The Art of War: Card Game is the newest release from publisher and developer Brightdawn Entertainment (A Walk in the Woods VR). It is a non-collectable deck builder card game set in a fantasy world with Game of thrones style machinations. I immediately felt the similarities to Gwent: The Witcher Card Game so I wasn’t surprised when Brightdawn cited Gwent as inspiration. As well as bringing what they felt the genre was missing and a social game like Gwent, Magic: The Gathering or Yu-Gi-Oh! The Art of War is available now on PC but still in early access. There is also the upcoming tabletop version later in 2023.
Sun Tzu who? There’s a new The Art of War in town
I’d love to hear what anyone of you think of The Art of War: Card Game so feel free to comment below.
The Art of War: Card Game was very fun and engaging to play from the jump. I am a big fan of Gwent, both within Witcher 3 and the standalone game which drew me in initially. In an original setting, the engaging opening sets the scene of a kingdom in the midst of civil war after the king’s death and four regions fighting for the crown. With a digital tabletop as the battlefield, you lead your chosen faction against another in ranked or casual online matches. The solo mode tests your mettle against AI which was a good way to get a feel for what the different factions offer.
The four factions of The Art of War come with decks to suit their in-game lore/history. From attacking from turn 1 to building momentum over rounds, each deck allows different styles of play that both suit players and keep you sharp. Each match is best of 3 rounds when placing cards across 2 rows for each player. Then whoever has the most HP in each round wins. Similar to Gwent, your hand doesn’t reset each round so you have to be tactical, losing a battle to win the war so to speak. I am no stranger to falling into that trap of a decisively won round but nothing for the rest of the match.
My only issues with The Art of War so far are the lack of card variety and how there is no extra benefit to levelling up. Each faction comes with a dozen or so different cards from a common deck and a few cards from a specialised deck. I feel there is untapped potential with the deck types and card rarity, especially with the ranking system. I hope to see more as the game develops as it has a solid foundation for being a great deck-builder, perhaps becoming on par with Gwent.
Graphics & Audio
The Art of War as part of the card game genre is relatively less demanding when it comes to resolution etc. I found it ran smoothly and had no bugs, even when at a higher resolution and FPS than needed. I really enjoyed the detail put into the different cards in how they looked and the information gleaned about characters. The visuals were perhaps my favourite part in how vibrant they are and add to the worldbuilding. I also found the card animations and effects made the game more engaging.
Going hand in hand with the engaging visuals, the audio makes The Art of War feel more vibrant and immersive. This ranges from the opening sequence voiceover which made me interested in the setting to the soundtrack/score. The score between battles and during is in keeping with the tone at that time e.g. serene and peaceful in the main menu then intense & upbeat in battles. I did find the card sound effects somewhat average when portraying characters but it did add to the game’s immersion.
Even in early access, I feel that The Art of War: Card Game offers many hours of content. Testing your might against other players online or trying your hand against the AI, can sink a lot of time into the game. For the competitive bunch among us, ranked matches come with XP and levelling up to show how good you are. And there are 32 Steam achievements to unlock for the completionists too. I did feel it was missing private matches or a way to play your friends but still enjoyable.
I enjoyed my time playing The Art of War Card Game and not just because it was inspired by Gwent. The world-building and backstory were more engaging than expected and hopefully develops. The different strategies and approaches kept the game fresh after several hours and no doubt this continues. The only downside is the lack of card variety or rank rewards after a time. While playing, the game looked and sounded great. Visuals and sounds complement each other as well as the gameplay and worldbuilding. I definitely want to play more and see how the game develops.
I hope you enjoyed my thoughts on The Art of War: Card Game, if so then please check out my review of Sable and leave a comment about what you thought.
Disclaimer: A code was received to write this review.