Review: Sylvion

The forest is under attack in Shadi Torbey’s 2nd (or 3rd depending on if you count Urbion) game in the Oniverse. A “sequel” to Onirim, this game plays completely different, but fits within the same universe. I have already done a review of Onirim, so today I will take a look at the second game in this series, Sylvion.

Sylvion is a card-drafting, deck-building, tower defense style game for one or two people (though I have never played it with two) where the forest is defending against fires. As with Onirim 2nd edition this game comes with multiple expansions within the box and what a pretty box it is. The picture below just shows where the cards and pawn goes, but if you look carefully on the side you can see the back side of the flames that you see as you remove the lid.

Sylvion insert - courtesy of BGG
Sylvion insert – courtesy of BGG

The advanced game starts with some card drafting and yes it even works in a solo game. You build four columns by adding one card to each, selecting one column, adding another card to each column and then removing one column (determined by a card draw). That continues until you have removed 12 columns or revealed the last Sylvan card.

The cards you draft are your Defender deck that you will use to combat the Ravage cards. Each round is pretty simple and follows the same steps. First you reveal the top Ravage card from each pile, resolve any Support cards (which can move the enemies faster, make them stronger, etc), draw three cards and then deploy your troops to protect the Edge cards (which represent your life).

A game in progress - courtesy of BGG
A game in progress – courtesy of BGG

Your defender deck can consist of fountains (which can keep flames from progressing), trees (which flip desolated edge cards back to the bloom side which all must be at the end), and animal cards (which give you special abilities like drawing more cards, or flipping edge cards back to the bloom side).

When the enemies progress to the edge cards they can come across fountains, trees or edge cards. If the enemy (Elemental) reaches a tree or fountain then whichever is stronger wins and the other is discarded. If they are the same strength than both are removed. If the Elemental reaches an edge card then you must flip over the same number of edge cards (to the desolated side) as the strength of the Elemental. If all twelve edge cards are flipped over, the game is over.

What’s Good?

  • The card drafting in order to build your defender deck is very well done especially in a solo game where there isn’t anyone to draft cards “against” you. Since there is a random column removed between your selections, you are given a tough decision of which column is best every time you have to choose.
  • This game plays relatively quick, but the decisions do not suffer because of the length. You are still presented with some very good decision points, whether it is in the drafting time or deciding which fountain to play and what row to play it in.
  • The components are great. The little Ravage pawn is fantastic, the cards are solid and the box looks great on the shelf (especially considering Z-man and Filosophia have Onirim, Sylvion and the soon to be released Castellon are all in a similar box).
  • It is a very easy game to learn and play with the rulebook providing well done rules and easy to find information.

What’s Not So Good?

  • The amount of table space required is a little disappointing if you are someone who likes to take games on the road, but that may not have been the plan, so…
  • The artwork is a similar style to Onirim and while it works for the game, it isn’t my favorite. It is well done, but I am not a fan.

What’s the Best Part?

  • The game comes with an Introductory and Advanced modes as well as three expansions (although only two are official, the third involves the awesome Ravage pawn). I absolutely love games that come this way because you can learn it at your own speed. You can pick up the introductory game and play it after only reading a little about the game. Then once you are comfortable with that you can take on the Advanced mode which adds more Elementals and Animals as well as the card drafting idea which ups the strategy quite a bit. After you  feel confident in your skills you can add in an expansion and probably realize that you weren’t as ready as you thought you were.

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