Saturday, June 19, 2010

The World of Rynaga: Iconica

I picked up a new game about 2 weeks ago and finally had the chance to play it last night.  It's called Iconica and it is set in the World of Rynaga.  Rynaga is a very stylized and interesting world that seems to be developing into a full blown fantasy world. Iconica is the first game set in this world. The world, game, and art are designed by Eric Torres, and all aspects are brilliant.  I'd really like to see a great company like LPG work with Torres and develop a generic OSR RPG world book using Torres art and setting.  Torres has created a world book which tells a story in almost postcard style snapshots and is filled with his glorious art.  Back to the game though.

Iconica is a sort of RPG card based strategy game...but each player only uses three cards.  From the Website:

Set in the fictional World of Rynaga, Iconica blends turn-based strategy with a twist of chance for a unique card game experience that's easy to learn, but a challenge to master.

Start by choosing your cards. Choose wisely, as each character comes with it's own set of strengths and weaknesses. There are several card types such as Defensive, Offensive, Adaptive, Disruptive and Supportive.

Once you've chosen the cards that will make up your hand, it's time to face off against your opponent. Dice rolls may add an element of chance, but each turn presents you with strategic options that represent the core of Iconica's gameplay. Other elements such as Final Acts, make for exciting game events and can be the difference between victory and defeat.

Iconica features:
  • Turn-based strategy and RPG elements
  • An iconic design aesthetic
  • 5x7 cards full of flavor and personality
  • High production values
  • Diverse card types
  • Layers of complexity
  • Expandable gameplay
  • Clear and understandable rules
  • 2-player and team play variations
  • It's Indie-Made

I can vouch safe, the game play is strategic, intriguing, and fun.  Each character has 6 different abilities on its card. You roll a d6, then whatever number is rolled you may select that matching numbered action from one of your three cards.   Your goal of course is to slay your opponents 3 characters.

As your character suffers damage it unlocks various new abilities these abilities change as more damage is suffered thus creating another level of strategy and chaos.  The variety of powers and abilities is remarkable considering the base set comes with 6 cards, dice, rules and markers.

I originally thought the limited card selection (3 per side) would lead to a lack of variety, but even using just the base 6 cards, an amazing amount of strategy is possible.  Adding in the additional characters only increases the team building possibilities and strategies.  At the same time, the limited card set one must manage keeps the game approachable and teachable.  My wife an I played 3 games last night and each game was quite different using just the base 6 cards.  While common TCG's are of no interest to her due to their complexity of interaction, Iconica allowed these same kinds of strategy in a more palatable bite size portion.  The initial game took about 75 minutes as we learned the rules and she analyzed her options.  The next two games came in a bit under an hour each.  I think 2 experienced gamers could knock out a game in 45 minutes easy.

The cards are gorgeous and evocative as you can see in the image.  They are 5x7 in size and of very good quality. 

While it is a type of collectible card game, it is not a blind purchase model.  Instead you can purchase just the cards you want.  Additional cards are available now and can be purchased for $2 and up. 

I highly recommend this game if you like strategy games, TCG style games, or the idea of Collectible Card games but without needing a suitcase to compete.  A solid 8 out of 10.
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