Choose and order, pick a hero and build your deck to take down your opponent in Lightseekers by Playfusion. Lightseekers is a dueling game that brings something new to the CCG duel genre.
What is Lightseekers like?
Collectible card games (CCGs) are either loved or hated by most board and card gamers because of the business model behind the game itself, which consists of buying packs of random cards hoping to find what you want inside. Lightseekers is no different than other CCGs in this regard, but that is not what I want to talk about in this review. Does Lightseekers bring something unique and interesting as a game itself?
Lightseekers is primarily a one vs one card game, but it can also be played multiplayer where you attack the person on your left and defend against the person on your right. For the most part the game plays very similar between multiplayer and two-player. For the purposes of this review I will only be looking at the two-player option of the game.
Lightseekers is primarily a one vs one card game similar in idea to other games such as Magic: The Gathering, Pokemon and Yu-gi-oh. Each player brings a deck of cards that they have constructed from their collection of cards. In Lightseekers you bring a deck of 36 cards including a hero card, 5 combo cards and 30 additional cards (which may include action and item cards). The hero card gives you your starting health, the elements available to that player (which determines what you put into your deck) and a potential ability as well. The combo cards give you a strong action that requires more than a normal action card to play. The action cards give a wide variety of options to help you as well as hurt your opponent.
Each turn the players get 2 actions. Players can either draw 2 cards, play 2 action cards, play 1 action card and draw 1 card, or play a combo card (this costs both of the player’s actions). There are a myriad of different types of cards and abilities on the cards that can change what you are allowed to do that turn, but for the most part you play the 1 or 2 action cards you want on a turn and then, if you have any remaining actions, you may draw 1 or 2 cards. When playing action cards you must have access (shown on your hero or item card) to the element at the top of the card and can only play 1 of each element unless you have superior access to that element allowing you to play 2 of that type. In order to play a combo card you use both actions of that turn and return cards to your deck matching the element symbols on the top of the card.
There are several different types of cards that can be played. Item cards attach to your hero and potentially give you access to different elements and/or abilities. Buff cards stay in play and rotate each turn giving you bonuses, dealing damage or healing you as they turn. Defend cards give you health or protect from attacks and attack cards boost damage dealt or deal damage themselves.
Once a player has been reduced to zero health, the game is over.
As much as I struggle with the idea of collectible card games, mostly because they can be very expensive in order to compete, I do enjoy Lightseekers quite a bit. The game has a pretty low barrier to entry, other than cost. The toughest part is building a deck, but there are lists online and playing with a starter deck is a great way to begin. After only a couple plays with a starter deck a player can see what kinds of things they would do to change their deck.
The most unique thing that really adds to the fun of the game are the potential combos you can do with the Buff cards. Buff cards are cards that stay out in play either until they are removed or rotate out. The cards normally rotate 90° every turn, but some Buff cards never rotate and others only rotate when certain things happen. The Buff cards give you more ways to hurt your opponent or help you on each turn and playing Buff cards at the right time can be really exciting when you are able to do much more than on a normal turn.
The Combo cards bring with them some massive swings in momentum. Each deck must contain 5 Combo cards and when played at the right time they can make you feel powerful by sealing major damage, heal you from the brink or something else that is potentially game-changing.
Another thing I really enjoy are the difficult choices. You only have so many cards in hand and deciding to pass and draw cards may not sound like an exciting turn, but even that can be what sets you up to win. Sometimes you have cards of one element and you want to play them all, but you can’t because your hero can only play one of them per turn, so determining the order can be a tough decision and determine the outcome of the game. There are so many tough decisions every turn which makes Lightseekers a very good game.
Another unique aspect to the game that I did not discuss is that each physical card you have can be scanned in and used in an app version of the game. I personally love this as it allows me to build and try out decks more often than I could otherwise.
- Barrier to entry is low and the starter decks provide a good jumping off point
- Each turn you face tough decisions
- The Buff cards provide a unique opportunity to create game-changing turns
- The collectible aspect will turn people away
- There is a lot of text on the cards, so knowing each card is vital
The gameplay is pretty straightforward and the basics are easy enough to understand. The difficulty lies in the deck-building and strategy behind when to play what card. Players from a pretty young age can grasp the rules of the game without a problem, but it takes a good mind to master the game.
- Players: 2+
- Playing time: 10 – 20 minutes
- Suggested age: 8+