Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Age of War by Fantasy Flight - DICE HEAD REVIEW

Every now and then you come across a game that is fun, simple and easy to learn. Today we look at Age of War, a fast paced conquest card and dice game released in early 2014 by Fantasy Flight games, designed by Reiner Knizia (Lord of the Rings board game, Samurai, Beowulf: The Legend).

A few weeks ago I got together with some friends to play Eldritch Horror (stand by for a review of that one as soon as I get my hands on a copy of the game) and since most of the group still hadn't arrived yet, we decided to play a round of Age of War.

The game is pretty simple. You are a daimyo (Japanese general) and your goal is to conquer castles and unify the warring clans of feudal Japan. You do this by waging war against other players ( up to 6 others) who wish to do the same. Basically, you are all generals trying to conquer Japan and bring honor to your house, your family, and your cow.


The playing field consists of several playing cards that represent each castle. Each card is color coded and has a clan symbol on the back of it. There are yellow cards (4), red cards (2), purple cards (2), black cards (2), grey cards(3) and one green card. Each clan(color) has a different number of castles(cards) assigned to it. 

You conquer each castle by rolling seven dice and assembling your army with your results. Results may vary between infantry (swords), archers (bow and arrow), cavalry (horsemen) and daimyo (red mask). Each castle requires a certain number of each of these symbols in order to be claimed by the player.

Each castle also has a number that shows how many points this castle is worth, along with the name of the castle inspired by an actual real-world Japanese location.


One player is chosen randomly, the game then continues clockwise. Each player throws the dice to try and complete the requirements to conquer a castle. Once a player has a castle there is the option for other players to take that castle away from him or her by rolling the required dice for that castle plus an extra daimyo dice.

Once a player has all of the castles in a colored set (clan) he flips them over, revealing the total points for that set and claiming that clan as his permanently. This means that the castles in that set can no longer be taken away from that player. This allows for a lof of different strategies in the game, which makes it very fun and entertaining. 

Once all castles have been claimed, the game ends and the points are recounted. Whoever has the most points, wins. If there is a tie, whoever has conquered the most castles wins. If there is STILL a tie after that, the players share their victory and drink sake for the honor of their respective houses, families, and cows.


The game is quite fun, I recommend playing it while listening to some traditional Japanese ambient music. I also encourage whoever is playing against me to use Samurai trash talk.

Like so:

Me: I see you will attack the Kitanosho Castle... A most daring move.

Opponent: I shall teach your peasants the meaning of force. Do not worry though... I shall allow your Samurai to commit Seppuku to cleanse their families' of the SHAME AND DISHONOR they have brought upon their house.

*rolls dice*

Opponent: GODDAMIT! the archers! EVERY SINGLE TIME!

Me: Ho ho ho ho ho *strokes imaginary fu-man-chu beard*... It appears not only have you failed to seize my castle, but also shed the last bit of dignity your samurai had left. YOU HAVE DISGRACED YOUR PEOPLE AND DISHONORED MY LANDS! NOW! WE SHALL ENGAGE IN COMBAT!

Good times :)

All in all, Age of War is a good solid game that will guarantee a few rounds of fun. It's also pretty cheap at around 12-15 USD. On top of that the game comes in a small 7.5" x 5" inch box so it's ultra light and easy to carry around. It will make a nice addition to your tabletop games collection.

Thanks for reading!