SKIRMISH: Modern Card Warfare
“SKIRMISH: Modern Card Warfare” (which will be known henceforth as “SKIRMISH”) is a two player card game with a rock-paper-scissors theme. Players will be using a combination of strategy and bluffing tactics to try and capture the enemy flag. Before we start digging out trenches and defusing bombs, I’d like to thank Jayson Murray for sending me a free review copy. While the game just recently succeeded in a Kickstarter campaign, the copy I received represents the final product.
*Editor’s Note: More players can join in on the fun if you have two or more copies of the game.
Cards – The only component that comes with this game (besides the manual) are two decks of fifty-eight playing cards each. Both decks are identical in terms of content and number of different card types. There is an “abilities” reference card that players can consult as they need to.
Setup & Gameplay
Each player will receive a deck of cards. They then pick out the flag and seven defense cards from their deck and lay them out in front of them, with the flag card (face up) behind the row of defense cards (“X” side face down). After that, the decks are shuffled and each player draws five cards from their own decks to form their hand.
Game turns are fairly straight forward in that both players will choose a card from their hand, place them face down in front of their defensive lines, and flip them at the same time. The general rule of thumb is that whoever has the higher number wins the “skirmish” and the loser must flip one of their defense cards to the “X” side. Both players discard their “skirmisher” to their triage / discard pile and draw back up to a five card hand.
Of course, the battles in this game are not always that clear-cut. There are some special rules and abilities that players will need to account for, depending on what cards are played during a turn. Sergeants, for example, can turn a bomb card against its owner and can defeat Generals and Field Marshals (cards high in rank) by utilizing its sniper ability. Some of the lower ranked cards have a reinforce ability that allows them to add their strength to the current skirmish. Bolster Defense cards are available to help the game last a bit longer and spy cards can assist players in determining what your opponent has in their hand, among other things.
The goal of the game is to take out an opponent’s line of defense cards by winning skirmishes, then win one more skirmish to capture the flag. Whoever does this first, wins the game!
The above is simply an overview of the game, but should still give you an idea of how it is played. To see the rules in their entirety, please check out the manual, located here:
In terms of card quality, I didn’t have any issues reading the text. The instructions were an easy read and I didn’t have to spend a lot of time understanding the rules. I did have to consult the manual every now and again when it came to exceptions to the main game, like how spies interact with bolster defense cards, for example. The only thing I was disappointed about was the box itself, which was made of a clear plastic that wasn’t all that sturdy and user-friendly. I simply rubber banded the cards together afterwards along with the manual, doing away with the box.
In terms of gameplay, “SKIRMISH” reminds me of “Stratego” a bit. After all, you’ve got bombs, spies, flags, units of varying rank…and to top that off, some units have special abilities that no other unit has. For those of who have played and liked “Stratego”, I think you’ll enjoy the similarities between the two games…I did. Speaking of which, I like how the different cards come together and interact with each other. While the spy can be a devastating tool in determining what a player has in their hand, a spy buster card can turn the spy around and allow the owner of the spy buster card to see what their opponent has in their hand instead. The spy also has the added benefit of allowing the owner to pick what card their opponent should play next, and with the spy buster card, this effect can be reversed. It’s a vicious rock-paper-scissors-lizard-Spock cycle, but it works fairly well and made me think about what cards I should and shouldn’t play based on what my opponent had in their hand at the time.
Vinnie (11) didn’t have any issues understanding the rules. We both had the same learning curve in that we had to get used to what all of the different cards did and how best to utilize them. After a few playthrus, the abilities became second nature to us and we managed to knock out games in as little as fifteen minutes. We found it easy to play, making it an easy recommend to those who have kids and are looking for a new card game to introduce them to. Since it plays fairly quickly, it serves as an ideal travel game and something you could play on a school night. Overall, it’s a fun game that is worth a look, though I do think $19.99 is a bit steep for a card game of this caliber. Some of the other card games I reviewed with similar average play times (“Ruse”, “12 Days”, etc.) go for about five or ten dollars less. I also would have liked to have had more than one reference card. Still, if “SKIRMISH” is within your budget, I’d recommend picking it up.
Final Verdict: 5/10
You can stay up to date on and purchase “SKIRMISH” by visiting the official site, here: