Sword Art Online has been one of the few anime to truly capture my imagination the way anime used to do back when I was in high school. While there are parts that are better than others and certain characters fair better has the series progresses, the over all package of Sword Art Online is one that I’ve throughly enjoyed without reserve. Heck, its probably why its one of my top rewatched animes of the last few years. The top honors of that goes to Cowboy Bebop and Yu Yu Hakusho. That is why the only two hobby games for the series hold a special place in my collection.
First, and foremost, is the Sword Art Online line of expansions for Bushiroad’s hit trading card game- Weiss Schwarz.
Weiss Schwarz, for those unaware, is a card game thats brings together multiple anime and video game properties to battle it out. The likes of Attack on Titan, Persona 5, and even the upcoming Cardcaptor Sakura set battle on “stages” using character cards, event cards and Climax cards (think Triggers from CardFight! Vanguard). Generally speaking, decks are played series-specific, meaning no Kirito fighting along side Even Yeager.
To date, there have been 8 Sword Art Online releases:
- Sword Art Online Trial Deck
- Sword Art Online Booster Box
- Both of these cover the first 14 episodes, or Aincrad arc, of the first season.
- Sword Art Online Vol. 2 Booster Box
- Covers the final 11 episodes, or Fairy Dance arc, of the first season.
- Sword Art Online II Trial Deck
- Sword Art Online II Extra Booster Box
- Covers the first 14 episodes, or Phantom Bullet arc, of the second season.
- Sword Art Online II Vol. 2 Extra Booster Box
- Covers the final 10 episodes, or the Calibur and Mother’s Rosario arcs, of the second season.
- Sword Art Online Re: Edit
- Reprint set of 100 previous released cards + 19 new ones
- Sword Art Online The Movie -Ordinal Scale-
- Cards from the theatrical movie of the same name.
Like all of the Weiss Schwarz series, they use still shots and promotional art from the anime to make the cards. For some of the cards, it can look a little wonky (is that an ok word to use?) like the Asuna on the left. For others, though, they can look amazing, like the Asuna on the right.
Interesting enough, it is also because of this game that I ever became remotely interested in any of Bushiroad’s other products. We were walking the hall of GenCon for the first time and we’d stumbled across their booth. Back then they actually had a lot of tables set up and product for sale. I digress. We demoed it and the deck I got to demo was for Sword Art Online.
Another bonus is that, with my love of playmats, official Sword Art Online playmats are some of the most gorgeous around:
My current build is a little scatter brained, but I love it. It is primarily the original starter with some random bits thrown in for good measure. I was super excited with the starter because it had a RRR “Asuna- Start of the Battle” inserted.
The other game to appear with the Sword Art Online name on it is from Japanime Games called Sword Art Online: Sword of Fellows.
Launched on KickStarter last year, players play as their favorite characters from the original arc- Kirito, Asuna, Agil, Silica, Klein and Lisbeth. Games play out over four scenarios, each representing a level of the game from the show. The first three levels (Lower, Middle and Upper) have multiple options and one is randomly drawn for each, giving way to lots of play throughs with different outcomes. Players can earn itms to help them beat later bosses and level up for better and stronger attacks.
One of the things I absolutely love about the game is that, even sleeved, all of the cards and components (dice and tokens) fit back into the small box it comes in. That means it is easily stored and taken with you so you can enjoy the world of Sword Art Online anywhere and everywhere you can find a flat surface! Bonus note: This KickStarter had one thing I wish every KickStarter would offer- Sleeves for all of their different sized cards! Seriously, a life saver.
I really wish there were more games for the Sword Art Online universe. Yes, it is a franchise that lends itself to video games more than a physical medium, but there are still a number of amazing possibilities. A small army miniatures game in the same vein as Infinity from Corvus Belli exploring the front lines of the dungeons would be amazing. Think of the possibilities of Sword Art Online RPG where if you die, you have to preroll a whole brand new character? At the very least, I would love to see a new card set. With the third series recently launching, I have no doubt Bushiroad will put out another expansion for Weiss Schwarz but what about Jasco Games and Universal Fight System? That would be a killer set!
What do you all think? Should we have more games with the SAO IP or should the series stick to what it already does. Sound off in the comments below and let us know.
Until next time, keep your dice warm and happy gaming!