Core Connection: Rise of Atlantis
Publisher: Japanime Games
Players: 2-4 | Play Time: 60-90 Minutes | Ages 12+
Players start off with the same cards in their deck. Players can generate resources by placing cards face down. Using these resources to purchase cards, upgrade your mech, and play tactic cards. Buying new cards gives you access to new abilities. Upgrading your mech may change your melee, ranged, or durability stats. Unlike other deck builder's you don’t spend the resources you gain, you simply have to have enough to use the cards.
Players can then choose to face the enemy deck. The player chooses an attack stat in order to face the challenge. They draw the top card of the enemy deck reveals your challenge. Encounter events that come up which may affect you or your opponents. The enemy deck may reveal an enemy. Each enemy has a melee attack stat, ranged attack stat, and durability stat similar to the mechs. If a player has more attack value than the defense value of the enemy revealed. The enemy attacks back using the same stat that the player chose. If you deal more damage to the enemy creature than it’s durability you defeat the enemy and it goes into your play area for the enemy. If an enemy has an energy value then you move your energy tracker up by the value. If you fail to defeat the enemy it gets slid under the enemy deck to be encountered later.
If the enemy hits you with more damage than your mech has in durability then your mech becomes disabled. Depending on the type of mech you have will determine how to repair it at the start of your next turn.
During the final phase of a players turn they will discard resources and cards in hands. They will draw a new hand of 5 cards or more depending on the tactics or upgrades you have. If you have 4 or more energy you can upgrade your mysterious figure pilot into a named pilot. If you have 8 or more energy you can upgrade your mech into a named mech.
I check the state of my mech, repair as necessary. I have a hand of 5 cards. I put 3 cards face down to generate 3 resources. I can then buy one card worth 3 or less from the general supply and put it into my hand. I can then play one upgrade onto my mech that costs 3 or less. If the upgrade affects my melee, ranged or durability stat, I change the dice facing those stats to their new count. I can then play any tactics cards that cost 3 or less to play. The tactics cards could be to gain extra purchasing power, look at the enemy cards. That’s my main phase.
I then choose to face the enemy deck with a ranged attack. My ranged ability is 7, my durability is 9 because of my base mech and upgrades. I flip the first card of the enemy deck over. It is a vril ranger. It’s ranged ability is 1 and its durability is a 4. I defeat it and it doesn’t do enough damage to me to defeat me. The enemy goes into my energy pool. I increase my energy token by 2. I discard my energy cards and any cards I have left in my hand. I draw back up to my hand limit. I don’t have enough to upgrade my pilot or mech so it goes to the next players turn.
As far as we could tell there’s no way to actually lose the game. Which is kind of off balance to me. It’s a competitive race to the finish over a cooperative game. So I kind of get the appeal of no true defeat for players.
I really appreciated the player boards for tracking attack values, defense values, and energy count. The 3 colored D20 dice are a nice addition to it as well. It would have been nice to have a turn structure or a small area to tell how to repair your mech if it’s been defeated. We had to reference the book a few times to make sure we were doing things right.
The game doesn’t take up a lot of space on the table. We played with 2 players, I could see how 4 players might get tricky. The game limits the number of upgrades you can have on your mechs to 6. That helps to keep the table space down. Some of the enemies have abilities that trigger while in the players enemy storage space. Having those cards split up so you can see the ability is helpful.
The art style has a strong anime vibe to it. The mechs are similar to the gundam style mechs. The cards are all very thematic. Even the villain cards all have a similar feel to them.
It has one expansion that shows available for pre-order on Japanime’s site. It also has an organizational play mat that we have that gives a nice footprint to the game
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