Orcs Orcs Orcs

Orcs Orcs Orcs from Queen Games is a deckbuilding game in which you take the role of a mage in the Orc Squash Tournament. You are battling to be the best mage by killing Orcs and thus scoring the most points.

Orcs Orcs Orcs is played on a gameboard that depicts a circle divided in 6 paths with a tower in the middle where the mages reside. On the edge of every path a certain number of tokens is placed face down depending on the number of players. Two of these tokens are revealed and the corresponding creature is placed in the outer circle of those aths. On the board there is a space to put the Fate cards and to put the Poison cards. Also shown on the board is a scoring table that tells how many points a certain orc is worth by means of a cube placed on it. Next to the board, spells are placed that are available for players to gain. Every player starts with its own board that shows the health of the different orcs and also the abilities you gain when killing two of the same Orc. These are double sided. The other side is used when playing with the Bonus Actions Module. Every player also starts with 8 spell cards which are the same for every player.

Each time before the start player takes its turn a Fate card is turned over. This card tells you which color(s) of Orcs move one step closer to the tower and if there might be some change to the rules for the next game round. If at this stage an orc would run against the tower the orc is destroyed, that type of orc is worth less points in the end and the mage that is standing in the path where the orc hits loses one if his gained orcs that is the same as the one destroyed. Then every player takes its turn in order. A player’s turn consists of three phases: reveal creature markers, perform actions and draw new spells.

During the reveal creature markers phase, the active player first checks for any path that doesn’t have any creature left and reveals and places a creature in every empty path. Then he reveals and places a creature in a path of his choice where his mage does not reside.

When this is done the players get to do two actions. He can either teleport to another free location on the tower, casting a spell or pass. Teleporting is simply moving to another location on the tower. This is usually done to get in front of some ready to be squashed orcs or to get out of the way of orcs that might hit the tower.

There are three types of spells in the game. The spells of Lore are used to gain new spells. Some of the spells you can gain give you two victory points at the end. With Attack spells you, like the name says, attack Orcs. The standard spells let you attack only one Orc but the more advanced ones give you the ability to attack all the orcs in one section and even a neighboring section or even anywhere on the board. The last type of spells alter the game situation and these are called the spells of Support. These spells vary from moving Orcs to another location, switching two Orcs from place, moving orcs closer to the tower or let the other players discard a card from their hand. All spells grant spell power in one or more types of Magic (Earth, Lightning, Water, Fire) which is shown on the top of the card. In the bottom section of the card it’s ability is noted which might have a spell power cost. ( f.e. a Zap does one damage if there is only one lightning spell power, but if you play two lightning spell power it does two damage ) The means to get this spell power is a nice mechanic. The spell you play grants its spell power for itself, then you can play other spells as an enhancement (tuck it under the main spell card so that only the top is showing with the spell power) where you only use its spell power to cast the original spell. Some spells even give you some extra actions when played as an enhancement.

Each time you kill an Orc you keep the figure next to your play area and move the cube next to the Orc you killed on space up on your player board. When you have killed two Orcs of the same type you have unlocked its special ability for the rest of the game. These vary from getting an extra card when drawing new spells, getting an extra action, dealing out viruses (-2points) to not losing an Orc when an Orc hits the tower in your path.

After you have done your actions you discard your hand of spell cards and draw a new hand of spells. Like any other deckbuilder when your draw deck is empty you shuffle your discard pile to form a new deck.

This goes on until four path are completely rid of Orcs and Orc tokens. When this happens the game continues until the end of the current game round. Then it’s time to see how well you did in the Tournament by calculating the points. The mage with the most points is the winner.

First off let me say that this game plays completely different then Castle Panic. I know this has been a major issue from the start of the Kickstarter campaign but in the end the two can co-exist without any problems. I will not dive into this further but if someone wants me to make a comparison between the two just ask so in the comments and I will gladly do so.

This game was a blast to play but has some minor issues in my opinion. Let’s start with these minor issues. The spells you can gain are not all that varied. There are only 4 different Attack spells and 4 different Support spells you can gain. This means that usually after two game rounds you have seen every spell there is in the game. The fate cards could be more nasty. Usually nothing happens or the spells in the common area are replenished by new spells. The third minor issue I have with this game is towards the end especially when playing a four player game. When two paths are empty nobody will teleport any more. At that time it’s best that you have some spells that can move the Orcs or that you can kill Orcs outside of your path because otherwise you will be having a lot of difficulties to kill any more Orcs. Again these are only minor issues in my opinion. I love the spell casting in this game. You will be putting a lot of thought on how you will be using your spells because there are no bad spells. Usually it comes down to the way you want to use it. Am I going to play a certain spell for its ability or as an enhancement to make another spell more powerful. At first glance you might not notice it but there is a lot of take that in this game. You can give players poison cards, lets Orcs small into the walls so that they will lose points and Orcs even, move an Orc so that another player can’t kill it anymore let other players discard cards from their hand.. The artwork is great and funny. The smallest Orc is dragging his mace around because it’s too heavy for him. There are also two bonus modules which I recommend to include in every game. One is the bonus Missions which give you extra points at the end. From these two are dealt to every player in the beginning and he selects one to be its hidden mission. These vary from getting points for every 4 Orcs, 2 orcs of the same color to points for the gained spells. They are really balanced except for one which demands to have the more Orcs of every color than the other players. For each color that you have more Orcs of than every other player you score three points. This I so hard to achieve that you will not take this mission especially in a four player game. The other extra module is the bonus actions. These give an extra action when you kill one of the yellow or red Orcs. Again these vary from gaining an extra card, extra action, extra spell power of your choice to every other player discarding a card from their hand. All in all we had a blast playing this game and I can’t wait to try out the expansion.   

Play with honor