BOARD/CARD GAME REVIEW
Blue Moon

By TR Wong - January 31st, 2009

Blue Moon

Blue Moon is a non-collectible fantasy card game. Players take sides in a battle for control of three dragons to recall the gods of Blue Moon back, with each player generally controlling one major group of peoples (or races). The initial game (Blue Moon Legends) contains the Vulca and the Hoax, two opposing races. Multiple peoples decks are also available for purchase.

Appearance

Blue Moon is, hands down, the most beautiful card game available on the market. Each individual card holds a unique picture (often depicting the character involved) with some of the best fantasy artwork found in games.

Furthermore, unlike most games, Blue Moon is not heavily over-packaged. Instead, there is a nice insert (actually useful!) that contains the three hefty dragons, the play board (that is more a player guide than anything else) and the pair of oversized card decks. Cards are of good quality stock and as mentioned, the dragons are rather hefty so they won’t be lost easily.

Rules / Ease of Learning

Blue Moon is not particularly difficult to learn and any gamer familiar with collectible card games (CCGs) will pick up on the rules very quickly. The main card types consist of character cards, permanent upgrades – for that specific battle (Support) and temporary upgrades (Boosters) and leadership cards (one-off special effects).

In Blue Moon, each battle is one round with multiple turns. Each turn (except the first) consists of playing one character and one booster or support card (not available on the first round). Additionally, at the start of the turn, players can also play a Leadership card. At the end of each round, players draw up to their full hand sized (normally 6). Additionally, players can retreat at the start of their turn, with the winning player attracting one dragon and the retreating player beginning the next round.

An interesting aspect of battles in Blue Moon is that each battle can be fought in one of two elements – Fire and Earth. Characters have traits in both Fire and Earth, and battles are generally fought in only one element per round, thus forcing players to consider which element the opponent’s characters are strong in as well as his hand. There are, of course, cards that can switch the battle from one element to another, adding another interesting element to play.

Game-play

Blue Moon is amazingly simple to teach to others, both gamers and non-gamers alike. While it plays fast, the strategic and tactical depth is quite interesting. Card combinations are quite important, as is the ability to out-guess opponents (what kind of characters does he have left? Do I play Fire or Earth? Can I make him play fire so that I can use these cards, etc.).

The usage of battles and the attraction of dragons, with the introduction of the ability to ‘retreat” is an interesting mix. Once players gain an idea about the various cards (which, unlike CCGs are finite) in each deck, players are able to begin guessing what the next move by their opponent will be based on the likely cards still available and in-hand. It can often be advantageous to retreat from a battle that you might lose to overwhelmingly win the next battle.

This is especially important when six cards are played on one side in any battle – the stakes have risen now and two dragons are attracted. This has the potential to “break” a game as a player with one dragon already attracted could win the game immediately if he wins a two-dragon battle.

Blue Moon’s endgame occurs in one of two scenarios – when three dragons are attracted to one side or when a player has used all his cards. The second scenario is the most common endgame, which adds an interesting level of depth as players can often attempt to win the game during the last few battles as the other player is card deprived.

Conclusion

Overall, Blue Moon is a great non-collectible fantasy card game with some of the most beautiful art work available. While vaguely familiar to any CCG player, its unique rules and setting makes it an interesting and fun game to play. It will scratch the itch of a retired Magic player and for those looking for a more confrontational two-player card game.

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    4 responses so far:
  2. By Reay
    Posted on Jan 31, 2009

    Good review. Is it strictly a 2 player game, or can more play at the same time?

  3. Well done.

    Line of the article:

    Blue Moon is, hands down, the most beautiful card game available on the market.

    Intentional or not…
    Well done!

  4. Posted on Feb 3, 2009

    It’s strictly a 2-player game. There’s a board game called Blue Moon City that handles more people but it’s quite different from the card game.

    And it was, sadly, unintentional.

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