PAX East is a wonderful place! Even though I moved to New England in 2013 it wasn't until 2016 that I made my first trip and I was only able to get us tickets for one day. It was during that trip where Chris and I began brainstorming what would become 1 Geek 4:11! This year we were able to attend all 3 days and among all the video and board games I was super excited to be able to test out Phoenix Covenant by Hikari Games. In the interview you will hear how we stumbled across Phoenix Covenant and how I got super excited because they said PCov is "Magic: the Gathering meets Final Fantasy Tactics" a true tactics card game that I didn't know my life needed. If what you hear or read pricks your interest Phoenix Covenant is available on the Hikari Games website for $69.99
I am really excited to get to sit down with Adam, one of the creators of the game, and talk about the game and get some amazing listeners questions answered (thank you everyone)! These will not be show note in the normal sense but below I will do my best to explain the gameplay of PCov is all about!
Out of the box you get 4 decks, a 44 card expansion pack, a ton of tokens, the resource trackers, and of course the board. The goal of the game is to reduce your opponent's Life Points from 25 to 0 before they can do the same to you. You can attack Life Points with any unit that is able to attack the opponent (by attacking "off" the board; think being able to attack where the opponent is sitting) or by attacking the opponents "Hardpoints" though your damage is reduced by half. You also have spells, like Lightning in the gallery, to help you accomplish your goals!
The top left of every card indicates its cost to play; with most cards costing a combination of Command Points (Yellow) and Mana Points (Blue). The system is a mix between the mana system of Magic: the Gathering and Hearthstone where each turn you are given 2 points to increase your max CP and/or MP and you fill up to your max of both points. You can choose to increase both of the pool by a single point or increase a single pool with both points. The system is a cool strategy as you have to balance your resources. The red Roman Numeral is the cards "tier", basically an indication of the cards power level. Cards range between tiers 1-5 as of the time I am putting this together. When you play a unit your max CP (yellow) is reduced by the unit's tier until the unit dies.
Each of the 4 decks that come with the game have an unique theme, for example the "Scrap-Tech" deck adds "Scrap" as a unique resource to power a lot of its card interactions. "Scrap-Tech" also has exosuits like the Tier 3 "The 'Rhino'" which you try to upgrade up the chain to cards like the Tier 5 "The 'Dragon'". While you could cast them normally, using your Command Points and Mana Points, you are rewarded for using the "Upgrade" ability to skirt around the normal costs of summoning powerful units to the board.
PCov also brings in an interesting system of attacking and defending based on card's orientation (which is why the cards are square). Units have armor (look above where the name of "The 'Rhino'" and "The 'Dragon'") which reduces damage by half but they also have weak spots (bottom) where double damaged taken. When partnered with the fact that melee units can only attack the way they are facing you have an awesome balancing act of protecting your units while trying to maximize damage. Certain creatures like "Champion of the Five" (in the gallery) have a blue armored spot called a "barrier" which reduces damage to 0.
Unlike card games like Magic: the Gathering, Yu-gi-oh, or Pokemon you have a 8x6 game board that you are playing and moving units around on. Under normal conditions you can only summon new units on your "Home Row", which is the row closest to you, but there are special "Commander Units", like "The Lady", which allow you to play units of an equal or lower tier around that unit using their "Gating" ability. This allows you to summon units closer to your opponent and save valuable time.
Another unique part of PCov is that there are two "Hardpoints" which allow for you to attack your opponents life without actually having to get to their Home Row. These "hardpoints" can be upgraded to different buildings which give each deck a unique feel, for example the "Move & Groove" deck has an ability that lets your units heal as you move them around. A cool building is the "Entropic Gate", the last picture in the gallery, which lets you spend CP and remove 2 defeated cards from the game to draw a card and return a card from your defeated pile to your hand.
That covers the basics of PCov! I have really enjoyed my time with Phoenix Covenant so far and I am looking forward to hearing more about how the game evolves over the next couple years as expansions continue to come out!
If you would like to get in touch with Adam you can find him on Twitter @PoorRonin or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to learn more about Phoenix Covenant you can head over to hikarigames.com, @PHXCovenant on Twitter, Facebook, join their discord community, or send an email to email@example.com!