Ivion

A review by Jesse James Durney

Players

2 - 4

Ages

13+

Time

15 - 30 minutes

This fast paced, and exhilarating deck builder takes place in the lands of the Skellic isles. Where the once was peace among the Skelanders who inhabited the isles, battles over limited resources. Now the tensions that the bitter cold set upon the hearts of those who have braved the harsh cursed Winter which has befallen the land, and the locals wage war among themselves. Do you have what it takes to survive, or will you end up being plunged into the Wintersea, the fabled frigid prison which will be the hallmark of your afterlife?

Ivion is a dueling card game that takes place on a 4×4 tiled battle arena. It has a number of excellent deck building qualities. You have the option to play it on a one vs one battle arena, or through a few alternate play style rules you can expand it to a (4) player game with varying increases in game length and paths to victory. Each player gets to choose between (6) classes: psionic powered Manifest, afterlife dealing Witches, formerly enslaved Giants, commanders of ice and snow Cryomancers, wardens of the land Druids and the battle tested Warriors.

In addition to the (6) classes, each player will choose from among (12) specializations to further enhance their abilities in combat. You have choice of: the unstable Incarnate, the wise Avatars, hellwrought magic wielding Ebon Mage, the stealthy mercenary Curseblades, the massive Ancients, claymore swinging Jarl, the exiled Winterborn, the peacemaking Watchers, the forest defending Wilders, the savage Huntsmen, the guardian Stewards and the hardy Survivalists.

I really enjoyed the variety in play styles between each of the class and specialization choices, and the card art itself is very high quality and detailed. There are (3) status conditions which you may find affecting you throughout the game session. The (3) conditions are: Slow, Silence and Disarm. The effects are important as they affect your ability to move, play, or resolve specific cards. I won’t get into too much rule explaining or technical information here. However; there are a number of different special cards such as Counters, Instants, Feats, Ultimates.

The variant game rules allow a vast amount of replayability.  The core rules are a one vs one dueling mode. However; you can play the (3) variant rules they include or even make of your own. The (3) included game modes are: Arena, Paragon and League. Arena increases the game time to an hour give or take, and involves splitting off into two teams of two. Paragon has you selecting three specializations and two classes, in stead of the usual one class and two specializations. In addition to that you’ll also include each of your chosen specializations Ultimate cards as your three feat cards. Lastly there is the League alternate mode. This is an elimination mode where you’ll each build out two characters, and battle it out over the course of (2) to (3) games which make up a set. To be the winner you’ll need to win a game with each of your chosen characters.

Claws:

  • With the amount of variety in classes and specializations, and the varying alternate rules you can invest a lot of time in Ivion before you ever get bored or complacent.
  • High quality art, great organization in the box for all of the cards, and components
  • The deck building is a ton of fun, and I love how the 4×4 tiled play area adds a lot of strategic choices because of dangerous terrain that can come into play, movement and range limitations, etc.

Flaws:

  • One of the claws could also be considered a flaw, due to the sheer number of specializations, and class choices you could get overwhelmed at first in trying to decide on which direction to take your build. 
  • Although you’re not beholden to random dice rolls, you do have to deal with the randomness of card draws, which is to be expected from a card game. It does suck though when you get a bad shuffle and are not getting the cards you need for a number of turns.
  • Some of the standee art is harder to “read” than others from a distance.

 If you’re a magic player, a deck builder fan, a gamer who enjoys a variety of tactics and strategy then it would be amiss to miss Ivion!