Published by: Passport Games Studio
# of Players: 2 to 4
Skyward is a card game designed to be played with up to 4 players. Each card contains a lot of information that is divided nicely around the card. The biggest plus in terms of components for Skyward is the amazing art. This art is what will drive people to give this game a try. The box art is very colorful and eye catching and the same can be said for the majority of the cards. Skyward contains to expansion modules that will increase the strategy of how the game is played compared to the base game. I am glad they added these 2 modules and I feel like you should always play with them, as they add a lot to the enjoyment of the game. The alliance module cards stick out as odd to me because they are very plain and do not contain the same outstanding art as the rest of the game. This feels out of place to me. The rule book explains how to play the game, but I was still left with questions unanswered that I still need to find clarification on. Skyward really contains great art, but also feels like it could have had a little bit more time devoted to the rule book and alliance cards.
Skyward is a card game about building a city and having the most victory points at the end of the game. Each round of Skyward is divided into two phases, the split and the launch. At the start of the game, a player will chosen however you decide to become Warden or first player. The center of the table will be one deck of cards called the launch deck that will be used for the whole game. The Warden will start the round with the split phase. During this phase, the Warden will draw face-up a number of cards determined by the player count (8,12.16). The Warden will then split the cards into separate piles for each player. That person could make a pile with no cards, but that would be very bad for the Warden. After the Warden has made piles of cards, they will add the Warden token to one of the piles. Starting with the player to the right of the Warden, that player will select a pile of cards to take into their hand. After that player has selected their hand, they will play any instant cards and then pass to the next player on the right. Each player will pick a pile of cards with the Warden getting the last pile of cards. That is why a pile of no cards is a very bad idea.
Once everyone has selected their piles the game will move on to the launch phase. During the launch phase, players starting with the new Warden (who also received a cog for taking the Warden token) will be able to place a building card from their hand to their play area if they can afford the cost. The cost is in the upper left hand corner of the card. To pay for the cost of the building, you will discard faction cards with those symbols or cogs can be used as a wild to substitute for one icon cost. Also some other expansion module cards may reduce the cost of certain types of buildings. Each building will have a shield that represents how many victory points you will receive at the end of the game. The lower left corner of building cards will show at what time the ability on the bottom of the card takes effect. At the end of your turn, you may discard 3 cards to gain a cog token and you can perform this action as many times as you want. Once your turn is over, you will discard down to 6 cards. Once everyone has finished their turn, you will start a new round with the split. Skyward ends when either the launch deck is empty or any player has 6 or more buildings in their play area. Scoring is very simple with totally up all the shield values and any end game bonuses you may receive. The player with the most wins the game and in case of a tie, the player with the most cogs wins. That is the explanation of the base game of Skyward. The 2 expansion modules add an extra layer of strategy to the game. The Alliance module adds a set of goal cards that you can earn extra victory points by have certain building factions in your play area. The Discord module adds powerful cards that provide great benefits, but also will give the player with the most discord cards a victory point penalty. I really like the Discord module and would not play without it.
Skyward is a entry gateway game into some of the many popular mechanics that we see being explored in modern gaming. I have always been a fan of the player dividing up the cards is the last to pick from the stacks. Great way to try and balance each stack while really hoping to get the one you really want. The overall theme of Skyward reminds me of my days playing World of Warcraft and venturing in the magical floating city of Dalaran. Combined that nostalgia with the amazing art and you get a game that I was instantly wanting to play. I enjoyed Skyward and would gladly play it again with some in my group that are not as experienced in the hobby. I find that most of the gamers that want a strategic experience will come out feeling like they want a little more to the game. There is plenty to the game to make it enjoyable for a long time and I think it works great for those lighter game nights. I wish the expansion modules had a little more clarification in the rules. There were several times that the game stopped due to trying to find an answer in the rules and not getting a solid answer back. The cards are designed very well with the idea of stacking them so that you can still view all the information is very smart. Though it saddens me to have to cover up the art. Some of the games I played felt ended to quickly and would have liked a few more rounds to feel like a complete game. You just barely get your game engine going and then it is already over. Skyward is a game I see hitting the table again, but not necessarily one I am going to be begging to get played. This is a great gateway game for those new set collection and engine building and works as great entry level to those and many other mechanics that we are seeing in more games recently. I think the Founders of Skyward would be pleased with the game designed about their city.
+Expansion modules that add to the experience when ready
+Card design works great for gameplay
+Easy to teach and learn
+Great introduction to set collection and engine building
- Expansion module rules could use some clarification
-Lack of art on the Alliance cards
-May be too simple for some gamers
-Feels like it ends to fast at times