Steam Game Review – Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Champions

Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Champions is a digital collectible card game. Players can connect their account to both mobile and desktop, as well as scan in their physical card collection from the trading card game. Each deck uses four champions who control rotating spells and units for effects that last several turns.

Release Date: February 19th, 2019
Developer: PlayFusion
Publisher: PlayFusion
Format: PC Game, also available on Android and iOS
Playtime so far: 8 hours

Player as Order verus computer as Chaos

Each player controls 4 champions using units and spells that rotate each turn

Major Pros:

  • +400 cards
  • Connect mobile and desktop

Minor Pros:

  • 4 thematic factions
  • Solo campaigns and challenges
pages of possible card backs, including those of uncommon and rare varieties, all locked

Cardbacks and playmats can be randomly unlocked from Warchests

Major Cons:

  • Hard to build a strong deck with starting cards
  • Low quality graphics
  • Hard to click on cards sometimes

Minor Cons:

  • Not all the mechanics are explained
  • Constantly pushes for the player to scan their physical cards, even if they don’t have any
Cunning, sad, devilish, and maniacal emotes, along with the phrases hello, good luck, good game, well played, haha and a string of symbols suggesting expletives

Players can emote and use preset phrases with their opponent

Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Champions has over 400 cards spread evenly over four factions: Order, Chaos, Destruction, and Death. These roughly equate to humans, demons, orruks, and undead respectively. Decks are single faction, consisting of four champions, four blessings, and 30 unit/spell/ability cards.

units and spells description: Alpha Grph-Charger is a unit card, meaning it stays in play. Units (and spells) rotate one step forward every turn

Units and spells are the main sources of damage in a deck

Players start the game by taking turns placing their four champions, each of whom can be a warrior, wizard, or both. Traditionally warriors play units, wizards play spells, and both can play abilities, but there are plenty of exceptions. Players start with a hand of 4-5 cards and have two actions a turn to play cards, activate abilities, or they can end their turn early to draw a card for each unused action. Unlike other card games, players do not draw cards in the normal flow of gameplay. Additionally units do not have health, all damage is dealt to a player’s health pool. Also of note is that each champion has a set of four quests to complete in order to unlock one of the random four blessings included in the deck.

more cards description: you have 2 actions, but no cards. end your turn to draw 2 cards. you draw 1 card for each unspent action.

There’s no automatic drawing of cards during the turn

I enjoyed many of the unique takes on a traditional collectible card game. Unfortunately I found it hard to build a strong deck with the starting cards. A starting deck could be unlocked for each faction, but they didn’t have cohesion or a clear win condition. I did a lot of grinding for the Chaos and Death factions and was unable to put together a deck I was happy with. It was clear that each faction had some strategies it was meant to play, such as Death putting Risen and Spirit units into the discard and then bringing them back to the battlefield. But actually getting enough of the cards to make that work felt like it would take a hell of a grind. Cards can be crafted, but it didn’t seem feasible for starting players.

option to craft a card from blue currency. plus 25 to recycle or 250 to create

Cards can be crafted, rarer cards cost more

In addition to PvP, there are solo campaigns and weekly challenges. These give rewards such as cardbacks or chests containing player icons and sometimes a card. I enjoyed the option to have a solo player experience, but wished the rewards had been more geared toward players trying to test and improve decks that weren’t ready for PvP. Cosmetics seem less exciting to me if players aren’t going to show them to anyone.

Solo battle called a cunning trap. first match is called a meeting of minds. Flavor text states: somewhere ahead the sound of voices grows in ferocity. approaching cautiously, you  find a pack of grots and ogors in a heated argument. suddenly their attention turns to you!

Solo campaigns have a couple battles in a row, each offering a warchest

Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Champions is available in both physical and mobile formats with the mobile app looking essentially identical to the desktop version. Players can connect their accounts in order to progress both at home and on the go. The physical version of the card game can’t be played for free, but does allow players to trade cards which isn’t available in any of the digital formats. Players with physical cards can also scan in their cards to add them to their digital collections for free. Unfortunately if players don’t have physical cards, they’ll probably get annoyed at the constant reminders to import their nonexistent collections.

Popup window reading: card scanning. scan your physical cards to add them to your collection! you can also scan your friends' cards to see who they are and add them as friends.

This popped up for me a lot. I wanted a way to just say I had no cards and to let me be.

Perhaps because the desktop version was ported from mobile, there are a number of issues with it. Many of the graphics are low-resolution or poor quality. Some card art is randomly black and white for seemingly no reason and it can make cards look dormant when they aren’t. It can also be difficult to click or drag cards for seemingly no reason. A player might click half a dozen times and be unable to full screen a card to read it. Other times the timer might start ticking down while a player tries in vain to drag a card out of their hand to play it.

Outdated fire animation covering the screen showing Choas versus Destruction before a match

Players can see this lovely 90s fire animation before every game

The game has a tutorial, but it doesn’t explain some of the mechanics of the game. For example, champions have costs and player health pool modifiers. This is never explained nor are these values labeled on the cards anywhere. To figure out what the numbers meant, I had to do some searching online. This can be crucial for deckbuilding. For example, total champion cost cannot exceed 20, but if a player tried to build a deck like this the game will silently refuse to add the last champion. There’s no indication as to why this fails and, with the other card dragging issues in the game, players are likely to just keep trying and get frustrated.

Champion card for Valkia the Bloody, a Choas champion. Along the right side of the card is the letter U a red minus 1 and a green 6

The indicators on the right mean the card is unique, -1 health pool modifier, and has a deckbuilding cost of 6

Overall I enjoyed many of the unique mechanics of Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Champions, but I felt the execution was lacking. There were misleading visuals, unresponsive interactions, and an incomplete tutorial. With the difficulty of building a deck and the constant reminder to import physical cards, I felt the game catered toward the game’s existing player base instead of looking to expand it. I would recommend Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Champions to existing players of the physical game, or Warhammer 40K fans that are looking for a free-to-play game.

Find this game at the publisher’s website or on Steam.

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