Call to Glory is a card game by Michael Schacht and published by White Goblin Games. I discovered this game when it was implemented in the online gaming site yucata.de. The basic game consists of 9 types of cards (I’m not sure you’d say suit of cards as the cards of each type are identical). They each depict a Japanese characters and have a number on that corresponds to its value (it is also the number of that type of cards). The theme isn’t really important as the game is quite abstract, indeed I found out this is a re-themed version of an earlier game by the same designer called “Crazy Chickens” with some minor changes to allow up to four players (crazy chicken was just for 2 players) and an add-on optional play involving ninja figures. The re-theme will probably make it more appealing to the casual buyer as the original did make it look like a game just for kids.
The aim of the game is to collect sets of the same type (which sounds a familiar mechanic found in other games) gaining you points depicted on the cards and the winner is the person who has the most points. The game is set up with each player getting a starting hand and the rest of the cards split into two draw decks, with space in between for two discard piles. On your turn you take two cards drawing from the two draw decks and the top card on the discard piles, but you must take cards from different piles, quite important as I’ll get to. You then have two options either discard a card from your hand or lay down a set. By repeatedly doing the former each time on your turn you increase your hand size and so be able to lay down sets. What’s a set – a group of at lease 2 of the same type (or 3 for some of the card types if more than 2 are playing – one of the changes from crazy chicken than was just 2-player). Sounds simple? Well, there can only be one set of each type on the table so if there is already a set of that type down, whether it be yours or another players, then you must exceed the number of cards with the new set. So if there is a set of 4 Samurai on the table, you must lay down at least 5. The owner of the set that is being replaced then places them onto one discard pile (this is where the choosing cards from different piles is relevant as it means a player cannot pick up two from a recently discarded set in one turn). If you are the owner of the set being replaced you still discard them, not add to them. Replacing your own set might sound like a daft thing to do, but it does happen. The game round continues until a scoring is triggered, which is either there is a set of all nine types out there, one player has six sets currently, or a draw deck runs out. Scoring ends the round (you get the value of each of your sets, the number of cards in each set is irrelevant) and you set up a new round (taking all cards together and setting up same as the start). After four rounds the player with the highest accumulative score wins.
Call to Glory is a fairly abstract game, and although you may think the set replacing action could be aggressive, it doesn’t play like that. You need to watch what other players are taking from discard piles and being aware of how close you are to the end of the round. The basic game does feel a bit too long (four rounds of exactly the same thing) and playing a single round makes a nice filler game. The game does come with 12 Imperial Task cards and 4 Ninja miniatures which are used for variations on the basic game, though I will comment on these in a future post when I’ve played them.