Vangorro is a complete, two-player fantasy battle card game from local game creator Max Tong. Last year, at the age of 10, Max became possibly the youngest published tabletop game designer in Malaysia with the first release of Vangorro, subtitled “Warriors VS HobNogs.” Max illustrated the various heroes and monsters of Vangorro himself, and designed the game with help from his father, Sim Tong.
I almost missed the Vangorro booth at Kaijucon 2018. My GMing duties left me with much less time to spend on the boardgame tables and booths than I would have otherwise liked. Fortunately, during a break in the action, I met Max’s mother, Chong See Ming, who provided me with a review copy.
Looking at Vangorro
So we tried out the game. For RM30, you get a rule sheet; two sheets of damage counters (to cut out); two different fixed decks of cards, designed to be played against each other by two players; and two cards listing the contents of the decks. Card quality is exactly like that of typical playing cards, and the damage counters are made of the exact same card type. There’s a lot of empty space in the card box, so the contents do rattle around a bit, but this hasn’t been a problem so far.
Vangorro’s rules seems to draw inspiration from games like Magic: the Gathering, except with fixed decks of cards instead of having a large card pool for deck building. As you and your opponent take turns playing, you both gradually get more energy resources (Chi cards) so that you can buy minions and spells from a hand of cards that you draw over the course of the game. The objective is to attack and damage the opponent and be the first to reduce them from 15 health points to 0. Unlike in Magic, minions cannot block each other, and can directly attack specific minions instead of the opponent. Like in the Pokémon Trading Card Game, minions can accumulate damage, which is recorded with damage tokens, until they reach a limit (the card’s Health score).
The hand-drawn art is utterly charming, and someone needs to run an RPG using all of these critters and spells. Now.
We tried the game. The first thing we noticed was that because minions cannot be blocked by other minions, it’s usually more efficient to just buy as many high-attack minions as possible and attack the other player as fast as possible. You can see how that goes in the video below.
You could try playing with some house rules. Allow minions to block like creatures in Magic. There’s some potential there. Perhaps there’s some additional fun to be had with the multi-player rules, which are also included on the rule sheet.
Also, I hear there’s a new Vangorro set coming out, with robots and plants. I don’t know what could be cooler. Max Tong probably knows. I look forward to seeing what he designs next.
You can find out more about Vangorro and inquire about buying the game at the Vangorro Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Vangorro/
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