Justin & Cody explore The Spoils

Justin: Hey, Cody, what have you got there?

Cody: Oh, hi, Justin. This is The Spoils.

Justin: Spoiled what? Eggs? Cheese? An overly indulged nephew?

Cody: No, no, Justin. The Spoils is a Trading Card Game from Arcane Tinmen. This is their New Player Pack: Basic Box of Awesomeness.

Justin: Basic Box of Awesomeness? The cards all better have pictures of that girl that sang the “Friday” song. She defined awesomeness and taught America how to sing way back in 2011.

Cody: Er... no. This Basic Box of Awesomeness contains everything you need to get started playing a game of The Spoils.

Justin: Okay, okay. So what is this game about? It looks like Magic: The Gathering.

Cody: It's similar, though there are a lot of differences. Players attack each other in the hopes of knocking their opponent's influence down to zero. There are five factions cards- the same cards- that essentially tell players what they can do on a turn and set their influence at 25. Players begin with a starting hand, then over the course of the game lay down more cards like characters, items, and tactics. They also can put down resources from their cards which can be used to activate the other cards. This Basic Box of Awesomeness comes with five different trades, or decks of cards that you can use to attack your opponent.

Justin: I'm intrigued. You may continue.

Cody: First of all there is the Arcanist trade. This trade employs the powers of the undead and bizarre monsters to achieve its goals. Next, the Rogue trade is all about deception and thievery, stealing other players cards and turning it back on them. The Bankers are pretty cool, and use greed as a weapon in order to get a lot of stuff, while trying to deprive their enemy of getting stuff for themselves.

Justin: Wait a second! Are those Bankers big cats? They literally look like big cats- and not the Sammy Davis Jr. kind of cat.

Cody: Yes, the Bankers are a race of cats, and I don't really like to play with them because of my allergies. Next, the Warlord trade is a society of total war that will attempt to blow the enemy out of the water by sheer force of arms..

Justin: Wait, there's water?

Cody: Figure of speech, Justin. Lastly, there's the Gearsmiths, fellows who like to build robots and toys and funky little surprises to attack their enemy. Each trade has characters that can be played to attack the enemy or protect your own influence. Items and Tactics can then be added to the character to make him even more deadly.

Justin: So, you go back and forth using your cards and resources to attack each other. Sounds fun. What do you think, Cody?

Cody: I've got to be honest, I'm not a huge fan of Trading Card Games like Magic, and I went into The Spoils with some reservations. There is a lot I like about The Spoils, however. First of all, the sci-fi, steampunk, horror, themes that permeate the game are all great. The artwork on each card will blow you away. Really first rate stuff. (I gotta be honest, even if I hated the game I'd be tempted to pick up this pack for the artwork alone- it really is that cool- and there is so much variety to the art). I should point out, however, that because of the artwork, this isn't a game for the kiddies. The various resource cards all feature half-naked women. Now, I don't mind that. In fact, I REALLY don't mind that. But certainly gamers with families might think twice about this game for that reason. There's also some pretty gory cards, including one gruesome but awesome warlord card called “Eye gouge.” I'll let you imagine what the card artwork is like.

Justin: Puppies?

Cody: Yes, Justin. Puppies.

Justin: But how does it played compared to Magic?

Cody: It's a lot less structured, and I found that very cool. Instead of phases, you can keep doing card actions provided you can pay for them with resources. This introduces a more free-form style of play that is really exciting and fun.

Justin: Cool.

Cody: One thing players should be aware of as well- this game is pretty fiddly. Many cards call for tokens to be placed on a card, or near a card, or for other purposes. Make sure when you play The Spoils you have some pennies or small pebbles or human teeth nearby. This can offer some cool aspects to the game, but a lot of the time it was kind of headache to keep track of everything- especially on that first play through when you're not expecting it. I really wish Arcane Tinmen had included some chips or cubes along with the Basic Box of Awesomeness. Also, players will need a piece of paper and a pencil to keep score. Again, it's not a big deal, but I wish the box came with some cool mechanic or system to keep score. Remember Star Realms?

Justin: Ooooh, Star Realms. I love the Authority cards that track health. Yeah, something like that would have been cool for The Spoils.

Cody: I should point, however, that I really do love the box. It's a wonderful little box to keep your cards in, with enough room for future card expansions. A handy Styrofoam cube takes up the excess space in the box.

Justin: Maybe you could use the Styrofoam cube for keeping score.

Cody: Justin, how would you use the Styrofoam cube to keep score?

Justin: ...so, what do you think of the game overall, Cody.

Cody: Like I said, Trading Card Games are not really my thing, and I don't really think The Spoils will make a convert out of me. That being said, I think that players who like Magic, but want to take their card games in a new and fun direction will really enjoy The Spoils. Players new to Trading Card Games should also take to it. It's not my cup of tea, but I can tell a good game when I play one, and The Spoils is a good game.

Justin: So, your recommendation is?

Cody: Like I said, Magic players will eat it up. But if you haven't yet played a Trading Card Game, I'd recommend that you try it before you buy it.

Justin: Hey, Cody, you're right. The artwork on these cards is really great and I... That's not puppies Cody!!! Why did you tell me the “Eye Gouge” card had puppies!!!