In order to make numbers work, we will often have 2 people looking for a game to play. For that reason, Bellum Sacrum hits the table a lot. Bellum Sacrum is a fast, but strategical, 2-player card game.
In Bellum Sacrum, players attempt to defeat all of the opposing warriors: if they do, they can claim a Trophy. The first player to get to 5 Trophies wins. On each turn, a player can take up to 4 actions (5, if the other player claimed a Trophy last turn, and only 3 on the first turn of the game). Players begin the game with 5 cards in their hand, each representing a different God. One action can be playing warriors from their hand in suits- this makes it extremely satisfying to accumulate multiple of one card and then use all of them to make a powerful warrior. However, each card also has a special power that can be activated instead of summoning a warrior- and all of them are extremely powerful. These can be blocked by your opponent if they discard the same card from their hand. Thus, interesting decisions are created- do you summon that powerful warrior or invoke the ability? Or maybe you need to hold onto it to prevent your opponent from being able to use the power?
Outside of Invoking and Summoning, players can also use actions to draw cards or attack with one of their warriors. Attacking adds up the total attack value of the attacking warrior, and compares it to the total defense value of the opposing warrior. If the attack value is not great enough, a defending warrior can still be wounded. A draw action lets you draw 3 cards. At first glance, the draw action seems way too strong: but it is balanced by some of the invocations. One of them forces the opponent to discard down to 4 cards if they have more cards in their hand, and the other allows one to draw 5 cards if the opponent has more cards in hand. Both are unblock-able effects. In addition, drawing too much can leave your field too exposed.
3 people in our college board game club participated in an anonymous vote for Bellum Sacrum, and all of them thought that Bellum Sacrum was a good game. Personally, I really enjoyed the catch-up mechanics that made it a tense game to the end. Due to the invocations, there was some bluffing involved as well. Ultimately, it seemed that the winner of each game was the player who could most skillfully play invocations at the right times so that the opponent could not block them. To me, this represents great game design because it means that the optimal strategies continue evolving as players discover new combos and ways to bluff out the opponent. Similar to how Coup continues to be a classic game that people will play again and again, Bellum Sacrum is a game that will offer players a lot of replayability. Bellum Sacrum is on Kickstarter right now, and I’d highly recommend checking it out if you are looking for a solid 2-player card game. Here is the link:
What is a 2 player game that you really enjoy? Let me know in the comments below, and thanks for reading as always!