The Warlord CCG, a golden age classic, has returned.

Posted by Steven

Rewind to 2021. Zach and I are playing an old game that we'd always heard about—the Warlord CCG—on a Throwback Thursday stream. It's immediately obvious that the "rank and file" system is brilliant, and our eyes light up as we roll d20s and sink into that giddy feeling of discovery.

At the end of the stream, we muse about how a modern design approach to the classic Warlord system, ala Android: Netrunner, would lead to something magical. But as those who watched us during that pandemic era will rightly admit, this was just one of many impractical dreams cooked up after four hours on camera.

For two people watching that stream, though, it wasn't impractical at all. In fact, they had acquired the license from AEG and were working on that exact project. And today, here we are announcing our partnership with Kingswood Games on the relaunch of the Warlord CCG - [now live on Kickstarter].

What a trip.

Card image spread for Warlord CCG

Warlord is a lovely change of pace from the other CCGs in our catalog, simply because it has a meaningful spatial component (ranks), you don't generate resources, and, most of all, every action revolves around the chaos of a d20 roll—hugely appealing for those looking for a little more fun and excitement and a little less visceral calculation.

The system was originally built in 2001 as a kind of companion game to D&D 3rd Edition, and marketed as "the game you already know how to play", which is brought home by the fact that the world and lore originated from a real D&D campaign run by John Zinser, owner of AEG (Alderac Entertainment Group).

Units can be fighters, rogues, wizards, or clerics. Spells and similar might require a skill check by the caster (d20 + skill modifier) or might force the target to make a DC save. Melee attacks require an attack roll (d20 + attack modifier) and can only hit things within melee range. Some characters have feats, like Scribe or Power Attack. These concepts will be very familiar to anyone who has played D&D 3rd Edition, or really any form of roleplaying game.

And just like those games, a 20 always succeeds and a 1 always fails. Nothing is certain, no matter how things look in any given moment. Great players will win the majority of the time, and experience has shown that they consistently find their way to the top tables, but the underlying reality of "any given set of rolls" changing one's fate is critical to Warlord's appeal.

You can grind out that 1% advantage with FAB to become world champion, or get swallowed up in a game of Sorcery, you can make good trade after good trade in a game of Alpha Clash, or find yourself balanced on the edge of a knife as you trade actions in Ashes—but sometimes, you just want to put your army on the table and start throwing d20s, adapting as the chaos unfolds during a "best of 3" match. We love it.

Additionally, Warlord brought one of the most unique Organized Play approaches to the CCG space, and the team at Kingswood are all in on bringing it back in full force. If you win a local tournament, you get a chance to face off against the tournament organizer who controls a special deck led by a game-breaking Overlord. If you beat that deck, you get a copy of that Overlord as a trophy. Cool, right? It gets better.

You take that Overlord card to a regional or convention-level event, where you track down one of the select few Warlord organizers entrusted with piloting a wildly overpowered Dragon Lord deck. You challenge them, they sign your Overlord card (making it void for additional challenges) and you attempt to take them down as well. If you succeed (incredibly rare), you win that Dragon Lord card.

And THEN, you can take that Dragon Lord card and find a Medusan Lord, the extremely rare, extremely difficult final "boss" piloted by only the most trusted members of the community—often a Warlord designer—and you challenge THEM. As you might expect, Medusan Lords are one of a kind, so whoever takes one down becomes a legend (and many players devote their entire time with Warlord to building decks that can defeat a specific Medusan puzzle…a brewer's delight!).

Add to that a fully supported 4-player Commander-esque format out of the gate, packs that are optimized for Draft and Sealed play, cleaned up graphic design and templating (with soul intact), and all 4000+ existing Warlord cards still being playable in the Ancients format…

We think it's going to hit for a pocket of players that aren't quite satisfied with the current CCG landscape. For me, it's a particularly good companion game for Sorcery because I just can't deny my eternal love for old school fantasy.

If you'd like to dive in further, here's where to go next:

Learn more and back via the just-launched Kickstarter →

Watch our "Warlord Returns" documentary →

Watch our original Throwback video →

Join the #warlord channel of our Discord →

Kingswood is expecting to launch their first set this year, and we'll have booster boxes and starters available closer to that time for those who missed the Kickstarter or just aren't into crowdfunding. We'll also have a subscription with an exclusive, alt-art promo up later this year. For now, getting as much energy into this Kickstarter is the priority, so we hope you'll check it out!

It also might be time to get that really nice d20…

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