In the world of Thalara, the magic is dwindling away. Scattered across the land in temples, Watchmen uses powerful Artifacts to draw magic away from the land. Players are tasked to fight for the last artifacts to preserve the power before it is too late. Players endeavor to combine energy and spells to gain the most Artifacts and restore strength.
The first records of card games were noted during the Tang Dynasty, and since then, they have emerged to a multitude of themes and expressions. They embody wild creatures, witchery, and classics as Star Realms.
Thalara: The Last Artifact is a fresh, fast-paced, highly interactive, hand-building strategy card game with distinctive mechanics. The game features a unique hand-locking mechanic: Each round, more of your cards get “locked to your hand” to be used in each subsequent round. These cards, Victory Points, however, frequently contain lower strength. Thalara’s core is a hand-building game where you do not just select the cards you want; you must outmaneuver to gain them.
The game will be on Kickstarter this month, August 2020, and we received a prototype for an honest review.
Each player chooses a Character and corresponding Spells to be laid out in front of you. Then take a Remnant deck on twenty cards. This is your Energy deck to pull from. The Spell Overview card is given to the opponent to track your spells. The Artifact deck is shuffled and placed between the players.
There are two types of Energy cards: Remnant cards and Artifact cards. The Remnants are the player’s deck to draw their hand of seven. They have a distinct Color and Strength. The Artifact cards (the black-backed deck) have a Strength, Color and Star Emblems (Victory Points.) These are the cards players are striving to gain. Once you are victorious in securing the Artifact card, they stay in your hand. When a player holds seven of these cards, this triggers the end game, and Victory Point is calculated. The highest total of Victory Points is the hero of the realm and wins.
At the beginning of each round, refill Artifacts cards and refill player hand to seven.
During a turn, you can play energy cards and activate a spell. Pass and the remaining cards in you are put back to your supply.
At the end of a round, take won or used Artifacts cards and put back to your hand. Discard used Remnant cards.
The twist in Thalara is that you are not at the mercy of luck, you choose the cards that you take into battle. The character cards have vastly different spells and player styles, and if the table is affable, you can select the Character and Spells cards.
The battle for Artifacts is taken in turns, and with the assist of spells, you try to outwit the challenger. Spells can add strength to select color cards, can halt anymore more cards played in the conflict, destroy an Energy or ALL cards in the conflict, give strength in a conflict that you do not have cards played, force a player to play a card in the conflict or your choice and more. It plays like a precarious chess game having to plot turns ahead.
The advanced Characters, Inez ~ Druid of Xin and Melina ~Mistress of Shadows, are armed with Traps and bankable Crystal Energy. These transforms an already intricate strategy game to a battle of the Titans.
Mechanics That Worked for Us
The action blocking or modifying a conflict with spells was advantageous towards the end of a round.
I did not keep the color card requirement for spells in the latter rounds and found it caused such detriment. I then focused on conquering Artifacts that would aid in my spells and not be lasered focused on the higher Victory Point Artifacts.
Hand management by holding in reserve higher strength cards towards the end of a round.
Bits and Bobs
Character and Spell Cards
Spell Overview Cards
Four Sets of Remnant Cards
Two Sets of 15 Artifacts (for 2 -4 players)
Advanced Character and Spells Cards
The unusual twist of conquered cards mandated to your hand was an adept mechanic.
Some characters are easy to learn, and some take a few games. They are exceedingly thought out because, for their diverse abilities, they felt balanced and fair.
It is cleverly layered with impressive actions and mechanics on the cards.
The story and quotes of the Characters are delightful and added to the entertainment value.
Nerdz Garage plays Dungeons and Dragons weekly (three campaigns), and we do fancy a good spell and Thalara: The Last Artifacts is brimming with them!!!
Let’s be honest; there is still a bit of drama when we play.
Sit Down -Grab a Drink – Join the Game
Gameplay: 2–4 Players
Playing Time: 20–30 Min
Designer: Alexander Wrede
Artist: Martin Sobr