Building Game?
For better or worse, the Transformers Deck-Building Game isn’t your stock-standard deck-building game. The addition of the Matrix is one of the game’s biggest strengths. However, it also brings in an element of randomness that not everyone would appreciate and it can be annoying not getting the card you were hoping for.
The Transforming mechanic also adds to the theme and does add some interesting strategy to the game. The addition of the Energon resources is great for the theme but it can feel a bit tacked on as it is yet another resource to keep track of.
Furthermore, the Transformers Deck-Building Game can feel a bit overwhelming to learn as there is a lot to keep track of.
Having said all this, it does offer a unique experience when compared to other deck-builder and, if you love the Transformers franchise, you’ll appreciate all the little additions to the overall theme. If you can look past some of the game’s shortcomings, you’ll find a very enjoyable and unique deck-building game.
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Transformers Deck-Building Game
The Transformers Deck-Building Game isn’t perfect but it is worth a try if you love deck-building and Transformers.