Got a penchant to rule the Underworld? Well, you just might get to be the ruling party in The Majority 2, a card game from Japan featuring Chibi style illustrations of angels, devils, witches, and other opposing forces of the nether world. The Majority 2, a sequel to the card game, The Majority, offers a lot more than one might expect at first glance. Behind the Chibi style artwork is a fun and stimulating card game specifically designed for two players. You can back The Majority 2 on Kickstarter right now.
The rules for The Majority 2 are straightforward and easy to understand, however the available choices on a player’s turn can leave some players scratching their heads while they think of the best play. The goal is simple enough: play cards in a stack forming a column of five cards with three or more being of the same faction. The suggested simplicity is deceiving however, as the luck of the draw and your opponent will try to prevent you from achieving this goal. The first player complete five columns triggers the game end, then point totals are calculated.
There are two rounds of play per turn, one for free but without the benefit of its ability text, and one for full price and full functionality of its special ability text. This is a very neat mechanic that allows for some decent card combinations early on that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. It also feels very balanced since the most costly cards have the best powers. These cards can be played and added to your party, which counts toward your Underworld power, but their abilities aren’t activated and therefore their full potential isn’t realized. Of course, you can always try to wait until you can pay for the powerful cards, taking full advantage of their powers, but by that time your opponent might have the upper hand.
The most powerful cards can only be played when certain conditions are met, such as having one or more of the card’s factions on your side. Since this isn’t part of the card’s ability, this condition must be met, meaning these cards cannot be played for free to ignore the rule.
Another really cool mechanic of the game is that a player’s hand of cards is shared and passed back and forth after each turn. It doesn’t take long to learn to enjoy this mechanic and use it to undermine your opponent. Each player also has a separate reserve of cards for their personal use. At the start of a player’s turn, they may choose to exchange their entire hand for all of the cards in their reserve. It is an all or nothing type deal. One of the ways cards are added to a player’s reserve is to force the other player to draw cards. This is where the shared hand can get nasty. Oh look at that, I used all of my cards and pass you nothing, forcing you to draw which gains me cards for my reserve. Or, did I give you a hand of all Dragons while you are trying to complete a column of Reapers? Looks like you’ll have to swap out the hand for your reserve if you want to play, which means I’ll get your leftovers for my turn. That is how one gains the upper hand in the Underworld. The timing of which cards to play becomes very important.
In addition to the cards, the game also comes with 5 wooden discs (used to change the faction of the cards), 40 money tokens, and a starting player marker. All of this makes for a great little card game. I mentioned balance above and each time I played The Majority 2, the game felt very balanced, for both players. The games were close and it felt like they could go either way regarding which player would be the winner. As far as two player card games go, this game is definitely high on my list. Even the wife likes it. The rules are easy enough to entice non-gamers, but there is enough meat to it to hold the attention of hobby gamers.
One final note: there can be a lot of “take that” in the game, and so players that are sensitive to such things, well, they aren’t fit to rule the Underworld in the first place so laugh in their face as you take your rightful place as the Supreme Overlord of Darkness!
(Note, the review copy featured in this review is a prototype and all cards and components represent the prototype quality only. Also, certain aspects of the game, such as the rulebook, were not graded due to the prototype status.)