Published on May 6th, 2015 | by Nicole Jekich0
Do as the Ramans Do
Review of Barnyard Legions Now on Kickstarter
I love games that simulates history and building the technology, culture and infrastructure from ancient civilizations; however when presented with a game with a focus on military domination and tactical combat featuring these beloved subjects, I freeze. I feel swamped with options and I am not familiar with some of the basics of tactical combat when faced with hundreds of small characters over a large space. I often loose interest in games that feels like pushing figures around in the sandbox for four hours while making explosion and gun noises. I realize that feeling is some of joy gamers have when playing those types of games. War games and games that feature domination over a map isn’t a game I enjoy playing…yet.
I’m happy to review Barnyard Legions, a satisfying tactical combat game without the large board, miniatures and 4 hour minimum play time. The objective in Barnyard Legions is to be the first player to create a consecutive five-unit formation (vertically, horizontally or diagonally) on the shared 6×6 board. It is essentially a beefed up version of tic-tac-toe which gives players a digestible objective. I found that where and when to move, blocking opponents or holding specific spots on the board were more intuitive because of my basic understanding of playing tic-tac-toe, Connect Four and the like.
Pick Your Legion
The base game features four pun-filled legions of separate barnyard animals. Each separate legion deck contains 35 cards and features characters, heroes, and tactics cards which assist the legion in battle. There is an equal distribution of all the card types in each deck but there are also sub categories which may be targeted by a friendly or opponent’s ability.
Players have the choice between the legions of:
Porklite Phalanx or Republic of Ram
These Greek/Spartan Pigs and Roman Rams or Ramans, as we like to call them, have different visually cues that call back to their respective culture. The Rams’ legion symbol is the vertical Roman shield and instead of lightning bolts or eagle wings, there are simplified tufts of wool. The Porklites feature a log of large pigs with the form-fitting Greek armor and instead of sculpted abs features a sculpted beer belly.
Celtucky Chicken or Bovikings
The Celtucky Chickens feature lith, ranged-damage poulty and every Braveheart joke you can think of and then some, while the Bovikings rely on their beefy, rune-wearing and horned helmets units for protection. Barnyard Legions also features a Common Deck filled with mercenaries and 15 cards from each participating legion. Drawing from the Common deck can yield other faction cards, but thankfully there are units and actions which allow players to discard cards from their hand.
These four decks have different kinds of units that have different abilities which break the rule limitations of movement, attacking and resolution; however from the first couple games we have played I haven’t seen a legion that specializes in any action. All the decks have an equal feeling of attacking power, special movement abilities and using additional cards.
All the art is humorous, flat, colored images that you would find in the Sunday comics and the humorous features of the anthropomorphic animals, like all the buggy eyes, remind me of the Munchkin cartooning by John Kovalic’s. As far as a first past for the prototype, Barnyard Legion gets across its , but I feel post-Kickstarter the humor can be pushed further. Some cards like Woad Warrior and Julius Sheepsar really show character and exaggerated poses. I feel that same level of humor and exaggeration needs to be in all the cards with either more dynamic poses or more references to the ancient leaders and culture they are parodying.
Easy to Learn, Tactics
As far as the level of tactics, Barnyard Legions is fits in my comfort zone. Flipping over cards, moving, playing cards, activating abilities, attacking and drawing cards are your basic actions on the turn. Enemy units are immediately removed from the game after being targeted by a successful attack. There is no tracking damage or status effects like in larger games. This quick elimination changes the board state quickly and forces players to change up their strategy.
A Perfect Gateway to Tactical Games
Barnyard Wars is a tactical game full of strategy that is easier to understand for new gamers. This card game easily fits four players without feeling cramped for space or time. I feel this game works as a perfect starting point for gamers like me who tend to shy away from large tactical games. Barnyard Legions has a clear objective and features enough variety in how to achieve victory without burdening a player with options.
Barnyard Wars is currently on Kickstarter but their campaign will end real soon. Please share the campaign with your friends and fellow gamers.