Custom Heroes

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Publisher: AEG

Designer: John D. Clair

Players: 2-6

Time: 45 min.

Custom Heroes is a card game where you are playing fighters to win hands of cards.  The goal each round is to discard your hand first by controlling what is played and when. You will earn money based on when you were able to get rid of your cards.  It is a different twist on the trick taking genre that plays pretty quickly.

The deck consists of one set of cards from value 1-10 for each player.  So, if three people are playing the game, there will be 3 one’s, 3 two’s, etc.

On a players turn they are going to play cards or pass.  The first player of the hand will set the tone for what others need to play.  The first player can play any number of cards from their hand and as many of those cards as he has.  The following players need to play the same number of cards but using a higher number.  So, if the first player played 2 two’s, then the next player would have to play 2 three’s or 2 four’s, increasing the number of the cards.  If a player doesn’t want to play a card or can’t play, they must then pass.  If everyone passes, and it gets back to the person who last played a card, he wins the hand and then starts a new hand by playing cards from his hand.

This is a new game using the same card crafting system found in Mystic Vale also from AEG.  Each card has a base card with a sleeve.  While you play, you add clear cards to change the value of a card.

Players will also have power up cards that can change what number is on the card.  At any time during the round, you can add a power card to one of your cards before playing it.  So, if I add a power glove to a 5, that makes it now a 7 for the rest of the game.  There were only 3 sevens in the game before, but now after this upgrade there are 4.  Also remembering that, when the round is over, all the cards get shuffled and dealt again, so you might never see that new seven card you created.

The round will end when all players have emptied their hand.  You will get either points or power up cards for what place you ended in.

You play six rounds and the player with the most points wins the game.

Positives

  • This is a quick playing easy to learn game.  But there is a lot to think about when playing.  If you have ever played trick taking games, this is a unique one where the numbers change on the cards throughout the game.  Having that ability to change the values is really neat and makes for some interesting choices.
  • Game runs pretty smoothly and I love the card crafting mechanic.
  • Art and components are good.

Neutrals

  • It’s pretty hard to remember what numbers are still in the deck and which aren’t. Everyone is changing cards to help them out and after a couple rounds, you just can’t keep up. Tough to card count!
  • Randomness is an issue with any card games but in light games like this you just take your lumps and move on.

Negatives

  • I sucked at it!  I was the last to get rid of my cards in every round??

Final Thoughts

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It’s an okay game with some interesting elements.  I can see why people would like it so much but I just had a horrible time playing it.  I am not new to trick taking games but for some reason I just had no idea how to play this game.  Maybe I would get better with a few more plays but the strategy just escaped me. I did horrible at it and couldn’t wait for the game to be done.  That is not to say I didn’t like it or think it was a bad game. That is just how the cards were dealt.  I would consider getting it but not at this time.

-Tim