It's not hard to phone in a board game when you have a licensed property at your disposal, especially one as popular as the current cult hit cartoon Adventure Time. You don't have to look too hard in your local game store to notice just how many copies of Monopoly have been given a facelift to make it based on just about anything, including Adventure Time. Luckily instead of going for another face lift, or rehash on a classic game company Cryptozoic has pulled out all the stops with their new release Card Wars.
Fans of Adventure Time will recognize the game from an episode so perfectly title Card Wars in which the main characters Finn and Jake compete against each other in a not so friendly game. The real kicker here is that even though Card Wars comes as an Adventure Time tie in, the game itself has been printed as to match the in universe card game that Finn and Jake played. This is a great little moment for fans as they get to recreate moments from the episode like "flooping the pig" and getting the play weird cards such as the "Wandering Bald Man".
Tie in situation aside the real important part of Card Wars is if it's fun, and that can only be answered with a very loud yes. Deceptively simple Card Wars gives players four "landscape" cards based on the cards played by the characters on the show, these are Cornfields, Blue Plains, Sandylands, and Useless Swamps. Once laid out in a row of four opposite the other players landscapes, these act as a kind of resource letting the player know what types of cards they can play using the two "action points" they gain a turn. Cards have a cost of zero one and two, and after using up those action points players place them onto their landscape to do battle with whatever they are placed across from, either an opponent's creature, or damaging the player directly. From here players can change up the interaction with their spell or location cards that either help their own creatures or hinder their opponents. From here it all comes down to who can deal 25 damage to their opponent first and get to declare themselves the "Cool Guy".
Like I said, deceptively simple, at its base Card Wars is just about putting a card in a lane, and letting it just deal its damage until it is destroyed, luckily Cryptozoic has created strong themes between the game decks, such as with the cornfield creatures gaining bonuses for being around one another, or the Blue Plains interactions whenever a card changes its lane.
To call Card Wars first release a success is a little understated, they've crafted a fun, quick game that is accessible to young and old, as well as fans and new introductions to the Adventure Time property. Add in that the game has quickly become very difficult to purchase with early copies selling out of stores very quickly, and it seems Cryptozoic is sitting on one of their first real hit games, and I think Adventure Times main character Finn would happily describe the game as mathmatical!