Image courtesy of David Tehero (Tehero22 on Boardgamegeek.com)
Millennium Blades Kickstarter
Nostalgia is a powerful feeling. More than 22 years ago, I sold off all my Magic: The Gathering cards and used the money to pay for Driver’s Ed. I loved M:TG and spent many fond nights playing with friends, preparing for tournaments, chasing rares and building decks. Tearing apart, retooling, and testing new deck designs provided hundreds of hours of entertainment, and sated my inner engineer. Building a great deck, then testing and refining that design over and over again was a satisfying feeling that I look back on with fond nostalgia.
22 years later, I have a wife, 3 children, and a glut of other interests. Lifestyle games are out of reach for me; I just don’t have the time. When one of my gamegroup buddies told me about Millennium Blades, I was skeptical. A meta-game about the CCG lifestyle? That sounds so impossible that I’d be a fool to fall for it. There’s no way they can capture all of the great aspects of what makes a CCG experience so amazing. I was wrong.
I’ve played Millennium Blades 4 or 5 times now, and I can honestly say – they nailed it. Spending money I don’t have to rip open packs even when I have no idea if there are any cards that can improve my current deck – Included. Rushing around right before a tournament trying to get the adjustments to account for current meta – Included. Collecting extremely rare promo cards as prizes for attending tournaments – Included. Slowly changing pools of cards as various sets come into the format – Included. It’s all here. It takes less than 3 hours start to finish to play 3 tournaments, but it feels like there still isn’t enough time.
Image courtesy of Bobby Griggs (bgriggs on Boardgamegeek.com). Insert by Go7 Gaming
One of my favorite parts of CCGs is their nearly infinite replayability. Millennium Blades boasts there are over 700 cards in the base game box, 450 cards in the expansion, and 4 promo packs each with around 50 cards. About half are mixed together in a given game, and typically you might see a quarter of those cards. I don’t know the math on that, but it’s a LOT of variability.
I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention the money. Usually, I LOATHE paper money. It’s a huge pain in my neck, and games that include it are wasting paper. But in MB, you play with stacks of cash, stickered together to FEEL like you’re dropping stacks of cash buying cards. This is definitely true to the real CCG experience and it feels good to slap down 30 bills to buy the pack.
Image courtesy of Drake Coker (Olvenskol on Boardgamegeek.com)
Do I have any complaints? Sure – I prefer the fantasy setting of Magic or L5R. I’m pretty neutral on the Anime style, but the game works so well for me that I don’t mind, and the mind-blowing variety of art in this game makes up for that. Also – Setup and tear down takes a bit if you change the store and sets frequently, but we don’t. I like the idea that across a few games of MB, the meta and current sets are consistent, and after a few plays, we’ll remove a couple sets and add new ones, just like live CCGs.
Why am I telling you all this? The reprint is live on Kickstarter right now, and it ends on July 23rd. If you’re like me, and you love CCGs but don’t have the time anymore, this game is for you. If you’re not sure whether you like CCGs, but this sounds like fun, this game is for you. If you hate fun, this game is not for you.
(Note: I was not compensated in any way to write this review)