Your ultimate goal is to have all of one suit but when other players are playing cards facedown into your chain, it can totally muddle your strategy.
Theme and What is it?
As humanity spreads through the star systems, they formed a council. This council, The Sovereign, is assigned to keep a balance in these newly discovered star systems.
In an outlying area is Gibraltar Station where free port merchants and mercenaries (players) hang out as a refuge in between travels to earn extra Sovereign credits or Terra coin. It is here that they will play a popular, aggressive card game which mixes tactics and a little press your luck. Do you have what it takes to outwit the others in Sovereign’s Chain?
There are two “suits” in the game: Stars and Planets. The winner is the player with the highest score which is the difference between the two suits. Yes, I was confused too. I will explain that more further down.
- Place all tokens off to the side. There are suit tokens (which are placed on cards such as mercenaries where the player chooses the suit), modifier tokens (these are double sided with -/+ 1), and shield tokens (these prevent cards in chains from being messed with).
- Shuffle the Event Cards and flip one. One Event is always active. Cards throughout the game will change the Event.
- Each player takes a reference card and then shuffle the Class cards and deal five to each player.
- Each player reviews their cards and then places on card facedown to start their chain.
On a player’s turn, they MUST play a Class card from their hand face-up, unless otherwise specified. They can play this card in any players’ chain unless the current event card prevents this.
They then resolved the ability or effect on the Class card. The card is resolved on the player who played the card.
Then, that player draws a new Class card into their hand.
If cards are face down and something triggers them to be revealed, the card ability or effect is resolved on the player who owns the chain.
The Event cards change throughout the game and they change often. They will sometimes require that all cards be placed face down when played or players cannot play in their own chain, etc.
There are a lot of different ways the Events mess with the players throughout the game which makes choices slightly complex.
Once any players chain contains seven Class cards at the end of their turn, the game ends immediately, then play moves to the “Reveal Phase”.
Players take turns revealing facedown cards in their chain and resolving their abilities.
After players reveal all hidden cards, scoring begins. Now, this is where I am sure you were confused above.
Players total up the card value for each suit they have in their chain. Then, they subtract their lowest number from the highest and that is their score.
For example, if I had 15 points in the star suit but then had 10 points in the planet suit, then my overall score is 5 points.
This is why the game is so intricate. Your ultimate goal is to have all of one suit but when other players are playing cards facedown into your chain, it can totally muddle your strategy.
Once the scores are revealed, if there is a tie, then it goes to sudden death. In sudden death, all tied players simultaneously play a card into their own chain and resolve the ability or effect on the card.
This continues until after each turn, the tie is broken or a player no longer has any cards (in which they lose the game).
My gaming tastes have changed over the past year. I no longer crave lengthy, epic games. I lean more toward medium weight and filler games. This falls in between and Wizkids has been publishing some superb games recently so it excited me to try this one.
Game Build Quality
The game components are cards and tokens so there is not much to rave about.
That being said, there are no complaints either. The cards are quality card stock and the tokens are actually thick cardboard.
The artwork has a futuristic, comic book feel if that makes any sense. I think it does. I also like the box art and how the “suits” are put into the font.
Although I like the artwork and the game itself, I don’t think the theme and mechanics necessarily directly mix.
I could easily play this game using another theme as well.
Sovereign’s Chain has a unique scoring mechanism, and this produces a lot of interesting choices throughout the game by all the players.
Being able to play a card on any player’s chain is a lot of fun and insanity and on top of that sometimes hidden insanity.
My group and I had a lot of fun with this one and even though there were some mild “take-that” mechanisms, it was all in good fun.
Age Range & Weight
We did not have any difficulty with the rules. We had a few questions regarding specific cards, but they clarified it in the FAQ on back of the rulebook.
The age suggestion is fourteen years of age and older, but I strongly believe this has a factor in how the game is classified. Most publishers do not want their games considered a “toy” and usually the age range determines this.
I think anyone twelve and up could play this game easily. There is no content in the game that would suggest it to not be suitable for a younger audience.
Overall, this is a solid medium weight filler. It has unique mechanisms that I have never seen in other card games that make it stand out.
My entire gaming group enjoyed it and said they would like to put it into the rotation more often. It is rare that my group 100% agrees on a game so that is a good thing.
We had the game come down to a three-way tie which went to the Sudden death. I enjoy games that can be close like this and it was a lot of fun.
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