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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Sunday 26 May 2019

The Game Shelf Reviews:- 1066, Tears to Many Mothers

Game: 1066, Tears to Many Mothers

Publisher: Hall or Nothing Productions

Designer:  Tristan Hall

Year: 2018

On face value, 1066, Tears to Many Mothers is not a game that would appeal to us. It's fair to say that we never touch historical games or war games and that directly confrontational 2-player games can be a big problem for Fi in particular. However, the reason it caught our attention was a passing comment by a friend that compared the game to Warhammer Age of Sigmar Champions. Regular readers will know that Warhammer Age of Sigmar Champions is another exception to the rule in that it's a two player trading card game that easily became one of our top games of 2018. The similarity here is that both are head-to-head card games with a spatial board element that really works for us.

Whilst the Battle of Hastings as a theme does nothing for us, the artwork is pretty phenomenal and a number of Golden Geek award nominations certainly help to raise the profile of this game from an independent UK publisher that started out life as a print and play.

If you're interested in 1066, Tears to Many Mothers then you can check it out at the UK Games Expo from 31st May - 2nd June 2019.


1066 Tears to Many Mothers has 4 distinct phases in each round. At first you have the draw phase where you will draw new cards (typically 2, but variants allow fro drawing up to 4 then discarding down to 2 once you are familiar with the game). Next is the main phase, during this you take turns doing 1 action until you both pass. One such action is to play a card from your hand, spending resources either by tapping cards in play that generate them or discarding cards from your hand. Most cards are units of some kind and come into play on the 3x3 grid that makes up your battle line. Other cards are action cards that have one-shot abilities before being discarded, or tactics which can be used round to round but are not played into your main battle area. A second thing you can do for an action is to activate a card that has an action on it. These actions vary from dealing damage to the other player's units (all of which have health values) to moving your units around the battlefield. The final thing you can do is pass, the first player to pass becomes first player next round, but the other player is free to perform as many additional actions as they like.

The purpose of playing all these cards for the first half of the game is to perform in phase 4, the objective round. Each player has a stack of objectives of which one can be completed each round at most. Most objectives will require a certain amount of power or zeal between all your combined forces to deal damage to them, and have enough health to usually survive a round or two depending on how your army is looking at the time. It's perfectly possible to partially damage an objective only to finish it the next round. Once one player has gotten to the final objective, the Battle of Hastings, phase 3 is unlocked for future rounds

The Battle of Hastings consists of a fight over 3 wedges of troops on the battlefield representing the 2 army's main forces., each fought over by up to the maximum of 3 troops deployed in that row for each side. If only 1 player has reached the battle then each wedge will only undergo a zeal battle, the player with the most Zeal getting to place damage onto that wedge (though even if you have the most zeal you cannot deal any damage until you have reached the battle). Once both players have arrived then each round there will be both a might and a zeal battle, both functioning identically with the player with more of that stat in the column getting to put out damage. The 3 wedge each have 10 health and as soon as one player has dealt that 10 damage to it they can claim the card for their own. The game ends in victory when one player claims 2/3 wedges or you manage to slay the opposing leader by reducing it's health to zero.

Amy’s Final Thoughts

It is clear that 1066 has had a lot of love and attention to detail poured into it. From all the historical characters on each side, to the artwork which varies from very good to outright photo-realistic. And, of course, the gameplay which is different from most other card games by including spatial importance and the race through the objective pile before you can even reach the main battlefield! While there are some new concepts, the basic gameplay will feel very familiar, most of the game you will be taking alternating turns playing cards which then can be tapped as a later action to perform special abilities or perhaps perform their abilities as soon they come into play.

The two sides each have their own nuances and I certainly believe you could spend a lot of time getting to know how each side plays. Unfortunately, even if you learn the whole deck it seems in the average game you only see ~1/3rd, perhaps 2/3rds if you using the drafting variant, so you can't guarantee getting useful cards at the right time. Particularly the resource generating cards, these tend to be rather squishy to assist your opponent with sniping them off, but getting a few of them into play will make your life a lot easier as you are no-longer throwing away your very limited card draws in order to play cards. In fact with some cards having costs as high as 5, it could take 3 whole turns of doing almost nothing to play 1 card at times which doesn't always feel the most rewarding system.

Personally I felt the game was infinitely helped by the 'drafting' variant where you drew 4 cards and kept 2 each turn. Having the extra freedom of choice to (hopefully) get cards you could afford to play, or even fish for units with Zeal (the rarer of the two combat stats) was important. Just as the sides are asymmetrical with different units each force can use, so are the objective decks, with one side needing might early and the other needing zeal, and it's perfectly possible, especially in the early game, to be very starved of Zeal cards.

Ultimately 1066, Tears to Many Mothers is an excellent 2-player competitive card game with many clever mechanics behind the scenes. It is somewhat let down by the luck factor, with drawing the right card at the right time being almost essential to doing well. But not so much that skill won't help you counteract the luck element.

Fi’s Final Thoughts

1066 gives me everything that I love about tactical card games. I really love the combos that you can create, the clever turns that you can set-up by predicting your opponent and stringing together a sequence of card plays and actions and the spatial aspect of the game. Many of the mechanisms will be familiar to seasoned gamers, such as tapping cards for actions and resources and cards having multiple uses as resources or as cards to add to your tableau. What's new and interesting to me is the way that the game guides you to different paths through a series of asymmetrical objectives and finally results in an end of game showdown at the Battle of Hastings where it really matters that you've built a strong force in the right areas to overturn your opponent. It's part race and part one-one-one combat that really works well.

The biggest drawback for me with is the system of resources. A player who finds all of their cards with the green resource symbol early in the game will easily forge ahead if their opponent cannot find enough one-shot or action damage cards to pick off those units. It's all down to luck of the draw in that regard, and whilst the system of drawing three or four cards and discarding down to two each turn should help, there's still a chance it won't. It's even more miserable to feel like you should've had choices and been able to play better, when they just weren't there for you.

I guess that 1066, Tears to Many Mothers is a game I love to win but hate to lose. While I can admit that some of that is due to my nature as a player, there does seem to be a pretty punishing cycle you can get into if things are going badly. The need to 'buy' your cards with resources can become a grind if you don't draw resource cards and if you have to sit turns out to build up a hand of cards to pay for something high cost. When things are going well or when the deck shuffle causes a close game, that mechanics of the game are super satisfying to me, but the risk of a one-sided game has kind of turned me off it.

If you're less of a sore loser, then I highly recommend checking out 1066, Tears to Many Mothers. It's one of the more interesting 2-player card games mechanically and it's full of theme and artwork that really sets it apart.

You Might Like...
  • 1066, Tears to Many Mothers delivers a collectable card game feel in a standalone box with no deck creation.
  • The spatial aspect of playing and moving your cards to make strong attacks is a great aspect of the game.
You Might Not Like...
  • There is certainly some luck of the draw aspect that can really hurt if you draw no resources and lots of high cost cards.
  • Losing in the game was not a fun experience for that player.

The Verdict
7/10 1066, Tears to Many Mothers delivers a lot as a 2-player card game. It's got a lot more going on than your typical head-to-head tactical game, with the race to the finish, the spatial card play and a rich and interesting theme. It's definitely one to check out, whether you're into mechanics or theme, if you often get two-players to the table.

1066, Tears to Many Mothers was a review copy kindly provided to us by Hall or Nothing Productions.

1 comment:

  1. Worth mentioning that, while getting a lot of resources & forging ahead gets you to Hastings quicker, this is not necessarily a good thing.
    I'd rather face someone with a bunch of Resources than one with a bunch of Archers.
    To mitigate luck of the draw, just buy a few Core sets & build your own decks :-D (For the uninitated, this is a joke & it's a standalone product....until the next game in the series)