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Aethermon: Collect... Is the Gameplay as good as the art?

A set collection card game that can be played in either cooperative or competitive modes straight out of the box. With a deck of cards and acrylic standee, it doesn't take long to get yourself started in this game.

Aethermon: Collect card game set up

We first came across this game at UK Games Expo 2024 where the publisher Aethermon Studios was displaying it. The Australian award winning game comes in a pocket sized box with 60 cards total and an acrylic standee of the main characters and provides an eye catching appeal when laid out on the table.

First Impressions

The box itself has some lovely manga style artwork on the cover which seamlessly flows over the edges and between the two parts of the box. This beautiful artwork continues onto the cards and standee inside as well. The rules are all printed onto cards to save you having to faff about with a pamphlet. In all honesty, although this is a deign style I like for rules, I did feel that the order of the cards could have been designed better to allow for a more seamless reading of how to play each of the 2 play styles in the box. That being said, all the information was there, it just took a couple of readthroughs/playthroughs to realise we misunderstood 1 of the rules at 2 player co-operative play as you need to set it up for 4 players instead of 2. The cards however, are a really nice thickness and the acrylic standee has been designed really well.

Game Play Overview

The game is played over a series of turns with just a few tweaks between Cooperative and Competitive play. In both modes you will set up a number of cards into a grid depending on the player count, leaving the central space empty for the standee. Players then take it in turns to move the characters either horizontally or vertically any number of spaces, taking the card that it lands on. When choosing which direction you go, you'll want to carefully consider the Aethermon that you'll land on and it's location within the grid as you're trying to collect sets of them but with only being able to move vertically or horizontally you'll be somewhat at your opponent or comrades mercy leading to some great strategic play and player interaction. You'll keep taking it in turns until neither player can move to an available Aethermon (unless playing 2 player cooperative, in which case you'll end the game when 1 of you cannot go). Scores are calculated based on what you collected with completed sets of 2 or more Aethermon scoring double and the player with the highest score wins in competitive, or you compare your score to the chart to see how well you did as a team in Co-operative.

Pros and Cons

Aethermon:Collect had a surprising amount of strategy for such a simple card game. It has a great puzzle element to it as well as the set collection which was a really nice discovery. When it comes to the box, there is some space in there, however this allows for the cards to be sleeved and still fit inside with ample room for the standee whilst also being able to close the box fully. As I mentioned previously, I did feel the rules could benefit from a bit of reorganisation as I felt that they jumped between the co-operative and competitive modes quite a bit, but the rules were clear and concise when provided. The game is a great travel size game that will fit in most bags and doesn't take up a great deal of space to layout so will be a perfect game to take on holiday and enjoy in the sun.

Final Verdict

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this game and how different the two variations felt despite not having drastically different rules. It's certainly not a game that will take up your evening, but will be a great addition to your travel/pocket games collection for fitting in when out and about or whilst waiting for your meal at a restaurant/café.

In conclusion, we would rate this game a 9.3/10


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