Tuesday, February 2, 2010



One of the standard games types is of course those played with cards. Those games get split into two distinct types in my mind, those using the standard 52-card deck we see in games such as the classic cribbage, and those which work with cards designed specifically for the game, Magic the Gathering being a prime example.
Soul Hunters fits into the second category.
As a card game, one of the key elements is of course the cards. Often gamers are first attracted by the artwork on the cards, which is unusual given that the old standard card deck is ultra boring in terms of art. Again referring back to the classic MtG, expansion sets are often measured in players’ minds as much for the art as the card play.
With Soul Hunters you sort of expect some rather dark art, and you get the feeling that is what they were going for with cards such as Touch of Death and Pestilence, Death and Devil’s Minion. However, they really come up short in terms of creating visually striking cards. They use basically black line art that lacks definition, and when applied over the dark red cards, and the green cards, it really gets lost. The game could be more appealing with better art.
Designed by Ville Hankipohja and published by Tuonela Productions Ltd., Soul Hunters is a pretty straight forward game for two to four players.
From the rule set we get a taste of the game’s theme. “Souls are the most valuable commodity in the universe and by ancient laws the one who possesses the most souls, is declared the ruler of all.
“Your task is to use powerful characters to lure souls on your side. Choose your alignment, play your cards right and you just may become the sovereign ruler of the universe.”
So the game is one where you are trying to capture souls. That is accomplished by either being very good or very bad.
Players take on one of the title characters, a soul hunter, which represent one of six different alignments or factions. By focusing on a single alignment, players receive a bonus on their influence, which is then used to lure souls.
You can collect negative or positive influence, the good or the bad, depending on which characters you use.
A turn consists of acquiring one card and then playing one. There is some potential to form a strategy as you play cards, but ultimately the game is pretty random. Now that is not necessarily bad, since if you like card games you are OK with the draw of the cards often swaying fate in a game.
The game rules are pretty straight forward, which is a positive.The game box suggests an hour to play, which is a bit long for a card game that is not particularly deep in tactics.

-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper Jan 6, 2010 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

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