Before I begin, I was sent a copy of this game in order to create this review. I have received no money for it. If you would like to watch my video review you can check it out below. Get your own copy here.
Skirmish games are the style of game that I find myself most interested in getting into. It goes back to my years loving Warhammer Fantasy Battles (RIP), and literally every single time I see one show up on crowdfunding I dive into it and I check it out, then invariably remember that I am horrible at skirmish games, and I personally do not have many people in my game group who want to play them. Yet, every now and then I get a chance to review a skirmish game and I leap at the chance. Thus it was that I wound up with a copy of Godtear and an additional bevy of warbands.
In Godtear each player takes control of 1-3 warbands, each consisting of a champion and 2-5 minions. Then you select a scenario, which will determine the scoring conditions as well as how the Godtears will spread across the board. Each side it battling for control of the aforementioned Godtears, which are the essence of the destroyed gods of the realm. The game will play out in 2 phases, over 3-5 rounds. In the plot phase each side will be able to move their entire force around the board, claim Godtears, and utilize various buffs and debuffs. In the clash phase players will alternate activating units and carry out movement and attacks against each other.
The game play centers around your warband dashboards. Each warband has a card for the champion, and for the minions, plus a once per game ability. The key is that the cards are not only completely unique from each other, but they are double sided. One side is used in the plot phase, then when you activate you are able to track their activation by flipping the card over, thus giving you the details for the unit during the clash phase.
It is pretty much impossible to go over “What can units do?” as each warband is completely unique other than their core stats of movement, agility, defense, and health. However, you will find that you will be chucking dice no matter what you are doing. Trying to attempt to put a debuff on your opponent during the plot phase? Chuck some dice and try to hit your opponent (match or beat the agility score of the opponent and you hit). Want to do some damage in the clash phase? Chuck some dice and hit, then roll your strength dice and subtract the defense number from the number of hits rolled and that is how much damage you deal.
All of that is pretty simple, but the winning the game will come down to the points. The first player to get to 5 points will win. Points are awarded at the end of each round. However, rounds are worth increasingly more points up to round three, then the value of rounds decreases again. The winner of the round is determined by the “battle ladder”. This is a series of spaces on the side of the board and you move them closer to, or further away from your side of the board. Steps on the ladder are awarded for defeating enemy minions, enemy champions, controlling Godtears, and by accomplishing your warband special bonus.
So what do I think?
The miniatures are awesome, such amazing detail. Wow.
In addition to this, the set up and tear down is very quick, as are learning the rules for each individual scenario. Along with the quick set up and tear down, the game plays very quickly, and the ruleset is about as tight as you could desire. Because of this, game play is lightning fast with a game featuring only a single warband on a side take less than half an hour, while a full 3 warband on 3 warband contest can be completed in an hour.
I find the differences between the two phases to be quite inspired, as you find you have to balance two different strategies for each phase within your warbands as you try to set up the best combos possible. This only increases in strategy as you start adding additional warbands onto your sideallowing for combos between warbands to form as well.
There is not a lot of crunch to this game. The rules are super clean, and all of the strategy comes from the interaction between warbands. Many players may find that without a relatively large variety of warbands that the game may start to feel a little samey. Considering this is a miniatures game, the price for additional warbands is quite good, but it is certainly something to keep in mind.
Space. Woof. This board takes up a lot of space the table, and should you be the completionist type you are rather rapidly going to run out of shelf space. Individually, the boxes are manageable, but it will certainly add up over time. Additionally, several of the scenarios do sometimes degenerate into the middle of the board scrum, which is just something to be aware of.
Bringing it all together
Godtear is an exceedingly tight, and light ruleset that gives a lightning fast skirmish experience. The lightness of the rules places all the variety on the way you combine and use your asymetric warbands, which can be satisfying, but does rely on having said warbands. This game is easy to learn, quick to play, and one that is certainly one to check out for the skirmish and/or miniature fan.
Reviews should be quicker than the gameplay
* Awesome miniatures
* Tight and quick ruleset
* Not much story here, just dice chucking and slaying
* Very clever gameplay with the 2 phases of play
* A lot of mileage to be had by mixing and matching warbands
* Takes up a lot of shelf space
* Though warbands are not expensive individually, it can add up over time