Imagine you are a master of the martial arts. You’ve honed your mind and body into a living weapon. There are others like you waiting to test their skills to see who is the best. Can you battle your way to being the best around or will someone eventually keep you down?
In Dragon Blast: Battlestorm, a game by Nightstalker Games, you take on the role of a martial artist utilizing physical and special attacks to defeat your opponents for victory points. You maneuver your character around a fighting arena and, through the use of attack and defense cards, battle other players to gain three victory points before they do.
Each game starts with everyone either choosing their martial artist or randomly dealing them out to everyone. This card will contain various abilities such as being able to move farther in your turn or drawing extra card and such. Once everyone has their hero, seven cards are dealt to all the players and then each person plays a card out. The highest value on the card gets to place their token first on the board followed by everyone else in rotation. Each person is given a secret mission card which is essentially an alternative way to earn a victory point outside of just attacking others. Lastly, everyone gets 5 blue power tokens, 5 red damage tokens, and 3 yellow victory point tokens to track their status.
During your turn you will draw back up to seven cards and then resolve any effects currently on you such as reviving from being stunned. Once this is done, you can move up to four spaces on the map and if you’re within range attack other players. After your attack phase, you can discard a card from your hand and either take another battle card or pick up a vengeance card. Vengeance cards are like wild cards which can do all sorts of things ranging from negating the effect of a card to allowing you to go through the deck and pick a card you want.
Combat is simple: you can play physical/special attack cards on someone if they are within the range displayed on the card. Then the target can play defense cards of the same type played against you(physical/special) to either mitigate, nullify, and sometimes reflect back the damage. For every five points of damage you deal to an opponent, they gain a damage token and lose a power token. At the same time, you’ll gain a power token and lose a damage token.
Once a player gets 5 damage tokens, they are stunned. The downside is that you can’t do anything until it’s your turn again, the upside is that you get to gain a power, martial arts, or weapon card which will help give you a boost when you revive. You also cannot be attacked until you revive as well. If you cause your target to be stunned, you gain a victory point.
When a player gains five power tokens, their character becomes “Maximum Powered”. This means that they flip over their card and gain additional abilities which last until they drop below five power (you can’t have more than five power so being a Maximum Power means you’re a big target.)
The game ends when the first player gains three victory points.
Dragon Blast: Battlestorm made a very interesting decision on how best to market the game. The box design is a matte black with the logo in the middle. Opening the game up you find that the cards are made from a thicker stock but manage to also shuffle well. The player tokens and tracker tokens are basic and the games comes with one flip mat with two possible scenarios to play in.
The card artwork I’d say is average compared to other card games with the only negative aspect being that the font/color choices for the card titles sometimes make it hard to read them initially. The rules seem to spell things out pretty clearly with the only criticism I have is the way that they are printed out. Instead of instinctively turning the page from right to left, you have to flip it over top to bottom. While the overall look of the game feels average, it’s when you sit down to play the game that you begin to realize where most of the energy went in designing this game.
After playing about ten different games, I came to appreciate the deep strategy inherent to Dragon Blast. Do I risk throwing everything I have at an opponent and give away that I have very little defense cards? What does my opponent’s secret mission do? How do I use the terrain best to gain an advantage. Ten different games led to ten different strategies to employ. Everyone who played clearly felt the same way and was eager to try again.
It’s worth noting for added replay value that you can split up into teams or even visit the Nightstalker Games site and download additional battle scenarios. They’ve done a great job of giving you a lot of different options on how to play.
So Should I Pick This Up?
Dragon Blast: Battlestorm is like the wallflower at the dance. She’s shy and plainly dressed, but you get to know her and find out just how amazing she really is. The game comes in a price that won’t hurt your pocketbook and I’d highly recommend adding this to your collection.