Game Buzz: Blue Moon Legends

In 2004, KOSMOS and Reiner Knizia teamed up to produce a very unusual game for both of them – Blue Moon.  This game was set in a fantasy world and was often compared to Magic: The Gathering.  The game has been out of print for a while, but now Fantasy Flight is bringing it back with

image by BGG user W Eric Martin
image by BGG user W Eric Martin

Blue Moon Legends is a two-player game that takes 30 minutes to play.  The original game came with two factions in the base set, and seven expansion factions could be acquired to provide variety.  Legends collects all of those cards in a single box.

The basic idea of the game is that Blue Moon City is in chaos with the death of the king, the fall of the Golden Dragon, the disappearance of Blue Moon (the creator of all things), and the shattering of the Holy Crystal of Psi.  Now two heirs to the throne, Prince Roland and Princess Elinor, are competing for the crown, and this is where you come in.

image by BGG user Luthasun
image by BGG user Luthasun

Blue Moon Legends comes with a game board,  3 plastic dragons, 9 plastic crystals, 196 people cards, 10 mutant cards, 7 interfeence cards, 8 Tutu cards, 8 Hyla cards, 4 Inquistor cards, 4 Emissary cards, 3 achievement cards, 4 spirit cards, and an element card.  At the start of the game, players will choose a people deck.  There are nine factions – the Vulca (fire people), Hoax (scholars), Mimix (wild people), Flit (fliers), Khind (troublemakers), Terrah (farmers), Pillar (traders), Aqua (water people), and Buka (pirates).  It is recommended that you start with Vulca and Hoax.  Each deck has 31 cards, including a few cards from other peoples.  Each player draws a starting hand of six cards from their shuffled deck.

On your turn, you have eight phases: beginning, leadership, engagement, character, booster/support, power, refresh, and end.

BEGINNING: For this phase, simply do any effects on your card that say to do it in the beginning phase.

LEADERSHIP: You can play one leadership card from your hand onto your leader card, resolving the special effects listed.

ENGAGEMENT: In this phase, if you aren’t in a fight, you can choose to start one or decline to fight.  If you start a fight, skip to the character phase.  If you decline to fight, discard 1-3 cards and draw back up to six.  Your turn is now over, and it is your opponent’s turn.

If you are already in a fight, you can either continue or retreat.  If you continue, move to the character phase.  If you retreat because you can not meet your opponent’s power value, the non-retreating player attracts a dragon – either moving it off the board to his side, or moving it away from his opponent.  Players then discard all cards from their combat area, draw back up to six, and the turn is over.  The retreating player starts the new turn.

CHARACTER: You must play one character card in his combat area.

BOOSTER/SUPPORT: Play a booster card or a support card onto your character.

POWER: Announce how much power you have in the contested element (fire or earth).  In the first turn of a fight, you announce which element that is.

REFRESH: Draw up to six cards.

END: Resolve any end phase effects.

The game ends in one of three ways: either a player has all three dragons on his side and would attract a fourth; OR after a fight where a player has no more cards in his hand and draw deck; OR a player declines a fight with no cards in hand or his draw deck.  The player with the most dragons wins.  If all dragons are still on the board, the player who had cards in his hand last wins.

As with any game of this type, I’d have to see the cards to really get a feel for how this game works.  It’s definitely an atypical Knizia game.  It really doesn’t work anything like Magic from what I can tell, but the different factions and structure of decks really give it a CCG feel.  In thinking about it, I think the Knizia effect is most evident in the manner of fighting – you’re adding up power, and then waiting for your opponent to try to match it.  Knizia = math.

Whatever I personally feel about Knizia’s games, there’s no doubt that this is something different.  It has a pretty rich theme, and has its fans even ten years later.  So it’s one I do want to check out sometime.  Thanks for reading!

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