For Glory – Card Game Review – Spielcraft Games

For Glory – Card Game Review – Spielcraft Games


Some things in history are crying out to be turned into forms of tabletop entertainment. In For Glory you are trying to become the leader of a successful Gladiator School, recruiting the best fighters on offer, bringing on politicians to support you and even learn tactics that you can bring to the fight. Earn enough glory and you will be declared the best and greatest at all you do and have a straight Roman Road named after you. Maybe get a sword. Maybe you’ll end up being played in a film by an actor who decides to die halfway through so you need to be replaced digitally. Who knows? Live by the words.. etc.


For Glory is offering you a deck building game to be played between two people. Split into two main phases, where you will build you deck to increase your skills, gain influence and hopefully win through in the second phase where you will be pitting your champions against each other in hand to sword combat. Sometimes with armour and sometimes you’ll just be running around in your pants, but you’ll be a rippling Adonis, so let them stare for goodness sake. 


The Machinations phase is where things begin and where you’ll play cards from your hand of seven in order to start building up your deck. You have a choice of purchasing cards from three possible supplies. One offers money and allies in the Senate. The other two will offer Gladiators and potential tactics that you can use in the arena. Off the bat you’re immediately having to make decisions based on whether you want to build a war chest to spend later, or start building your squad to battle. Cheaper champions are weaker and easier to register for the arena events, while more expensive and more powerful ones will often require the influence of a senator in order to allow you to field then in the main event. Tactics can be reserved for use in the main event in a clever mechanic that allows you to buy back the entire reserve deck providing that you have the necessary funds to do so. Only two arenas are ever in play out of the potential three available and only one offers a chance to claim the arena card. Entering into battle is mostly under the player’s control. The contest will only start once the total value of the bloodlust of the combined gladiators reaches the value required by a boast card. As the game progresses, the amount required to trigger the Arena battles increase and it means that you need to field more powerful characters which forces you to invest in the team you control. Once the Arena battles are triggered you will then play through the battles in each of the two Arenas, with the fleeting glory Arena resolving first, and the Lasting Glory second. Arenas are treated as separate locations, so you can’t use powers between them. Initiative is decided and then attacks are made, tactics are played and if you have left your opponents without fighters to continue then you win glory based on the arena that you fought in. The underdog gets the crowd’s favour token and the next round of Machinations begin before entering combat again. 


The fighting goes on until one player has managed to gain six points of glory and goes down in the History books as a wonderful, charming and generous lanistas. The most important thing about this is that in one round you can potentially win up to three glory points. For Glory is designed to be fast and messy. There’s no hidden point scoring and how close you are to victory is always easy to see. 


Frantic and Kinetic is how I describe the artwork in For Glory. There’s colour and action and you can almost smell the iron and blood as it sits on the table in front of you. Not all of the artwork hits the spot in terms of being accurate, with extra six packs and muscles on some of the gladiators, and other parts looking like an extra hour at the drawing table could have given them a sharper finish but when it’s laid out on the table, it works very well. The glory and damage tokens are wonderful looking and while I’m being an arse about some of the art, the iconography and the text is all fairly easy to make out and understand. It is not a strain to understand where you are in the scheme of things with a quick look over the table and in your deck. Thank goodness they’ve gone for obvious symbols for which deck certain cards come from. There is nothing more painful than having to take apart a deck and reorganise it back to its starting state when you’ve got nothing to reference in terms of which cards go where and to that I’m extremely grateful for what Spielcraft have done here. All in all, For Glory looks brilliant on the table and works within the them with how the Arenas are placed when you play. 


For Glory has a generously sized rulebook that is well laid out and gives decent examples of gameplay. It’s one of these games that I found need to be laid out and played in order to be learned properly. While it handles explaining concepts and the main mechanics really well, it’s not a game I would suggest you teach as you play, as there are a few concepts that need to be understood before you start to make buying decisions on the cards. That being said, if you play a dummy then you might find, like I did that the main gameplay elements snap into place pretty quickly. As with a lot of deck builders, the learning is going to come in over quite a few sessions as you decide what you are going to start with in terms of funds, fighters or tactics. It’s a well put together rulebook that explains key concepts very well. 


Unlike Ridley Scott’s epic, this isn’t going to take two and a half hours of your time to get through. One of the things I appreciated about For Glory is that the winning requirement is much lower than I expected. You’ll maybe spend more time in the Machinations phase than the actual fighting as that is where the majority of the deck building occurs, but I can see games burning through in about forty five minutes once you have a few under your sword belt. Set aside about ninety minutes for your first game and you’ll probably come out the other side with change. 

Final Thoughts

One of the main clever tricks that For Glory achieves is to delay the inevitable combat. That sounds weird in a game which is all about combat. But I’ve played too many battle type games where you feel like you are stumbling into the fight rather than arriving through choice, prepared and ready for battle. With the bloodlust mechanic, it’s possible to keep the arenas closed until you are ready to fight and force your opponent player to field a hand of smaller less powerful gladiators if they are so itching for some steel on steel hot action. I see wins will be handed out to those who plan and prepare and stash cards for a rainy day over those charging in with a loin cloth and confidence. While there appears to be a lot to learn, I found that it is actually just a deck builder with a few extra trinkets and not meant in a derogatory sense. For Glory does a lot of things right here, from the clean card layout to the easy to understand rulebook there’s been a lot of effort to help you get this game to the table and play. Are you not entertained? I think in this case, you will be. 

Any Tips? 

Concentrate on your money and senators in the first instance as you’ll need both to purchase and field the more powerful gladiators. 

Game Design – Alex Wolf

Illustration – Jacob Atienza 

Graphic Design – Amit Ghadge

This review is based on the retail version of the game provided to us by the designer and publisher. We were not paid for this review. We give a general overview of the gameplay and so not all of the mechanical aspects of the game may be mentioned.

The majority of the games that we are play are going to take a reasonable number of sessions and playthroughs to fully understand every possibility that they offer. We hope this write up gives you an idea of whether or not this game is something that you will consider playing or even add to your collection. Our Six Degrees of Expectation have been written to make it easier for you to find out what is important to you as a player. Even if we don’t like something, hopefully it helps you to decide if it is something that you should find out more about. We always suggest you check out a gameplay video to give you a better understanding of the game as it is played. 

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