Designer: J.M. Ward
Publisher: Ultimate Custom Coins
A little over a week ago Ultra Coins launched on Kickstarter. I saw a few posts on Facebook about these collectible coins that are also a 2-8 player battle game and I was intrigued. Now I received a sample of two coins to check out and review. So, what's the deal with Ultra Coins? Are they really as cool as they look? Well, let's find out.
UPDATE: There ave been a few developments in the coins and the gameplay. Be sure to check out my UPDATE section below for the changes since my original review.
So, what are Ultra Coins? The aim of Ultra Coins is to be the next collectible rage. Collect the coins and then use them to battle the armies of other collectors. The coins spin on a nub on the back side and have battle stats along the outer edge. Stopping the coins with a finger lets you determine the attack strength for each round. The game is simple, but Ultra Coins are much more than just a simple game. They're coins that are a full 2" in diameter and 1/8" thick and made of solid brass. The Ultra Coins are more like medallions than coins and have a ton of heft.
|These are much bigger than any monetary coins you'll carry in |
your pocket. Even the US silver dollar is dwarfed
by the Ultra Coins.
|The coins are about twice as thick as a US quarter.|
|The coins look and feel stunning!|
|Even the backs look great. The nub in the center|
is what the coin spins on.
Unfortunately this an aspect of Ultra Coins that I can't comment on from direct experience. I was only sent two coins, which isn't quite enough to have a full battle. I received one Leader and one Spellcaster. Both appear to be proof of concept prototypes since the numbers on them don't quite match what the rules say they should be (e.g. the Spell Caster doesn't have a 0 value on its edge).
There are currently five different types of coins in two classes; Soldiers and Spell Casters. Soldiers are composed of Leaders, Elite Units, Regular Units, and Unconventional Units. Spell Casters aren't directly involved in combat, but provide support to the soldier units.
|The “Barbarian King” Leader coin.|
Check out how the coins spin.
Since I originally posted my review there have been a few new developments with the Ultra Coins, both the coin designs and the gameplay. The original rules of the game had special abilities based on the unit types. For example, Leaders could add a bonus to another unit's attack or defense, and all Leader units would have those same special abilities. Now there will be a lot more special abilities that are unique to each character. But, unlike Magic the Gathering where there is a lot of space on the cards for text, Ultra Coins don't have any space for paragraphs of text. The solution is to have keywords that indicate special abilities. The details of these keywords can be included in the rules, and a new coin design will include the keywords right on the coins. This results in the artwork and strength values each becoming a tiny bit smaller, but adds an inner ring to the coins that includes up to three special ability keywords as well as the name of the character.
I think this is a MAJOR improvement in the game and well worth the minor sacrifice in the size of the artwork. Now players have a choice of what abilities they want to include in their armies. This will really enhance the collectible aspect of the game, giving players a reason to purchase new coins for reasons other than having cool new artwork. With different characters having their own unique combination of abilities Ultra Coins now has a bit of a meta game and deeper strategy. The game is still casual and can be played quickly, which is a good thing, but now you can really mix and match coins to build a truly custom army.
|Updated coin design showing new inner ring with |
character name and special abilities.
As I said, I only received two prototype coins, so I'm unable to actually play the game, however my impression is that it is a very casual game that is light on strategy and high on luck. There doesn't appear to be the depth in the game that there is in other collectible games like Magic the Gathering. I don't foresee people spending hours working through their collection of Ultra Coins to build the best army, or pulling out an army and making lots of strategic decisions while battling an opponent.
|The “Futuristic Mage” Spell Caster coin.|
(A production coin should have a value of 0 on a Spell Caster coin.)
Preliminary Rating: 9/10 for quality, n/a* for gameplay
* Since I did not receive enough prototype components to actually play a game I cannot officially rate the game, however my expectation is that the gameplay would warrant a 6-7 rating.
This review is of a prototype game. Components and rules are not final and are subject to change.