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Draconis Invasion Glory Preview, Three new optional modules for the Draconis Invasion Deckbuilding Game

We take an early look at the Glory Expansion for the fantasy deckbuilding card game Draconis Invasion

This expansion features three new optional modules which add a new gameplay element, end game scoring and asymmetric starting powers to your games of Draconis Invasion

Disclosure: Thank you to KEJI Inc. for sending us a preview copy of this expansion to check out!


What do you get with the Glory expansion for Draconis Invasion?

Image of the Draconis Invasion Glory Expansion BoxDraconis Invasion Glory is a small box expansion for Draconis Invasion that will be launching on Kickstarter this spring. It was designed by Jeff Lai and features art from Amber HarrisJeremiah HumphriesJack KaiserAlexander Kozachenko, and Manthos Lappas. Assuming the crowdfunding campaign is successful, this expansion will be printed by KEJI Inc later this year.

This expansion requires you to own a copy of Draconis Invasion. It is meant to be used in two to six player games and using the Invocation portion of Glory will actually speed up the playtime of the original game. 

If you aren’t familiar with Draconis Invasion, my podcast co-host Sean ranked it as his best new game discovery of 2021 and you can read more about it in our Draconis Invasion review,

This small box expansion for Draconis Invasion will feature three new card types: asymmetric Champion Cards, end game scoring Bonus Cards and Invocation Cards that add a totally new gameplay element. These are all optional additions to Draconis Invasion that can be mixed and matched.

It’s also worth noting that this expansion is fully compatible with the campaign based Wrath Expansion for Draconis Invasion, which isn’t needed to use this expansion. Each is standalone or can be combined. 

For a look at the new card types you get with this expansion I invite you to check out our Draconis Invasion: Glory Unboxing Video on YouTube.

The three new card types you get with the Glory expansion for Draconis InvasionIn regards to component quality, the style of artwork, the layout and card design all match the style and quality of the original game. I do appreciate that there is some colour used here other than just greys and blues which was a minor issue we had with the base game.

A reminder that what I’m previewing here is a pre-release copy of the Glory Expansion. The final product should have more cards than what I show off in our unboxing video. I know for a fact that additional bonus cards and Champions are planned as stretch goals for the Kickstarter when it launches. 

 

How do you use Glory for Draconis Invasion?

Draconis Invasion Glory contains three new types of cards: Champions, Bonuses and Invocations. One or more of these new sets of cards can be tossed into any Draconis Invasion game (including campaign games played with the Wrath expansion). 

Here’s what each of  the new cards types in Glory does:

Two of the Champion cards from Draconis Invasion: GloryChampion Cards – These add an element of asymmetry to Draconis Invasion. The Champion cards are shuffled at the start of each game and two are dealt to each player. Players look at these, choose one to keep and then pass the other to the player on their right. Both cards are then placed face down in front of the players.

Each Champion Card features a one time use ability that is rather powerful. For example, the Barbarian card lets you instantly defeat an invader with 20 or less hit points while the Executioner lets you trash a treasure to remove three non-terror cards from your discard pile. My advance copy came with twelve champion cards in eight different types. As noted earlier, more Champions will hopefully be unlocked as stretch goals during the Kickstarter.

Six of the bonus cards from Draconis Invasion: GloryBonus Cards – These add an end game scoring element to Draconis Invasion. Each game you will randomly place on the table, a number of face up bonus cards as part of the game set up. At the end of the game, players score two bonus points for each card they match the requirements for.

These Bonus Cards include things like the Armed card, which the player with the most defender cards at the end of the game scores for, or the Unafraid bonus card which scores for the player with the least terror.

My preview copy of Glory came with six different bonus cards and more are planned as stretch goals on the upcoming Kickstarter.

The new Invocation cards from Draconis Invasion: GloryInvocation Cards – There are six of these new cards and they are all identical. At the start of the game, every player gets their own Invocation Card.

What these cards do is let you store one card under them when that card is purchased. This card can then be pulled out at any time on a later turn and added to your hand.

Note, players can only store one card at a time under their Invocation Cards. 


Should Draconis Invasion fans pick up Draconis Invasion: Glory?

Playing Draconis Invasion with the Glory expansionBefore I tell you who should be picking up the Glory expansion for Draconis Invasion I want to share some thoughts on each of the new card types included with this expansion.

Sticking with the same order as above, let’s start with the Champion Cards. To me these were an interesting addition, but not what I expected. I’ve you’ve followed along with any of our content over the last few years, most of you know I really dig asymmetry in my games and usually love any expansion that adds.

When I heard that Jeff Lai (the Draconis Invasion designer) was planning on adding asymmetric powers to Draconis Invasion I fully expected to find cards that would get added to your deck at the start of the game, as this would make every player’s starting deck slightly different. That’s how I’ve seen asymmetry added to other deck-building games. 

 

I wasn’t expecting a new card type with a different back that you draft at the start of the game. I was also surprised to find that these were one use powers and that those powers are very strong. Many of these strong powers also include take-that elements that can be quite shocking when they first come up. 

When using these cards I strongly suggest having everyone read all of the cards before shuffling them. This way everyone knows what could potentially be in play and what effects to expect during that game. 

Draconis Invasion set up on our game table.One aspect of this asymmetry I did enjoy is how you knew your cards and also one of the cards one of your opponents holds (the one you passed at the start of the game) giving you some idea of what you can expect as long as you know what all the cards can do ahead of time. 

Due to how big a shock some of these cards were the first time we saw them come up, part of me wanted these cards to be open information and not hidden. I think this is something some groups may want to house rule. Especially if you have players who don’t like having their plans ruined. 

While the Champion Cards weren’t what I expected, I do like them. However, I don’t know if I would want to use them every game.

Next we move to the Bonus Cards which I thought were a great addition to Draconis Invasion, as long as you don’t use all of them in every game.

I liked how diverse these cards were in a way that pretty much everyone playing is probably going to win at least one of them, though if you play with as many cards as players there’s a chance this could feel more like an “everyone gets a prize” moment which isn’t all that rewarding. Having them be limited makes them more worth fighting over. 

Draconis Invasion: Glory Bonus Cards in play.One aspect I didn’t like is that by the rules ties for Bonus Card points are friendly. This removed a sone of the competition and made calculating final scores a bit annoying. With only one potential winner you can just hand the card to the player that earned it. 

I also felt like the Headhunter Bonus card, which awards 2 points to the player with the most completed Campaigns, was a bit too powerful. Having a lot of completed Campaigns means you have defeated a lot of monsters and will already have a lot of points at the end of the game. Giving two more points to the player who’s probably already winning the game seemed a bit off. 

The one thing that everyone who’s played with Bonus Cards has said is that they wish there were more of them to add more variety to the game. I do know that additional Bonus Cards will be one of the main Stretch Goals when this expansion goes to Kickstarter. 

 

I don’t see any reason to not use these cards in any of my future plays of Draconis Invasion. The only trick will be finding the sweet spot for the number to use. So far number of players minus one seems to be the best choice but we are still experimenting. 

 An Invocation card in play during a game of Draconis InvasionThat leaves us with what I think is the best addition to Draconis Invasion with Glory and that is the Invocation Cards and the new gameplay element added with them. 

I really liked the added option of being able to store a bought card for a number of reasons.

One of the things that makes Draconis Invasion unique, when compared to other deck-building games I’ve played, is that you have to pay for your defenders to play them from your hand. One of the frustrations we found with the original game came when you would get a hand of cards with defenders in them and no way to pay for them or the opposite you would get a hand of gold and no defenders.  The Invocation rules help with that problem by letting you put a newly purchased defender or gold card under your Invocation Card and bring it to your hand later when you can actually use it.

I also found it very useful to be able to store newly purchased Action Cards. By storing one of these when bought, you could make sure to have it on your next turn and take advantage of what it does. This becomes even more powerful once your deck gets larger as you no longer have to wait for that shiny new thing to come up. Storing gold can also be useful for making a big purchase as well as paying to use a Defender. 

Note, my partner Sean thought these rules would be better if they were limited to just Defenders. So you couldn’t store anything else under your Invocation card and I think that would be an interesting house rule to explore. 

I can’t see playing Draconis Invasion without the Invocation rules in the future. 

Players enjoying a game of Draconis Invasion with the Glory expansion. Overall I think Draconis Invasion: Glory is a great expansion for Draconis Invasion and well worth picking up for fans of this competitive fantasy deck builder. Even if you don’t love all three of the modules presented here I think most groups are going to find at least one they won’t want to play without (and for us that’s the Invocations).

One important part of this expansion is that the new Invocation rules and Bonus Cards can work to fix some complaints I’ve seen about the base game. If you thought Draconis Invasion was okay but not great you may want to give it another shot with those expansions to see if that changes your thoughts on the game. The Invocation system in particular adds something new that I’ve not seen in a deck-building game and the expansion may be worth checking out for that reason alone. 

I’m really looking forward to when the Kickstarter for this expansion launches and seeing what else might get added to it. While I don’t expect any changes to the Invocation Cards, I am hyped to see some new Bonus Cards and additional Champions.

As it stands now I already think this is a solid expansion worth picking up and any additional cards added while crowdfunding will just make Draconis Invasion: Glory an even better value.

 

The Glory expansion for Draconis Invasion is, to me, the perfect kind of expansion. A small expansion with a low cost that adds a number of different optional gameplay elements. Each of these adds to the base game without making it feel like a new game and they also address some of the minor issues we found with the original.

What’s your favourite expansion that did similar things for a game you love? Let us know about it in the comments below!

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