Review: Thunder & Lightning – Thor against Loki

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A moment of inattention was enough and suddenly the whole heavens are shaking. Asgard is upside down and everyone is on their feet up to the last guardian. Thor was summoned from his station on Earth and got a clear task. To trace Odin’s crown and punish whoever is to blame for this foolishness. Nobody wants to say it out loud, but I am sure, that in fact there could be no one else behind it, than the treacherous Loki.

And so with a sound of storm brought by Thor’s hammer comes board game . Its author is and is a reworking of the game, that once appeared in 2000 under name . And now in , we had a chance to play new version from , which is distributed by . Illustration of new version have been entrusted to Christ Quilliams.

Game attracts already with its lid showing not only divine hammer, but also a raven. And just as thunder, we get inside the box a little later. There are two neatly categorized decks of cards, each with a different colored back side (blue and red silhouette).In the middle between them, are then two small compartments with wooden blocks – again one for Thor and second for Loki. Most cards from the deck have a numerical value, that expresses their strength.

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At the beginning of each duel, each player must agree to side he will represent. Among them will be present a virtual game board. Both rivals take nine cards out of their shuffled deck of cards, while the rest creates a draw pile.

Each participant chooses three out of his nine cards to create their basic combat line. Behind it, another three lines can be laid one after another during a game, allowing players to build a small army. At any given time, each of these lines can contain a maximum of three cards. But now we must go back before this even happens.

During his turn, player always has several action points available. Their number is determined by amount of current columns played on the table. This number can take values ​​from one to three, which is also number of points, that can be divided among four activities. The simplest is to reveal top card from his own package and taking it into hand, thereby increasing choice for the next course of the match.

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After that, everything revolves only around playing cards. At this point, it is possible to take any card from hand and play it on the battlefield into rows or columns. This is done always with picture side down. Vertical lines have to always be made by without any space between cards. It is not only possible to attach card to the back row, but also to move current cards down and insert new one in front of those present, even in the first line. And more importantly, you can not start a new row until the previous one is full. There are also mythological cards, that offer special abilities and are immediately after that moved to discard pile.

With their existing units, players can try to challenge some other soldier to a duel. This can be done only within each column, showing where the cards are attacking. Until then, however, their value hidden. Values ​​of both competing cards are then revealed and higher value wins this small battle, while the defeated goes immediately on the discard pile of its owner. All other cards in the column are immediately moved forward to fill the empty space.

Loser of the match will be player, who loses his last card on the battlefield. And no matter how many cards remain in his hand or deck. Only current state of the battle counts towards this condition. The second option is also losing precious artifact, that was at the origin of the conflict and is represented by a card. Once a player loses his artifact, his opponent immediately becomes the winner, regardless of the state on the battlefield.

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Thunder & Lightning is smart and elegant card game for two players. But while at the time of its origin, it was revelatory and unique, now we have a series of rivals on the market, including games Lords of War or Summoner Wars. Card duelling is simply no longer rare. But the more were we wondering, if this new edition can compete with these new games.

And we can marvel, because a simple numerical representation and no involvement of dice makes it unique enough among its rivals. Game still retains emphasis on positional play as its competitors, but at the same time is even simpler. Until the moment, when we turn to the mythological forces. There are several in the offer and all somehow manipulate basic rules in your favor. Cards can thus create blockages, destroying them or manipulate with decks. There is plentiful of possibilities and these skills are what makes the game variable enough.

Nine cards in the hand at start provides sufficient option to ensure, that the player is not in any way limited by luck. Moreover, any action points can be distributed at his own discretion, so he can even further expand cards in his hand. All four actions are important, but only attack is the true path to success.

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Game is filled with conflict and player are forced to attack each other in quest for victory. Assault after assault alternate and players are trying to get superiority over their rival. They also have to fill up their ranks again and again and choose columns, where troops will fight in current round. There is also moment, when luck comes into play, excluding tactics. First fight with any card is always dony blindly, but if you fail, it becomes revealed and you will know, against what opponent you stand and can properly prepare. Cards can be played in any row, so the situation is changing with each round.

Game is controlled only by few basic rules, but that is enough. There are also little more complicated mythological cards, but explanatory text is directly on the cards and rules contain some clarifications. Everything is clear and game passes quickly as players take turns in playing new cards. Every fight is exciting with two same opponents always standing against each other. Whole game is question of about a half-hour battle, which is probably a bit more, than you expect by the description.

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Thunder & Lightning is a game with secret information on cards. Players attack each other in tactical manner, but must always reckon with a possible surprise. The game has beautiful illustrations, but there are not many things separating it from similar duel fighting games. And yet, even when there is a strong competitor in this, Thunder & Lightning can definitely get your attention and entertain in balanced two-player duel.

DesignerRichard Borg
ArtistChris Quilliams
PublisherFilosofia Éditions, Z-Man Games
Year Published2016
# of Players2 - 2
User Suggested # of Players Best with 2 players
Recommended with 2 players
(12 voters)
Playing Time40
Mfg Suggested Ages13 and up
User Suggested Ages10 and up
(4 voters)
Language DependenceModerate in-game text - needs crib sheet or paste ups
(2 voters)
CategoryBluffing, Card Game, Fantasy, Mythology
MechanicAction Points, Hand Management, Secret Unit Deployment
FamilyMythology: Norse, Players: Two Player Only Games, Theme: Vikings
Primary NameThunder & Lightning

Infos courtesy of boardgamegeek.com. More Infos.

Review: Thunder & Lightning – Thor against Loki
Final word
Thunder & Lightning is a light card game, in which two rivals meet face to face. Only one of the gods eventually will be standing, whether he wins in any way possible. Fighting is an integral part, as well as smart positional play. Everything revolves around secret cards, that are revealed only during combat. Success of such battle is influenced not only by tactic. Game is entered also by mythological cards. Game may seem long, but it is interesting and looks very nice. Thunder & Lightning is certainly not a pointless remake and is among the best games for two.
Reader Rating0 Votes
Pros
beautiful processing
balanced game for two
thrilling
sufficient influence on the development
interesting principle with rows and columns
mythological cards provide variability
Cons
luck in the form of a secret identity of opposing army
3.5
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