“To please a child is a sweet and lovely thing that warms one’s heart and brings its own reward.” – L. Frank Baum
Abstract: Everything old is new again. And L. Frank Baum is no exception. He has the biggest movie at the box office at the moment. And hot on its heels is a brand new game from Orion’s Bell and Game Salute. In The Card Game of Oz by Jim O’Connor players are the authors ‘writing’ their own story in the World of Oz.
Materials & Methods: The game introduces a new game system called the StoryLine Game System. The StoryLine System uses Location Cards to build the basis for the story. Each player has a hand of Characters,Events, Objects, and Effects. They use these cards to create their story and to mess with the other players’ stories. The game also includes Story Dice which are used to generate Story Points.
At the beginning of the game, a title card is placed in the central play area. Next the Location cards are shuffled face down and each player chooses 3 cards. These are placed,face down, in a line in the central play area. Then the other player(s) place their Title card at the end of the Story Line. The first player rolls the4 blue Story Dice to generate Story Points for his turn. Story Points are used to play cards to a Location. The Location is revealed at this point. Locations give some Characters bonuses and hinder others. Each card has a Story Point cost to play, some more than others. The other players take their turns similarly, each playing cards to their side(s) of the Story Line. Once a player plays a Character card they are able to add a Gold Story Die to their rolls. They add Gold Dice for each Character they play. Story Points are also used to move Characters along the Story Line, one Location per point. In addition to playing cards and moving Characters, players can use Story Points to replace a Location card with one from the Location card deck, or draw a new card to their hand. Players may also discard or archive cards from their hand to gain Story Points. The game ends when one player moves one of their Prime Characters to an Opponent’s Title Card and flips it to ‘The End’. Points are then summed and the winner determined.
The components of The Card Game of Oz are very nice. The Location cards are large, oversized cards with very nice art. In fact the art of the game is fantastic. Cudos to the many artist who contributed. The Location cards also have text that gives or takes away bonuses to the Characters at that Location. The rest of the cards are average sized and again container wonderful depictions of the Characters, Objects, etc.. These cards have several pieces of information on them. They have a Title telling who or what the cards is, Story Point cost, text describing the Character and its ability, and how many Vitality Points the card scores. There are also a few other things that the graphics on the cards tell you. The frames of the cards have symbols indicating the alignment, to borrow a phrase, of the cards – Good, Neutral, Evil. The background of the text area tells what kingdom the card comes from. And there is another symbol at the bottom of the card that indicates whether it is magical or not.
I’ll mention the Story Dice briefly. These are custom dices, four blue and six gold. They have either blanks or symbols on their sides. As mentioned, players roll the blue dice to generate Story Points until they have Characters on the table.
Discussion: What do we think about The Card Game of Oz?
It’s a good, fun little card game. The StoryLine System is pretty unique. We thought it worked well in generating a story. The game is easy to learn and easy to play. My son was able to teach his cousin to play after only playing the game twice himself. We liked the art of the game a lot. The core of the game is hand management. Knowing what to play when and where is the key. And having the cards in your hand when you need them is necessary. Efficient use of Story Points enables you to acquire and play the needed cards AND to move Characters to their optimal scoring positions. The game is relatively compact, consisting of cards and dice. The variety of Locations and cards gives the game a relatively high degree of replayability. So overall I give The Card Game of Oz a 7 and my son gives it an 8 on the BGG scale. It’s his game of choice right now.
This game was recently completed a successful Kickstarter campaign. It will be produced and will be available to the rest of the world soon. The creators have expansions planned in the form of Story Packs of cards that will contain new Characters, Events, etc.. This will increase the replayability of the game tremendously. They say that there will be a Story Pack for each of the Baum books.
Results: The Card Game of Oz is a great family game. We give it 3 out of 5 microscopes.
I would like to thank Game Salute for providing a preview copy of The Card Game of Oz for us to review.