Card Game Review – Thunderstone Advance: Worlds Collide

AEG5021Thunderstone Advance: Worlds Collide contains the following cards, all of which have appeared in earlier versions of Thunderstone:

Actually, wait, I’m not listing that out. What a waste of time. There are a bunch of cards in this game, all of which were already released. Basically, this is Thunderstone: Greatest Hits. Reviewing this one is a little like reviewing a Van Halen compilation album, except you don’t have to weed through all the crappy Van Hagar to get to the David Lee Roth. If you just want to see if you like the band, this is a great place to start. If you’ve already bought every LP from Van Halen to 1984, you already have all this stuff and the two-CD set is a waste of money.

Although, to be fair, this might not actually be a total waste. Worlds Collide contains cards from the first six sets, including some promos, but in this case, they’ve been updated to be compatible with Thunderstone Advance. If you’re mightily annoyed by playing with cards that have the wrong terminology on them, this might be a chance to dump the old, outdated garbage and pick up some winners. More likely, though, you’re fine playing with the old stuff because you’ve been playing this for years and already know how everything works, in which case you’re just buying the AC/DC live album because you actually think Brian Johnson is palatable when he does Dirty Deeds, even though he sounds like he gargles with glass shards and Bon Scott made that song wicked awesome.

Far more likely, then, is that you’re interested in Worlds Collide because you’re looking for a place to jump into Thunderstone. And if that’s the case, then this is an excellent place to start. Thunderstone Advance is a hell of a lot better than Thunderstone Not Advanced, mostly because of the Prepare action that alleviates a lot of the frustration you find with the original game. While Worlds Collide doesn’t add any new cards, it does contain a set that has been curated and tuned to make sure that you’re getting a balanced, entertaining set that fans and creators agree make for a pretty decent game.

Keep in mind, however, that even with a pre-tuned selection of cards, Thunderstone Advance is still not a perfect game. There’s still always that chance you wind up with one hero who is great if you have spells, but the only spell you get is kind of worthless. You could get a hero who rocks against disease-spreading monsters, and then face a bunch of monsters who never bring the diseases. No matter how carefully selected Worlds Collide might be, you’re still at the mercy of the gods of deck-building. Just like that one game of Dominion when no two cards worked together that almost made you throw your entire collection into the furnace, Thunderstone – Advance or Otherwise – is still prone to just having a crappy build.

That crappy build problem could have been alleviated with some suggested combinations. It’s a shame that the game doesn’t come with more of those. The default mode is to use the randomizers, and while that does create some fun spontaneity, it also has a lot of potential to make a frustrating display of crap. Worlds Collide comes with one sample setup for your first game, which is just not enough.

Still, though, if you want to find out if you might like Thunderstone, Worlds Collide is an excellent way to find out. And if you missed a couple sets somewhere, leaving you with a hole in your collection, then maybe you should stop thinking of your games as a collection because let’s face it, once you take the plastic off the box the value drops to less than the price of a package of Nutter Butters. They aren’t really collectible if they’re worthless, are they?

Sooner or later, someone will post a list of all the cards in Thunderstone Advance: Worlds Collide, and then you can find out exactly what cards you are missing. It won’t be me, though – I simply cannot be bothered. If the card list is going to help you decide if you want to buy Worlds Collide, then you probably don’t.


2-5 players

Lots of good cards, tweaked for Advance
A great place to jump into Thunderstone, or just fill out your set if you don’t have the first six releases

Still Thunderstone, which I seriously cannot decide if I like

Want to find a good deal on Worlds Collide? Here you go:


One Response to “Card Game Review – Thunderstone Advance: Worlds Collide”

  1. Joe says:

    As one of the Thunderstone Advance Design Team, I’m glad you (kinda) liked Worlds Collide. I’m similarly glad you recognize that Diamond Dave is the only true frontman for Van Halen. When we were picking cards for Worlds Collide and Into the Abyss, we went for powerful, interesting cards while avoiding broken ones. There’s nothing in either set that is “buy this or lose” While it’s true that there is nothing new in Worlds Collide, as you mentioned, it does have the modern templating which I definitely prefer. Also, Into the Abyss DOES have new cards (in addition to the other reprints), and actually has cards that require Worlds Collide (or the earlier printings thereof) to be played with. These two are in one man’s opinion, the single best place to get on board with Thunderstone Advance. They play with any other Thunderstone, and self-contained, they are pretty awesome. When you do play, do you prefer the standard Thunderstone or the Epic variant?