Teratozoic – Review

Teratozic, is described as a light deck-building game of creating monsters. Currently on Kickstarter and is fully backed, so shipping of the product is guaranteed. The Kickstarter ends on 17th August and you can check it out here.

My first impressions of the game, is that it is incredibly neatly packaged and does not come with any unnecessary faff that would take up unwanted space. Literally all you get is the cards in the box with a compact rule book. Saying that, the packaging does seem weak, and I fear that after many games the box will fall apart as it is a bit of a tight fit with not much wiggle room to get the cards in and out. Maybe something a little more sturdy would have been better, but after all, this is all part of a Kickstarter project and keeping to a budget is always important.

The cards themselves, are of a very high quality, and to be honest the art work displayed on the Kickstarter page does not do justice to how nice it looks in the flesh. A lot of thought has gone into this design, and it really does show. Although, I can see that the design is not going to be to everybody’s taste as there is a very childlike quality that may not appeal to everyone.

The Game

The game itself is actually very simple to learn, although I would highly recommend watching the How to Play video which is on the Kickstarter page as the rule book can seem a bit hard to follow. This does seem like one of those games that is easy to pick up but incredibly hard to master.

photoMy wife and I played the two player version of the game, so we removed some of the era cards as recommended in the rule book and got playing. Removing era cards, in theory should speed the game up a bit as you will reach the final stage of the game quicker. However, after playing one game with only some era cards and all the monster cards, we did find that there were just too many monster cards for a two player game. So on our second game we removed a bunch of monster cards, and found the game moved a lot quicker and was more enjoyable.

Without playing the game at least once, it is hard to work out what you are aiming for and what ARE the best pieces to collect during play so that you can dominate the end game. So after our first game we were left with a pretty poor showing when it came to playing a very final hand. I went into our second game with tactics, however unless you win early rounds and are able to steal some of your opponents cards, those tactics are pretty useless.

There are four stages to each round of play:

1.Expression – Players decide how many cards they are going to play from their hand. The minimum number of cards that can be played is displayed on the Era card. Any unplayed cards are held back and are still considered as in hand, which will matter in the Breeding phase of the turn.

2. Growth – Everyone plays there monsters at the same time, forming as many monsters as you want but ultimately trying to have a monster with no loose ends. Points are scored by adding up the score in the top corner of the card, and the player with the most points after adding bonuses wins the hand and takes the advantage going into the Breeding phase.

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3. Breeding – This is where it gets fun, players take a certain number of cards from Play and also from their hand. These numbers are determined by the Era card. In Play means any card that is face up on the table and has been used to build a monster including your opponents. In Hand is any of your cards, including any cards you may have held back and not used to build a monster on that turn.

4. Mutation – This is the clean up phase, any cards that are left on the table after the Breeding are picked up and put into the Random Mutation deck. So it is important you pick the right cards to take in breeding, and also the right cards to play in Growth otherwise these cards may be lost to you.

The Verdict

Overall this is a very solid game, and does have a lot of replayability, especially if the players who are playing are on the same level. There are a surprising amount of tactics involved in it, which I didn’t glean from watching the tutorial videos prior to playing. My wife and I spent a lot of time talking about the design on the cards when we first opened the packet and how they really did look aimed at kids, but this soon went away when we got into the game and it really didn’t bother us any more.

The game is super easy to learn, and I can see this being a real gateway game into other deck building games, as there is enough strategy involved to make you want to keep playing it, but also basic enough that you are going to want to move to something that is a little more advance.

There is a lot of card sorting to be done at the end of a game (or the start of a new one) to get the cards back into the starting sets etc.. However, the cards are all clearly labelled with symbols which should work as easy identifiers for sorting purposes.