War of the Worlds: The New Wave does a great job of making the humans feel like they are on the back foot just trying to tread water and survive long enough.
Theme and What is it?
War of the Worlds: The New Wave is exactly what the title suggests. The Martians are sending UFOs and Tripods to invade England. The humans are resisting as best they can. The New Wave uses asymmetrical deck building elements to power the raging conflict. Guerrilla warfare, naval bombardments, army tanks, and maybe even an air strike or two will take their toll on alien morale. But if the aliens can wipe out all the human population before taking unsustainable damage they will be victorious.
Each of the two players starts with a simple deck of basic card abilities. They also have a unique market deck that is shuffled at the start of the game. A buying row is flipped out for each player to spend their resources on upgrading their deck. Each turn, a player can place one of the current market cards on the bottom of the deck (or remove it from the game if playing a more competitive variant).
War of the Worlds: The New Wave is a relatively lightweight deckbuilding game. It is not particularly difficult to learn and make decisions. That said, it offers a great experience for two asymmetrical players to make tactical decisions and troop movements.
Game Build Quality
The kickstarter version comes with upgraded miniatures which are really great sculpts. They are available for purchase as upgrades for a retail version. The components are excellent. Even the building tokens have plastic stands so that they can look like buildings when placed.
There is one weakness in the build quality. The rulebook. The rulebook has dozens of spelling mistakes/typos and copy-paste errors where it wasn’t modified correctly and still has name references for a different card than is being explained. Learning the game from the rules wasn’t very hard, but it was distracting to have such a rough print. I have to imagine the printer was sent the wrong copy of the file as it seems really unusual for such simple mistakes as extra letters or wrong order letters to be in a professional production.
The board is gorgeous. The cards have great imagery. The pictures in this review should be plenty for you to know if the style of artwork does as much for you as it does for me.
The best part of The New Wave is balancing the different options on starting cards. You can use a card to move your troops, gain a bit of buying power, or permanently lose the card for a boost in buying power now. It is very easy to accidentally use cards too wastefully early and run out of steam to upgrade further. The balance of burning your deck to just the cards you want most and losing the ability to keep upgrading is very compelling.
Age Range & Weight
10+ is maybe a little low but fairly close. War of the Worlds is quite easy to learn if difficult to master. The thematic invasion and abduction of people might be upsetting for those too young. But the mechanics will offer only minimal difficulty. The rules for which cards can activate the same unit on a turn and which can’t are worth taking special note of since it is just a brief mention in the rules.
My only complaint in the end is the poorly (not at all) edited rulebook. This in no way hurt my play experience and The New Wave delivered a really good two player deck building game tot he table. If the typo in that last sentence bothers you, you might have an issue. Have someone else read the rules and avoid that issue if needed. I only bring up the complaint as most players will have no trouble overlooking such a minor issue.
War of the Worlds: The New Wave does a great job of making the humans feel like they are on the back foot just trying to tread water and survive long enough. The aliens never die no matter how much damage is inflicted on them. And even while collecting defensive buildings and army units to protect the civilian population, the humans have to watch their other civilians get mercilessly culled everywhere else. Each game we played was within a reasonably slim margin of victory and that alone sells me on it.
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