An apex predator, also known as an alpha predator, is a predator residing at the top of a food chain upon which no other creatures prey.
Die-Hard Games has been hard at work refining the ferocious dinosaur deck-building game, Apex: Theropod Deck-Building game. With a new edition and 4 new expansions, Apex is more aggressive than ever before. Can you lead your species to dominate as the Apex predator at your game table?
Hunt. Evolve. Dominate.
Apex has 1-6 players assuming the role of one of the 7 Apex predators in this massive deck-builder. During the game, players will hunt Prey and other Predators in the Hunt Trail and then use their prized kill to Evolve their species. Your fight is not just other dinosaurs but also the Environment during this chaotic time of our prehistoric earth. Be cautious, you are not just a Predator but also Prey, to in-game threats and the other players. Players will have to be as efficient as possible each turn to tune their deck. One of the final Environment cards, Asteroid Impact, brings the game to a close and pits Apex Predator against Apex Predator, in a Battle Royale during the final moments, When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth.
Avoid conflict; your resources will dwindle away and your species will die out.
Gain too many Afflictions; your deck becomes bloated and your species will die out.
Don’t Evolve your Apex enough; you become inefficient and your species will die out.
Ignore adding ranks to your species; you become the prey and your species will die out.
In Apex, everything and everyone is trying to survive, you just have to be the last one.
The Evolution of Apex
We first saw a small black box of 600 cards that weighted about 7 pounds. It was simple in design and Die-Hard Games’ very first game ever made. While the game was strong, some of the components left a lot to be desired. Die-Hard has been listening to everyone’s feedback and have addressed some now obvious changes and have evolved it.
As I said above, the first edition box was small and only had cards and dividers inside. After getting out in the market, Die-Hard quickly had a small consistent list of requests for some upgrades. Game board. Player boards. Bigger box. First player marker. Better rule book. Your wishes have been heard and Die-Hard delivered. There is now a large community game for all the decks and cards. Each player will now have their own board to help organize their played cards. The previous box barely fit all the cards sleeved and the insert was poor. The new box is HUGE and will fit over 2000 sleeved cards with a strong insert storage system. 80mm T-Rex miniature first player marker? Yes please! The new rule book might be one of the most comprehensive rule books in a table-top board/card game. With full color and easy to understand examples for EVERYTHING, you will be spending a lot less time on the forums.
The all new Alpha Cards add a whole level of immersion that was not present in the first edition. Every Apex species has 3 new Alpha cards: Juvenile, Adult and Veteran. Players will start with the Juvenile in their deck, while the other two cards wait in their Hatchery. Players can Evolve and replace their Juvenile into the Adult Alpha by spending Evolve points in the same way they would on any Apex or Evolve card. Later, they may advance their Adult to the Veteran Alpha. This creates a great way for the player to get further invested into their species journey and feel more involved.
That’s not where Alpha cards end. Players can set up their Alpha cards into their Ambush spots, and in future turns, attack other players directly. They can attack alone or with other Apex cards. The defending player may play Apex cards in defense. If their hunt total is higher, they defend against the attack and choose to eliminate a card from the attackers pool of cards; the attack ends. If the attacker wins, they get to eliminate a card in the defenders pool and they can keep attacking in future bouts. If the Alpha card is caught by itself in one of these attacks; that player is eliminated and your species dies out. 😉
Intimidating other players is a very simple option that players now have when setting up an Ambush. Normally, cards are played to the Ambush spot face down. Now, you can Intimidate another player by placing cards into your Ambush spot face up, displaying your dominance. The effect and resolution is pretty simple. The total Intimidate Hunt value is compared to the cards that the defending player reveals from their own Ambush spot or their hand. If the defender is equal to or higher, they are not scared off from the Hunting Grounds and there is no effect. However, if they cannot reveal enough Hunt points, they are Intimidated and randomly discard a card from their hand. As a bonus for scaring off an Apex predator from the hunting grounds, if the card is a carcass card, the Intimidater adds that card to their Hoard.
One of the very early concepts that Die-Hard wanted to include was Boss Fights. The Boss cards really make it feel like a knock-down drag out fight for your life. There was a problem with it in multi-player though. It felt as though you were randomly either rewarded or punished when they were revealed from the Hunt deck on a player’s turn. So, for multi-player games, Boss cards are not added and players fight against each other and not the deck. Boss’ and their Minions are now the main engine for the solo play rules for Apex.
There are 4 expansion decks that are all available now. Each deck centers around some unique, specific features. Additionally, each deck can add new:
- Affliction Cards
- Environment Cards
- Evolve Cards
- Prey, Big Game, Titans, Predators, Menaces
- Bosses and Minions
The first expansion deck planned for Apex was the Stomping Grounds Deck. The intent for this deck was to add direct interaction Apex cards for each of the 7 Apex species in the game. This deck adds a new push your luck mechanic: Stomping Grounds! This is an ability that Apex cards have on them. When these Apex cards are played, the player may choose to invade the Hoard of another player instead of hunting. This is played out by comparing Hunt Value totals between the attacker and defender. The defender will reveal cards from their Ambush Point and/or their hand, to generate Hunt points. If the attacker wins they invade their targets territory and steal any card from their Hoard. If the defender wins, they are chased off and gain an Affliction card to their discard pile.
I want you to imagine a giant ostridge-dinosaur with Freddy Krueger claws on both hands. Looks ridiculous and terrifying doesn’t it? What you are imagining is a Therizinosaurus, the ONLY non-predator playable Apex species in the game and the focus of this expansion deck. While a “veggie-saurus”, there are plenty of theories that this gigantic death-chicken was a nightmare for predators that tried to attack it. This species plays strong against aggressive cards and uses carcass cards to high effectiveness. When backed into a corner, the Therizi…Death-Chicken, can deliver severe punishment to their attacker but at a cost.
Strength in numbers is one of the strengths for the Saurophaganax. Several Apex cards in this species deck allow players to bring multiple cards from their discard pile into play when playing a single card from their hand or Ambush spot. Additionally, there is a high Hunt point reward for this deck when cards are played from the Ambush spot. There is also a unique Apex ability that will flush out more prey into the Hunt Trail to be taken down by your ferocious pack of death-lizards. This deck also adds the long fan-awaited Stegosaurus Big Game; a large and formidable prey that will punish you if you botch an Ambush.
“Strategic hyper-aggressive aquatic dinosaur“. This is my kind of play-style and coincidentally. The Suchomimus deck is exclusive to PHD. I wonder how that happened. 😉 Hunt bonus for attacking first; High bonus Hunt points of setting up risky Ambush attacks; Auto-hunting Prey on your turn following an Intimidation. Because some of these tactics are high risk, here is a small counter balance mechanic in the deck that allows the Suchomimus to scavenge cards from the Elimination pile. Much like everything about Apex, this deck is VERY thematic. Not to leave the waters unchallenged, a new Spinosaurus Boss card is added to the game and he is not to be taken lightly with a 16+ DMG level.
Buy a Case, Win the War
Once in awhile publishers just want to have fun. Die-Hard Games has been teased since day one to make a “Dino-Riders’ game. Promethean Wars is their next game and to help promote the excitement, they have created the: Promethean Wars LTD Expansion Deck. This is a playable Apex deck of T-Rexes with twin-linked laser cannons, gatling cannon mounted Pterodactyls, and night goggle-ed assassin Raptors.
This deck is VERY limited and will only ever be printed this one time. To purchase the Promethean Wars deck, you may buy 1 for every case (4 copies) of the base game of Apex. So, if you order 20 copies of Apex, you will be able to buy 5 Promethean Wars decks. We do not have many and they will go fast. Get them before they’re extinct.