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Guardians claim to be a game based upon the "true past", when powerful beings called Vierkun Guardians fought each other over the destiny of reality - using Babes, Beer, and Gold. And little things called Schnee, with lots of fur and big fangs. And Supermodels. We can't forget lhe Supermodels. Needless to say. the game doesn't take itself (or anything it touches on) terribly seriously.

The game system itself is, however, pretty good. Each player starts with three location cards (their "strongholds") and between the players rest six empty spaces - conquer all six to win. Players do this by assembling an army of creatures, placing them under a mystical shield, and sending them off onto the board. When your army meets an opposing army, you fight. Combat is awfully quick and decisive. You can also win by destroying five of your opponent's shields (i.e. wipe out his entire army five times). Or, if you can make it across the board and attack his three stronghold cards, you might be able to take them out. Or. if you are really foolish, there are rules for attacking a Guardian. A great initiative system adds to the fast-paced nature of this game. Strategy comes in when you have to decide where to place your armies, whom to put in which army and how to resolve combats. Also. unlike many games with a great combat system. this one has spells you can cast at your opponent.

While not a hit, Guardians was admired for its art. (Its manufacturer, FPG, was then one of the leading makers of "art" trading cards, and many cards in the CCC were from artists who had done sets for FPG. including Brom and Don Maitz.) The card art was chosen to look inspiring, mythical, and humorous. The Ploogak the Conqueror card may be a giant frog in candy-striped tights, but he is a fearsome critter. The statistics on the cards are easy to make out, and there are only a couple of them, so the art is extra-large on many of the cards.

Expansion: Revised Edition

This appears to be just a second printing, and we have not observed any difference in secondary market prices whatsoever.

Expansion: Dagger Isle

Subtitled the "Western Expanslon", Guardians: Dagger Isle adds everyone's favorite party animals to the wacky Guardians mix: Pirates! There are also Spirits, Undead, Angels, Devils, Evil Twins, Wanderers, Giants, Slag Beasts, and Barnyard Animals to go around (though how a Buzzard qualifies as a Barnyard Animal is beyond us).

An interesting aside: Much of the art from the Guardians game was later resurrected in the Stratego Legends board game by Avalon Hill.

Expansion: Drifter's Nexus

Billed as an "Even More Western Guardians Expansion", Drifter's Nexus brings a touch of the Old West to the Guardians lineup... a touched touch, that is. Cards such as Captain South America, Chickenhead McCracken and Lizards on the Toast added even more weirdness to a game that was already several light years past left field.

The gooftude even extends to the booster box, which has a "Scratch and Sniff spot on the bottom - or it would if FPG could afford it. "You cannot possibly imagine the cost of producing a real Scratch and Sniff sticker," the box reads, "Please feel free to smell the box anyhow and imagine the odor of your choice."

Expansion: Necropolis Park

What do you get when you cross Ancient Egyptians (mostly dead ones), dinosaurs (mostly live ones), lots of beer, a couple babes, and lots of dead cats? We don't know, either, but we think it would look a lot like the Necropolis Park expansion for Guardians.

The expansion that "went so far west it came back out of the east", Necropolis Park was supposed to be followed in 1997 by the expansion Seven Seas and a Metallic (presumably holofoil) version. But hobbled by a declining market for its main staple, entertainment cards, the failure of its other CCG, Dark Age, and the less-than-hoped for response to Guardians, FPG left the business. "Silly" games didn't exactly leave the hobby - see Magic: Unglued, Monty Python, and Austin Powers - but Guardians' serious commitment to absurdity may top them all.

— Richard Weld & James A. Mishler (Scrye Checklist and Price Guide 2nd Edition)


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