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Ashes Reborn: Red Rains Board Game Review

Type of Game: Deck Construction, Dice Rolling, and Hand Management

Number of Players: 1-2

Age: 14+

Designer: Isaac Vega

Artist: Thander Lin, David Richards, Fernanda Suárez

Publisher: Plaid Hat Games


This copy of Ashes Reborn and all other content was purchased by the author.

CONCEPT

Ashes Reborn: Rise of the Phoenixborn is a PVP experience where two players battle with Phoenixborn pre-constructed decks or drafted decks. A new addition to the LCG as of 2023 is Ashes Reborn: Red Rains. The Red Rains series is a solo or cooperative expandable card game allowing players to choose their Phoenixborn, demi-gods and protectors of the world, to fight among the various Chimeras to see who will rise or fall to the ashes. Chimeras are the bosses that you battle against, each providing a different challenge. When choosing your Phoenixborn, you can customize your deck by drafting it yourself or using the pre-constructed decks that are laid out. Players will roll their dice at the beginning of each round and play cards using the dice power. Once the Chimera is defeated or the Chimera destroys your Phoenixborn, good or evil emerges victorious!


This may sound like a lot, but it is a quick game that can provoke a lot of thinking about the order of your actions.


HOW IT WORKS

Ashes Reborn consists of several different phases that apply either to the player(s) of the game or the Chimera that you are facing off against. Each player has their own play area that showcases aspects, units, conjurations, or spells that have specific effects. There are three phases to a round: prepare phase, player turns phase, and recovery phase.


Players have a starting hand of 5 cards at the beginning of each round, but certain cards or Phoenixborn may allow them to gain more cards as the round progresses. Each player rolls their respective magic dice to start each turn, determining the amount of power available to summon cards to their play area or utilize action/reaction spells throughout each round. In the player turns phase, players have two actions they can perform with many different effects depending on the Phoenixborn or aspects they are facing off against. The two types of actions are:


  • Main (required): Pay a major cost, attack, or pass

  • Side (optional): Meditate, activate a dice power, pay a side action cost

These two types of actions can be performed in any combination. Each player takes a main action and a side action (if possible) on their turn until each player passes, which triggers the end of the round. Once each side has passed in the same turn, there are a series of steps taken in the recovery phase that resets the round and then passes the first player to the other side. There are further steps in cooperative play against the Chimera to determine who is the first player, but we will let you dive further into that if you would like to.


The end-game is triggered in two ways:


  • The Chimera receives wound tokens equal to or greater than its life value (Phoenixborn victory)

  • A Phoenixborn receives wound tokens equal to or greater than its life value (Chimera victory)


Ashes Reborn: Red Rains can be played solo or with two players. I’ve played it at both player counts and enjoy both versions of the Red Rains mode. I do prefer it solo, as that has been where a majority of my plays have come due to availability. Turns can be more thoughtful when playing cooperatively since you can help out with the other player’s board and aspects over just worrying about your specific board and aspects.


COMPONENTS

Components for Ashes Reborn are easy to identify for those without accessibility issues as there are dice magic power cards to help understand the value of each dice by the image on each face of the die. The status tokens and damage tokens have their differences in colors, but can have their difficulties as seen within the review provided by Brian Chandler, from Colorbind Games. When taking a look at other components of Ashes Reborn, the card quality is okay, but that all depends on how rough you are with your cards. It isn't required to sleeve your cards, but I've taken the extra step to sleeve them since I've played the game 83 times already this year. The one additional component that I've added to my collection of Ashes has been a playmat based on the art from a Sembali card, Gates Thrown Open. The playmats were a limited run and currently sold out, but if you enjoy playing the game, it is something to look to add to your collection.



FINAL THOUGHTS

Ashes Reborn is an interactive, high-quality game that I recommend for folks who may enjoy other LCGs (Living Card Games) such as Marvel Champions or Arkham Horror: The Card Game. There will be some mishaps as you play through due to misunderstandings of some of the text on the cards and rules that are applied in the Red Rains mode, but we aren’t playing the game competitively and there will be mistakes made. Overall, Ashes Reborn is a relatively new game to me, but I will play this any day of the week and I will continue to introduce it to as many people as possible since there is unlimited replay ability with the game.


If you are interested in seeing different playthroughs of the Red Rains series, check out MistaRau gaming

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