Update: Immortal has relaunched with updated pricing and shipping. It is now EU and Customs-friendly and has Celtic and Egyptian stretch goals laid out right at the start. I’ve updated the links and pricing in this review accordingly.
Immortal is a game of mythic strategy from Game-O-Gami studios. Using one of four asymmetrical pantheons, players place their cards to dominate the battlefield.
At a glance: In Immortal, 2-4 players summon armies from four different mythologies: Norse, American, Greek, and Japanese. The goal of the game is to gain the most control over the modular battlefields by capturing opponents’ forces and turning their powers and abilities against them. Gameplay averages around 20 minutes per player.
There are four decks to choose from in Master Set 1, each with a different mix of powers. Each play deck comprises 18 cards, that include a wide variety of heroes, deities, and monsters from that mythology. Each card has a value that serves as its attack and defense along each of its North, South, East, and West quadrants. Players place cards one at a time, trying to strategically move so that they can use their higher numbers to capture opponent cards, while also protecting their weaker quadrants.
Strategy is complicated even further by unit powers that allow cards to, among other things, gain strength from allies, mimic other’s abilities, play in-between game boards, and even remove cards from the game completely. The art is the big draw and is very nicely done, doing a solid job of conveying each mythology’s overall feel and tone. Unfortunately, most of the female characters fall steadfastly in the cheesecake category. The guys are pretty beefy too; but the art definitely falls into that fantasy art trope of “Powerful Guys, Sexy Women.”
The project re-launched on Kickstarter on 6/23. $40 will get you a printed copy of the full game, with higher levels getting you additional promotional cards and additional decks of the pantheons in Master Set 1.
New to Kickstarter? Check out our crowdfunding primer.
- 72 Character Cards (4 Pantheons x 18 cards each)
- 8 Double-Sided Modular Board Pieces
- 160 Tokens and Status Markers
- Ability Quick Guide
- Player Reference Cards
The copy I played was a demo copy, so I didn’t get a very good feel for the final fit and finish, but I did get a good feel for the gameplay!
How to Play: If you’d like to give it a shot now, there’s a Print and Play version on BoardGameGeek.
Play progresses in two Acts. In Act I, each player chooses a game board, decides who goes first, then places their game boards, aligning them so that at least two sides are touching. After, each plays a card from their Level I deck face down (with the player that goes first deciding along which quadrant the cards will be aligned). Then cards are revealed and gameplay continues as normal, with players choosing cards from their hands to overtake the other players. When cards face off, the higher number in the quadrants that face each other wins. The numbers can be effected by various powers and special tiles on the board itself. This continues until there are no more moves or everyone’s hand is depleted. In Act II, players create a deck out of their more powerful Level II and III cards, add new game boards to the battlefield, and continue their turn rotation. The player who controls the most cards at the end of Act II wins.
It’s a new twist on an old mechanic, and the inclusion of unit and environmental powers add a deeper layer. This helps prevent things like rote memorization of cards. The asymmetrical quality of the pantheons assists with this as well, though I can imagine memorization still becoming an issue the more you play. Additional game play modes, as well as custom decks, are also supported, adding to the shelf life of the game.
The pantheons are well-balanced, with one exception. The Japanese pantheon’s Voidwalker ability appears to be overpowered. I was easily able to jump ahead late in the game because I’d ringed a void spot with my own cards, with their lowest number facing that void. What had been a certain win for my son quickly became defeat as I took all my cards back and he could do nothing. Then again, this was the first time we’d played with the Japanese pantheon. I’m sure the next time we play, he’ll take the Voidwalker power into consideration. Knowing the strengths of your opponent’s decks will have a big effect on your success.
With high-production artwork and a familiar concept, I can see us bringing this to the table as a palate cleanser between bigger games. The promise of new decks will keep things from getting stale. If you’re a fan of mythology, this is definitely one to take a look at. Visit the Immortal Kickstarter page for full details.
Disclosure: GeekDad received a demo prototype of this game for review.