Games I dig: GOSU

August 28, 2011 at 12:31 am (Gaming & RPGs)

GOSU (short for “Goblin Supremacy”) is a card game through which 2-4 players wage war by building armies with the 4 different factions of goblins – the Ancients, the Alphas, the Dark, the Fire, and the Meka.


Each player starts with a hand of cards each representing a different goblin, two activation tokens, and a random player is given the “advantage token.”

The cards are played onto the table, forming a grid 5 cards across by 3 high – for these reasons:

Each goblin card has a number of traits – the faction (color) it belongs to, what level it is (1-3), how many “battle points” it is worth (for use for the “big battle” at the end of each round), how much it costs to mutate (more on that later), and finally any special abilities it may have.

You start out on the first row by playing only Level 1 cards – these tend to be less powerful cards worth fewer battle points. The first card is free, and any cards from the same faction/color as that first card are also free – but if you want to play a card from a different faction, it’ll cost you 2 discarded cards from your hand.
You’ll have to decide if you want to focus on one or two factions, or try to use more even though it’ll cost you in trashed cards.

Level 1 cards are important, because without them, you can’t play Level 2 cards. Up to five Level 2 cards can be played on the second row, right above the row of Level 1 cards – however, there can’t be more Level 2 cards than Level 1, and you can’t play a Level 2 card from a faction that isn’t represented on Level 1 (If you want to play a Level 2 Meka card, for example, there needs to be a Level 1 Meka card already in play first).
This rule continues for Level 3 cards – to play one, that faction/color has to be represented on Level 2 and Level 1.

When you play a card, many cards have special abilities that come into play as soon as you place the card on the table. It may allow you to remove an opponent’s card from play, allow you to draw more cards, “trap” (or disable) a card for that turn, or any of a number of things. Special features like this can also sometimes be “activated” through the use of one of the 2 activation tokens you were given at the start.

In this, the game reminds me a fair bit of a very popular card game (at least at the time) that I used to play back in the late 90’s, Magic: The Gathering. The game was (and I suppose is – it still has a strong following) somewhat similar in that most cards had their own unique abilities printed on that card. GOSU, however, is not a “collectible” card game as as MTG is – you get everything you need in one box without the need to constantly buy “booster packs.”

So anyway, as I mentioned, each of these three rows is restricted to a maximum of five cards across. So what happens if you get a really good card in your hand, but there are no empty spots left to play it on? Well, that’s where mutation comes in.
Goblins who can mutate into other goblins allow you to replace that card with a different one, usually at the cost of 2-3 additional cards discarded from your hand. Not only is this good for getting new cards out, but some goblin cards have special abilities that are triggered when they are mutated – for example when one of the fire goblins mutates and is removed from the game, it takes one of your opponent’s goblins with it. (Another interesting bit is that the Dark goblins have a special ability to mutate into a discarded goblin – thus raising the dead from the grave, so to speak!).

So, eventually you’ll get to the point where you either can’t or don’t want to play any more cards – either your hand is empty, or you have cards left that you want to hold onto until the next round.
When this happens, you pass. Your opponent can now continue playing if he/she wants and is able to, or that player can pass as well. When all players have passed the “big battle” begins!

The battle points of all cards you have in play are added up, and the one who has the most wins a Victory Point. If there’s a tie, the person who is holding the Advantage Token wins.
And the game goes onto the next round.
First player to get to 3 Victory Points wins.

It’s a very fun game that keeps you on your toes and thinking, trying to figure out the best way to use the abilities of your goblins as best you can, while at the same time trying to figure out your opponent’s strategy: is he light on battle points because of a bad draw, or does have have a trick up his sleeve that he’s holding to thrash you with later?

This is a game I don’t own just yet, but it’s on the wish list to pick up at some time when I get the chance – in the meantime I’ve been playing online.

Interested in trying it out? I’ve been playing it online at BoardGame Arena – click here to sign up and check it out (this link also gives me referral points).

1 Comment

  1. Virtual Gaming Hoopla « Refractional Darkness said,

    […] GOSU is another one that I wrote much more extensively about here. […]

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