Archmage Origins Board Game Review

Game: Archmage Origins
Designed By: Dave Killingsworth
Art By: Joel Lopez, Andora Cidonia and Paulina Leyva
Published By: Brave Frontier Studios, LLC / SolarFlare Games

Players: 2-4
Duration: 10-20
Age: 8+

Archmage Origins Board Game Review

Game Play / Game Description

Archmage Origins is a new card game from up-and-coming publisher to watch Brave Frontier Studios. It combines the classic game of memory with wagering and spells and pleasant, yet wicked fantasy art, for a fast, fun and surprisingly deep bargain card game experience. 

Setup: Shuffle monster cards and place face-down in a 4x4 grid. Players take one of the four sets of Mage Cards. (red, blue, green, or yellow)

Game Play: During a player's turn they will 1) look at two of the face-down Monster Cards, 2) choose to either swap location of the two cards or leave them in their current location, 3) place one of their Mage Cards (numbered 1-8) face-up along the border of the Monster Cards, and 4) Choose to play their Hold Monster Card or Spell Card.

That's it. Players take turns until they run out of Mage Cards, then they flip the Monster Cards face-up and figure out who gains which cards by adding the points from their Mage Cards along the edge. Some Monster Cards have special requirements to be gained by the players, but all of those details are easy to figure out by reading the cards during game play.

The Mages have staked claim, now it's time to see who has the most powerful monsters!!! (aka: Who has the most points.) Example of who gains what: The lower left card has claims from red (3 +2=5) and yellow (5+1=6). Assuming the monster card does not have any special criteria, yellow would take possession of the lower left card. They would also gain any bonuses or penalties that may be included with the monster.

The Mages have staked claim, now it's time to see who has the most powerful monsters!!! (aka: Who has the most points.) Example of who gains what: The lower left card has claims from red (3 +2=5) and yellow (5+1=6). Assuming the monster card does not have any special criteria, yellow would take possession of the lower left card. They would also gain any bonuses or penalties that may be included with the monster.

Verdict

Archmage Origins is a fantasy-enveloped game of memory with some twists; this pocket-sized card game is great for some light, quick fun! Bonus, it has a lightweight price to match the game. With fantastic artwork, easy instructions, and enough variance to keep the game fun, Archmage Origins packs a lot of bang for the buck. Check with your FLGS to see if they have this one on the shelves. It would make a great stocking stuffer for the gamers in your life.

Pick your mage cards: Demonologist (red), Necromancer (green), Technomancer (blue), or Elementalist (yellow). Each mage has their own special power that they can use once during the game. If they choose not to use their power, they earn an extra point at the end of the game.

Pick your mage cards: Demonologist (red), Necromancer (green), Technomancer (blue), or Elementalist (yellow). Each mage has their own special power that they can use once during the game. If they choose not to use their power, they earn an extra point at the end of the game.

Pros

  • Super-short, easy to follow instructions
  • Quick set-up. Maybe a minute, at most
  • Wicked art (Who doesn't love a three headed Dragon-Lion-Gargoyle with a Snake tail???)
  • Great price point! Any solid game that comes in under $10 is a hit in my books
  • Small. The size of a deck of cards (because it is a deck of cards), this will slip right into your purse, murse, or pocket.
  • Fun! While, at it's core, this is a classic game of memory, the twists, spells, and wagering make this a mature version for sure. (In a good way! This is perfectly acceptable for kids who can read, know basic math and grid manipulation, and aren't squeamish to fantastical creatures.)

Cons

  • May be hard to find. Ask your local game store if they have it in stock. 
Thwack is cool, but he's only worth 1 point. Save your spells and big points for some of the more powerful folks. Like Gertrude the Dragon!! P.S. - My 6-year old daughter found Thwack to be particularly funny, and even a little cute.

Thwack is cool, but he's only worth 1 point. Save your spells and big points for some of the more powerful folks. Like Gertrude the Dragon!!

P.S. - My 6-year old daughter found Thwack to be particularly funny, and even a little cute.

Gateway Game Score: 9/10
Overall Game Score: 8/10

If you like this game, be sure to check out other games from Brave Frontier Studios!

  • Nightmare Forest: Alien Invasion
    • 1-6 player Co-Op
    • Work together to cleanse the forest of aliens before it's too late!
  • Nightmare Forest: Dead Run
    • 1-6 player competitive
    • A card and dice mashup of classic side-scroller games
    • Escape the animal-zombie filled forest before your friends do!
  • The Lords of Rock
    • 2-5 player competitive
    • You're a literal God, battling for souls and power on the cosmic stage with the most powerful weapons of all... musical instruments! 
  • Udder Terror
    • 2 player mini game
    • Two aliens compete to see who can abduct the most cows
    • A silly, moooo-st have game!
This review was written by May Begamer, who cannot get enough of the artwork in these games.