Game review: Thunder & Lightning is a two-player fantasy battle between Thor and Loki
Posted May 30, 2016
In the Norse mythological game Thunder & Lightning, two players take on the role of Thor or Loki to compete in an epic battle. Each player uses a deck of powerful cards to fight battles, keep an opponent guessing and strategically attack to achieve victory.
Each player begins with a hand of nine cards and must decide which three to play on the table. Cards are placed face down in rows and columns facing an opponent. Cards are limited to three columns and four rows. The front row of each player's cards is the battle area where facing cards fight for dominance. Because cards are face down, a player never knows what an opponent has played until a battle is initiated. Gameplay is similar to the classic game Stratego.
On a turn, a player gets to take from one to three actions. The number of actions is determined by how many columns are occupied on that player's side. Actions include attacking an opponent's card on the table or in his or her hand, drawing more cards, playing cards to the table or playing cards with special abilities.
One of the coolest parts of this game is all of the different cards available to play. Many of them have special powers that bend the rules or create a unique effect. For example, when the nightmare card is revealed, it wipes out every card in both players' columns in which the nightmare card is discovered.
Attack cards have a number between zero and seven and when two face-to-face cards attack each other, they are revealed. The card numbers are compared, and the highest number wins. The loser must place his or her card in the discard pile. A variety of other special rules can affect the attack value, but typically the highest-numbered card wins. When a card is discarded, that column slides down so a new card is face to face with the victor.
There are three ways to win Thunder & Lightning. If a player can wipe out all the cards of an opponent on the table, he or she wins. If players cannot take all of their actions on a turn, they lose. Or, if a player can reveal a single special card an opponent possesses (Odin's crown for Loki and Odin's ring for Thor), he or she will win.
There are a variety of two-player games on the market, and this is one of the best. The game provides a lot of strategic elements with all of the different cards available to play. The theme fits very well with the gameplay and artwork. It is also a great deal of fun to play.
Thunder & Lightning is a remake of the game Hera and Zeus, which came out in 2000. This version features the same gameplay but the cards are bigger and made of better-quality linen. A few of the card powers are implemented differently, but the game is very similar. This is an excellent game and worthy of a gamer's attention. Get a copy before it goes out of print again. Click here for more information.