Getting Started with Omen: A Reign of War

Omen: A Reign of War is a critically acclaimed, head-to-head, tactical card game set in the mythology of the ancient world. As a child of Zeus, you wish to claim dominion over Greece, but there is another that contests  your claim. The gods therefore design a contest to see who can lead their forces to victory.


With the wide release of the Omen Saga of games, (A Reign of War, Edge of the Aegean, and Fires in the East), we’d like to take a moment and cover some of the basic strategy tips for new players getting started with these incredibly deep card games designed by John Clowdus.

What’s In the Box?

Omen: A Reign of War might seem like a game that could overwhelm beginners due to the sheer number and unique nature of each unit, the various powers on reward tiles, and its multiple paths to victory. However, understanding a couple of key principles can greatly help new players succeed against even more experienced players. Hopefully by the end of this article you’ll have a deeper understanding of the game and be ready to truly enjoy the Omen Saga. Let’s Begin! 


An Army Isn’t Free

In Omen: A Reign of War, as in any other card game featuring a deck the players draw from, you will need cards and the ability to play them. In the Omen Saga of games, you will have a persistent economy of coins that you will gain and spend each turn. You’ll be able to save some of these coins for future turns and there are many methods to best manage your economy. 


The most common way you’ll gain cards and coins is through the Wealth Step of each turn. At the beginning of your turn you’ll have the option of drawing or taking any combination of 3 cards or coins. Should you decide to take all of one, you will gain an additional as a bonus. For example, should you choose to draw 3 cards, you will draw an additional 4th card as a Wealth Step bonus. Other card, tile, or feat actions will allow you to draw additional cards or take more coins during the game, and you’ll also have the option to discard a card each turn during the Offering Step to claim cards or coins up to the card’s offering value.


Managing this balance through careful use of your Wealth Actions and the cards you choose to offer during the Offering Step is arguably the most important aspect of the game. Unless absolutely necessary to do so, try to never divide your Wealth actions between cards and coins, as you will miss out on the wealth action bonus.


All That Glitters Is Not Gold

In the standard way to play A Reign of War you and your opponent will share a single deck, and discard pile. This, coupled with the unique nature of the units takes some control of what cards are available to you out of your hands. Quite literally! 


While you cannot control what cards you draw, you will have options that allow you to control how many cards you draw. If you need to find a specific kind of card do not hesitate to draw more cards than you think you need to find it. Even if you will be required to throw some of these cards away at the end of your turn, the ability to dig in the deck each turn allows you more control and mitigates the randomness of the shared deck. Also keep in mind that of the additional cards you draw, one can be used during the Offering Step. So if you’re ever conflicted between drawing cards or taking coins, you’ll typically find it is more useful to draw those additional cards, unless of course you have something specific you would like to play that turn! Just remember, card advantage is always important, and cards are the most fundamental resource in the game.

But Sometimes It Is

Always try to keep your coins in balance with the amount and type of cards you want to play. While cards, in general, are a more important resource than coins, you’ll find that you can;t do much without them. Insuring that you have enough coins available each turn also reduces the luck of the random card draw, because you will be more likely to draw something you can play if you have managed your coins well. Try to use your Offering Step to manage this coin and card balance so you’re better set up for your next turn!


The Battle is Joined

The early turns of each game in A Reign of War is often spent establishing yourself with decent card and coin positions. Of all the different types of cards, Oracles should be prioritized in these first few turns. Get them on the board so they can have their abilities trigger for as many turns as possible. Be sure to place them in different cities to prevent them from being wiped out by your opponent, and if you get one in each city you’ll complete Hera’s Feat. So bonus! Keep an eye out for ways to get rid of any Oracles that your opponent is playing as well. An Oracle that sits on the board for several turns is a significant advantage!

Strike and Maneuver

Based on the cards you have at your disposal, you should always see how likely they are to help you complete Feats. In Omen: A Reign of War one of the end game conditions is for a player to complete 5 of the 6 Feats of the gods. Focusing on achieving feats can be to your advantage because your opponent is mostly unable to affect your completion of Feats, at least not directly like in a War-Torn city. If, on the other hand you think that your cards will offer you a strength advantage in a conflict position your units to give yourself the greatest chance to win a Reward Tile from one of the cities. Work with what you have, and try to optimize your resource investment to be as efficient as possible.


Close it Out

There are two key things you must be aware of as the endgame approaches, Each player’s Victory Point (VP) total and the status of the end game conditions.

A game of Omen: Reign of War ends in one of two ways:

  • If 2 cities are depleted of Reward Tiles
  • If your opponent has 5 Feats completed at the end of your turn.



While most of your opponent’s VPs should be visible to you, keep in mind that they may have a TREASURED unit or two in hand. These units are worth an additional VP at the end of the game if you have one in hand so as the end game approaches you should consider the benefit of hanging on to one or more of these. 


DO NOT trigger the end of the game unless you are certain that you can absolutely beat their score and be careful about letting them end the game if you are behind in the score. This may seem basic, but the end of the game in Omen: A Reign of War can sneak up on even veteran players if you’re not paying close attention to the game state.

Whenever you are certain that your current turn will be your last, be sure to offer your most valuable card during the Offering step and only take cards. This is an attempt to draw as many TREASURED units as possible, as each is worth 1 VP when in a player’s hand at the end of the game. 


The Art of War

Well, we hope that this strategic overview will help you gain the confidence to get started playing Omen: A Reign of War. While you’ll develop your own tendencies and tactics in each game you play, these basics should keep you on the path to victory.


Each game in the Omen Saga of games comes with all new units, key words, and reward tiles that you can mix and match to change up your games and keep the experience fresh! After you’ve become comfortable with A Reign of War we recommend trying out the new cards from the other games, Edge of the Aegean and Fires in the East. And for a truly exciting experience there are additional variants to explore including a draft mode where each player will select cards to form their own deck.

As you can see the Omen Saga of games is a deeply thematic, tactical game with loads of additional content to explore. We’re going to keep adding more titles to this series as well! Keep an eye out for the next installment to the Omen Saga of games, Omen: Heir to the Dunes coming later this summer to Kickstarter!

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Author: Ian
Published: July 2, 2019

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