Transformers have always been a pillar of our home. From toys to trading cards, the franchise has always held a special place in my heart. Imagine my excitement when it was announced that a new deck-building game based on transforming robots would be hitting store shelves. So, does Transformers deck-building game stand up to other deck-building games, and is there more to it than meets the eye?
What’s in the box?
Transformers Deck-Building Game is neatly packaged in a fairly small box. Inside you’ll find a bunch of cards all adorned with awesome Transformers artwork. The cards all have a glossy finish, which makes shuffling easy. Unfortunately, they’re a bit thinner than I would have liked, which means you’ll no doubt have to pack them to prevent damage.
With the cards you get small cardboard figures of your favorite Transformers that can be placed upright. These are still a little thin.
My favorite components by far are the cute little pink plastic Energon Cubes, which fit right into the theme and serve as your currency when activating your Transformers abilities.
How do you play it?
Transformers Deck-Building Game is, as the name suggests, a deck-builder that will see you and other players buy cards from a marketplace (or in this case, the Matrix) and use those cards to defeat your enemies. Cards you buy from the matrix are placed in your discard pile and can then be shuffled back into your deck, increasing your options when facing enemies.
Each map has three main resources displayed on it. Power is when you use to buy cards and defeat enemy cards. Next is range, which indicates how far away (how many cards) your transformer can attack or affect other cards. Then there’s movement, which shows how far you can move your transformer and what cards you can flip.
There’s also the aforementioned Energon, which allows you to activate some of your card’s most powerful abilities.
At the start of a game, the cards are placed face down in a grid (this is the Matrix). Players have no idea which cards are where. Unlike other deck builders, players must then move their respective transformer on the grid, use move points to flip the cards, and can then buy them if they wish.
In addition to the theme, players also receive a corresponding larger Transformer card which has two sides, a bot side and a vehicle side. As you can probably guess, the vehicle side gives players extra movement points, but what it adds in movement it lacks in attack power. The bot side, meanwhile, gives you access to special Transformers abilities that you’ll use Energon to activate.
As players move around the Matrix buy cards, they might turn over the Decepticon card. This then launches an attack on you – which means you’ll need to choose the top card of the encounter deck (the deck placed next to the die) and activate this ability – which affects every player on that card. If you defeat the Decepticon, you gain the victory points shown on the card.
The Transformers Deck-Building game ends in two ways. When the main deck is exhausted or all Decepticon bosses are defeated. The player with the most victory points wins the game.
There is also a co-op mode that changes victory and defeat conditions.
What did we think of the Transformers deck-building game?
For better or worse, the Transformers deck-building game isn’t your standard deck-building game. The addition of the matrix is one of the game’s greatest strengths. However, it also brings an element of randomness that not everyone would appreciate and it can be annoying not getting the card you were hoping for.
The transformation mechanic also adds to the theme and adds an interesting strategy to the game. The addition of the Energon resources is great for the theme, but it might feel a bit tacky because it’s yet another resource to track.
Plus, the Transformers deck-building game can feel a bit overwhelming to learn because there’s so much to follow.
That said, it offers a unique experience compared to other deckbuilders, and if you love the Transformers franchise, you’ll appreciate all the little additions to the overall theme. If you can look past some of the game’s shortcomings, you’ll find a very enjoyable and unique deck-building game.
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Transformers Deck Building Game
- Introduces unique mechanics
- Transformers Theme
- Some might not like the randomness
- The game can be a bit confusing to learn
Breakdown of reviews
Complexity vs Depth