Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

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Saturday, 10 February 2018

The Game Shelf Previews:- Warriors of Jogu: Feint

Game: Warriors of Jogu: Feint

Publisher: Monsoon Publishing

Designer: Tony Chen

Year: 2018


Conflict has broken out in the land of Jogu and now the five factions are fighting for access to energy. Each faction must apply their different strengths in both war and deception to come out on top. However, each faction also has a weakness so cunning tactics are required to see who will emerge victorious in each two faction battle.

Warriors of Jogu is a two player card game, that is currently live on Kickstarter. Each player takes a faction, using them to battle over two locations on the board each turn. The game requires some bluffing to try and disguise your known battle location, as well as identification of the strong combos in each faction. You also need to be a good judge of when to go into battle hard and when to hold back, because if you run out of characters to send in to battle you are likely to be overwhelmed.


Gameplay

Warriors of Jogu is a two player game that takes place over a series of 7 rounds. In each round you will be fighting your opponent across different battlefields. There are five battlefields, each with a number from 2-6 this number acts as a multiplier for your forces present in that area. to work out who wins a round, you multiply your units strength by the areas number and then add all the areas together, the player with the highest total wins the round. However not all battlefields are of equal importance, each round only 2 battlefields will be scored, with each player knowing only one of the two, if you can trick your opponent into deploying their troops to the wrong location then even a small force can win the battle.

Once a round begins, players will take turns playing a single card from their hand, this continues until both players run out of cards or decide to pass. Almost every card has some kind of special ability or restriction applied to it, with each of the game's factions having unique units and play-styles. Besides abilities, each card has a strength, each location can only contain 10 strength, so if you can get to 6 before your opponent then you are (almost) sure to win that fight. At the end of the round you reveal which locations were the active battlefields and score those locations, the winner gets to mark down their victory on the turn tracker, while the loser must lose morale equal to the sum morale of all the cards they played that turn. Once you win enough rounds, or force your opponent's morale down to zero, then you win the game.

Amy’s Final Thoughts

Warriors of Jogu has a simple premise, take the deck of your faction and use them to fight off the faction your opponent picks. There is a strong element of bluffing due to the way certain areas multiply your forces strength, if your let your opponent win on the 5 or the 6 then you are almost sure to lose. But your opponent knows that too, so if you pretend to be there then maybe they will deploy forces then when you are actually fighting on 2! The bluffing aspect of the game works well and would be a good start to a promising game if not for the factions.

The factions in Warriors of Jogu are a disappointment, not because they aren't unique and interesting, but because they aren't balanced. Some factions have to obviously commit to areas, even to the extent that they are still there in future rounds, while others can redeploy their entire forces at a whim. There is a feeling of rock paper scissors, some factions are very good at taking on others, but this doesn't work in a two player game. If I have lost the game simply by army choice, then what is the point in playing the rest of it?

The biggest issue with Warriors of Jogu is the factions, each one may be unique, but they only have ~5 unique cards per deck, so when you have a hand of 7, it's likely you'll have seen everything both you and your opponent can do by the end of the first round. It's also worth noting that most of the "powers" on cards are actually restrictions, you can't place this card unless it's in a certain location, or you have another card out etc. It never feels good to have your special power be a weakness! Unlike Smash Up, a fundamentally similar game, your faction deck doesn't have any new or interesting combos each time you play, so you will soon grow bored.



Fi’s Final Thoughts

We play a lot of two-player games and the market is becoming more and more crowded, but there are many good examples we have in our collection. Warriors of Jogu is not the style of game we typically gravitate towards because it is directly confrontational, generally resulting in me getting upset. However, there's always exceptions to the rule and in the last few months we've enjoyed Legend of the Five Rings which has this confrontational element.

The interesting part of Warriors of Jogu is when you first receive your deck and start to identify the available combos. Each deck really only has one or two combos that you need to figure out how to best play to your advantage, or more likely, play to your least disadvantage. Many of the factions feel to me like they're giving me lots of limitations rather than lots of cool special abilities with which to limit my opponent, which is inherently less fun for me. I've had games where my faction cards mean that I really can only play two or three cards in a round, so I can't take part in the bluffing because I would be spreading my forces too thin.


We've played with each faction at least once and have had one evenly matched game in that time. In other games one faction just seemed predisposed to maximise on the weakness in the opponent's deck. There's not a lot of new things to do as the game progresses, because you'll be familiar with every type of card in your deck and your opponent's within the first two turns.

Warriors of Jogu pulls together some interesting elements with bluffing, push your luck and card combos, but I just don't feel like it pulls it off very successfully.

The Good
  • With the right two factions, Warriors of Jogu provides a good mix of bluffing and push you luck mechanics.
  • Warriors of Jogu has card art full of character, creating unique and thematic factions.

The Bad
  • Most of the factions make you feel like you can’t do things rather than giving you opportunities to do something cool.
  • The combos in your deck are limited and there are not huge amounts to discover in the base box.
The Verdict
4/10 Warriors of Jogu felt too restrictive. With many factions it felt like there were some combinations of cards that just couldn’t be beaten with any amount of bluffing or skill.

Warriors of Jogu: Feint was a review copy provided to the Board Game Exposure reviewer collective.

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