Earthenwar is an entirely different beast of game compared to what we normally receive to look at here at Tabletop Games UK. That’s no bad thing as it is like a breath of fresh air, especially when most of my desk is taken up with sci-fi ramblings of one name or another.
Thus, that brings us to Earthenwar – what is it? It’s a two-player game that has each player take control of a ruling golem using dice arranged around a magical control grid. The aim is to inflict three damage onto the opposing Golems grid, but they have to be in a row. When I first read that I was of a mind that it was basically tic-tac-toe in 3D. If only it was that easy! The core box has two wooden Golems, whereas the kickstart set though has two ceramic Golems that look fantastic.
Inside the Box
Earthenwar is not resplendent with masses of stuff inside the box. In fact, it is pretty minimalist! Included are the rules, magical control boards, two token boards, the playing board, the dice and the Golems. There is no bloat to this game which is yet another reason that it’s so refreshing. The art on the board and control decks is all very simple, yet rather mesmerizing. The magical control boards for Earthenwar always make me think of the medicine man.
The gameplay itself is really simple. You roll off to see who goes first each player does the following.
- Refreshes their dice. This is akin to making them ready for the rest of the turn.
- Improve their dice, this could be adding a new dice to the control board, upgrading, or downgrading a dice.
- Swapping Dice from one part of the control board to another.
Finally – using the dice! The white dice represent movement and the black dice represent attacks. You can only use each dice once and the number on the dice is the exact distance that the action can go. So, a black two dice represents an attack two squares away. These dice can be used in any order, so you can daisy chain your actions to cause some real damage and get out of the way. Although, the player going second will know exactly where you will be for his attack.
Thoughts on Earthenwar
Earthenwar is a game that, in all honesty, I would likely skim over in a shop as it is not something that would normally pique my interest. As it turns out, that would be a real shame! The game is pretty small so it doesn’t need much shelf space at all. Even with the kickstarter, Golems takes up less space than pretty much every non-card game that I own. Setting up and breaking down-time takes is faster than boiling a kettle. With the core mechanics being so simple there’s little to no need to refresh on the rules, even if you haven’t played for a few weeks.
If you would like to late pledge for the board game Earthenwar it is currently live on Gamefound.