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Publisher: Atlas Games
Designer: Brendan Stern
Artist: Diego L. Rodriguez
Game Type: Dice Rolling
Initial Year of Release: 2019
Age Range: 14+
Expected Playtime: 20-40 minutes
Number of Players: 2-4
Theme and What is it?
Once, Etherium was plentiful and the land was peaceful. Now, its presence in the world has dwindled, and elite spellcasters battle to control the last location where this primal resource can be harnessed — the Godsforge.
Godsforge features simultaneous play, with each player attacking the player to their left and defending against the player on their right. On a turn, everyone simultaneously rolls four dice, then each player lays one of their four cards face down in front of them.
In any order, players reveal those cards, paying the cost of them via specific numbers on rolled dice, the sum of rolled dice, Veilstones, or a combination of the above. On the dice, a “1” is wild and can be any number you wish, while an unused “6” can be spent to acquire a Veilstone.
Spell cards provide one-shot effects, while Creation cards go into play in front of you, with some of them providing one-shot “enter play” abilities in addition to possible Attack & Defense values and Sacrifice abilities. Once all cards have been resolved, players assess damage by comparing their Attack value against their target’s Defense. Discard any cards you don’t want, then refill your hand to four and begin the
Once a player is eliminated, everyone still in the game starts taking damage from the eliminated player each round in order to hasten the endgame.
Godsforge is a dice-rolling, simultaneous action selection, card-crafting, battle game for 2-4 players. It plays in 20-40 minutes. Recommended age is 14+ per the box.
Godforge’s mechanics include the following: dice rolling, action selection, and player battling.
The game is played in rounds, with each player taking a turn during the round, until a winner is determined. Each round consists of the following steps:
- Upkeep: Discard up to two cards and re-draw up to hand limit (which is typically four cards) and activate any “On Upkeep…” effects.
- Forge Roll: Players roll all their dice and manipulate the results via:
- Re-rolling (re-roll a die, twice (one die twice, or two dice once each))
- Veilstones (+1 or -1 to a die roll)
- Adding the values of dice together (5 + 6 = 11, and allows crafting of cards costing 9+, 10+, or 11+).
Players may only use each die once. Typically, players may only craft one card per round. Players may play additional cards from their hands if the first one they put down allows it, and they have enough leftover elements to craft the second card. If a player cannot craft a card (or choose not to), the player collects 4 Veilstones from the supply on the board.
- Reveal: Reveal the card(s) you’ve crafted and activate any “On Reveal…” effects.
- Attack: Each player attacks the player to their left and defends against the player to their right. To attack, the attacker adds the Attack values of their cards and announces the total. The target, the player on the attacker’s left, subtracts the amount of Damage they can prevent from that total. The result of this calculation reduces their Life total, and they move their scoring token accordingly.
Crafting can cause a little bit of AP (analysis paralysis), otherwise turns move quickly and largely simultaneously. Player interaction is high.
Godforge contains player elimination, but the game ends quickly once one player has been eliminated so the eliminated player’s downtime is usually just a turn or two. I usually don’t like player elimination, but it does not bother me at all in this game.
The last surviving player is the winner.
The art on the box is attractive. The game has a nice table presence with the round board and the glittering golden Veilstones. The card art is stylistically consistent and nice looking. Icons on the cards are clear, distinct, and readable. Text size is good even for those of us with older eyes.
The manual appears to be free of typographical errors and is thorough, with well thought-out examples of how the mechanics work. There is plenty of nice art in the manual as well.
Game Build Quality
The central board is well-constructed out of sturdy cardboard.
The golden Veilstones look very nice.
Dice are etched but are nothing special. An upgrade to the dice would be a special symbol for the “wild” 1 to make it distinct, and maybe a special symbol for the 6 as well.
The cards are a good stock and have a smooth finish that makes them stick together ever-so-slightly when shuffling.
Everything fits into the insert, even if cards are sleeved. Once closed, the box holds everything securely in place. Some card jostling was the only issue I encountered during my simulation of a cat knocking the closed game box off the table and onto the floor. Resting the bag with the Veilstones on top of the cards solved this issue (though there might not be enough room with sleeved cards).
I like the art in Godsforge. It is what caught my eye walking through Origins 2019. The art is consistently high quality and interesting. The two types of cards – Creations and Spells – are distinct complimentary art styles.
However, this brings up a central concern about the game. What we’ve got is a light-to-medium weight game with art, manual, and presentation of a much heavier game.
So my question is this: Who is Godsforge intended for? I think it might be too light for serious gamers attracted by the ‘heavier’ art & manual, and the art and manual may put off lighter gamers when there is actually a light and enjoyable game here.
Godsforge involves creative manipulation of your dice to get the result you need. This can be slightly brain-burning but is an enjoyable exercise. Turns move quickly and there is high player interaction.
Gameplay is interesting – how am I going to manipulate the dice to craft this card? I was engaged the entire time we played.
Age Range & Weight
14+ per publisher, but 10+ per BGG (we don’t have kids so I can only guess).
Godsforge is not a difficult game to learn, especially when the mechanics of the game are extracted from the thematic manual. After a round or two, everyone will grasp the mechanics of the game.
Godsforge is a game whose target audience is difficult to place.
Is it for light gamers? If so, the heavy art and manual makes things sound much more difficult than they are. Is it for heavy gamers, who might be attracted by the heavier art? If so, the gameplay is too light.
It appears that the game is trying to hide its light-game roots by layering on artwork that would be more appropriate in a heavier game, and the manual insists on referring to dice values by their in-game names (“2” is Fire, “4” is Water, etc.). I appreciate the attention to making it thematic, but halfway through our first game, we said, “Oh! We only need to worry about the numbers, not the ‘element’” and it made it easier (though, admittedly, slightly less thematic) to grasp.
As long as you understand that this is a fairly light game (2.00 on BGG’s complexity scale), it is enjoyable and fun.
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