As everyone already knows, Fionna and Cake are the lovable, cute, and alternate-reality female versions of our heroes, Finn and Jake! Straight from the "Fionna and Cake" episode of the Adventure Time series on Cartoon Network, these characters have not only swapped genders, but Cake is now a cat. Meow! Fionna and Cake's decks in Adventure Time Card Wars: Fionna vs Cake take us back to where it all started — the classic "Cornfields vs Blue Plains" — but these decks are all new and full of surprises!
Fionna's Blue Plains deck is actually part Rainbow allowing for maximum customization. Several of her Blue Plains cards work rather well when paired up with Rainbow cards. And the Blue Plains "mastery of card drawing effects" gets a new twist. When Fionna gets her hands on a sword...or two or three...watch out!
Cake's Cornfield deck is centred around Buildings. The more, the merrier! In fact, this deck has more Buildings than any previous Collector's Pack. And if you play your cards right (literally), you can get more than four of them into play at once! And if you liked Flooping before, well shucks, you're going to love this Cornfield deck!
- Ages 10+
- 2 Players
- 15 - 30min Playing Time
Adventure Time Card Wars is a two-player card game based on an episode of Adventure Time named Card Wars, a fact it concisely illustrates by using all the same words. For those who haven’t watched the show, do.
Adventure Time Card Wars starter packs have been released intermittently, each with two character decks, and at the time of writing there are about six, five of which we tested in the intimidatingly palatial Zatu offices: BMO vs Lady Rainicorn, Princess Bubblegum vs Lumpy Space Princess, Ice King vs Marceline, Lemongrab vs Gunter and Fionna vs Cake. Rebecca and I were assigned the Fionna and Cake edition, which filled me with a rage that may never subside.
Playing the game
It’s worth pointing out that initially, even once you’ve grasped the basic rules, the game is a bit like walking through fog in sick shades. Stuff is happening but you don’t know what, and whatever just brushed against your leg did not feel friendly.
This is mostly due to a mechanic whereby every creature you have played automatically attacks, and takes damage based on the opposing creature’s defense, at the end of your turn, like a blind man walking repeatedly into a table. At first, this makes you feel slightly out of control until, a few turns in, you realise that your turn is about setting up for that unavoidable action.
So yeah, the fog clears pretty quickly, least it did for most. Simon over at table two looked a bit like a lost child in Sainsbury’s. After several turns of compulsory attacks, tactics start to present themselves. Players each have four landscape tiles, onto which they can play creatures and/or buildings. A player’s landscape tile and their opponent’s opposite form a lane, and creatures attack down their lane each turn.
Creatures and buildings may have ‘floop’ abilities. Using them will prevent that creature or building from attacking/being a building once you end your turn, and they present an interesting series of back-and-forths. For e.g’s, Rebecca played a building that granted the creature in that lane and extra 5 defense, which is plenty. Luckily, I had a small dog, which, when flooped, negated the opposing building in that lane.
That concludes my tactical decision making, because tactics are for squares. This brings me to the game’s most interesting facet – how deceptive winning and losing are. Failing to think outside the box to the extent that my thoughts occupied a more compact box inside the original box seems like something that should lose me the game. But it didn’t.
That’s the key thing about the compulsory attack mechanic. Though my opponent made more tactical moves, shutting down my creature’s abilities and utilising spells seemingly far more effectively, a few turns in which there were empty lanes on her side (which means any damage done affects her overall hitpoints, rather than those of a creature) ended up edging me ahead.
That’s the nice trade-off the game brings. Going all-out offensive will put effective dents in your opponent’s creatures, but those comparatively tiny dents it leaves in your actual face will accumulate if you don’t plug your laneholes.
The artwork and card descriptions are perfect tonally, capturing the eccentric humour of the show while managing to convey the information they need to without any confusion.
Those who have seen the episode from which this game was sprogged will know it’s fictional counterpart is a little more complicated, played on a holographic board and with elaborate, odd decision making. It’s a good episode of a good show, and, considering holographic pigs still elude the apparent ‘geniuses’ of modern science, this game does a really good job of capturing the essence of the TV version as depicted. It’s daft and strange, and both of those are compliments.
Adventure Time Card Wars: The Verdict
All five of the aforementioned Adventure Time Card Wars starter sets are available here at Zatu! Buy your favourites now!