The board game/card game Mistborn: House War is based on the fantasy novel by the same name. When my dad asked if my sister and I wanted to try it out with him I was skeptical at first. I am all for tabletop and card games, but usually, that falls more into Magic the Gathering territory or Dungeons and Dragons. Boy, was I wrong. The rules are straightforward, and the pacing is fantastic. You are are a Lord of one of the Great Houses, and you serve the Lord Ruler. Everyone is out for themselves, but there is also a need to work together to overcome obstacles. Each problem has an urgency score as well as the amount of favor you gain from solving it, what will happen if the problem erupts or is solved, and what it will take to solve the problem. There are multiple ways for the game to be won or lost, and it works to make for some interesting drama. Are you currently in the lead pointwise but there is a high unrest score? Better hope things don’t erupt because that will cause you to lose, allowing the player with the lowest score to win. In the weirdest way, this almost feels like a political intrigue version of Settlers of Catan. Mistborn is probably the most nihilistic board games I’ve played, with the choices often between, do I allow this crisis to happen that might only hurt me a little, or focus on an upcoming crisis that will hurt me a lot. And cutting deals with other plays to help you when it isn’t in their interest this turn, but might need you in the next one.
The quality of this game cannot be overstated. The art is a wonderful accent to the cards, the flavor text adds to the feeling of the world, the game comes with tokens that are similar to your run-of-the-mill cardboard punch-outs. The only thing that could even come close to being considered a critic is that the figures that come with the game are the standard flat grey plastic, and are kinda flimsy, but even with that, I would consider it a non-issue. Ultimately, I feel as though there is a ton of card and board games that are released every year, and sometimes it can be overwhelming to try something new, especially when it is based on a book series that you have not read (I have not, but I might have to change that at a later date). That being said, three people who have never played this game were able to get into it without any difficulties and enjoy it. If you are a fan of the Mistborn series, pick this up and have fun playing out the drama. If you have never read the books, try them out as well.