Thursday, January 26, 2012

Anima Tactics - Review

I finally did it. I finally played this game so I could bring you all a review of it. It only took me a year of promising. So without further delay and with many apologies I bring you my Anima Tactics review.

Ya it was kinda like that.

So per my usual web sleuthing I found a free copy of the rules for you to peruse. While these rules will teach you the basics of the game I suspect that there are a few more rules that may be found in the starter sets. I did not buy a light or dark starter set. I bought a couple of individual characters and the neutral "Wanderers" box set ( which is a fabulous deal). Anyway Scott ( my fellow gamer) and I had a good deal of success with these rules so they seem to give a good idea of what the game is like, even if slightly incomplete. 

We used a few different combinations of 7 characters for this bout of gaming. 
We used: 
Tiamat, Sophia, Akiko 

Derek and Khaine 

And not pictured or painted: Erika and Tsubasa. It is too bad that I didn't paint up Tsubasa though because he was a force to be reckoned with on the battlefield.

The Rules

This game is broken down into three phases; Recovery, Maintenance, and Action. In the recovery phase your characters generate action points equal to the blue circles on their card. A character can never have more AP than they have total circles. In the Maintenance phase characters upkeep spells and work through status effects. Finally in the action phase you and your opponent alternate between activating characters until everyone has gone. Pretty simple. 
Here we see the beginning of our game refereed by the evil duck 
of distance. Don't let him touch your die!

The game utilizes D10 (that's a ten sided die...) for all actions. How a character activates is that they can move once during a turn by either charging, running or walking. Each action requires a certain amount of AP from the character. When you use AP you simply remove the AP tokens from the card. Then depending on how much AP the character has left they can attack or do special abilities, all requiring the spending of AP. 

This is without a doubt the best part of the game. Managing your AP is essential. Since you never generate your total cache of AP you might need to pass on doing something one turn so you can utilize a power that will nuke your opponent in the face the next turn.

Scott suddenly realized that if Akiko saves his points he can nuke me in the 
face with soul burst (Akiko is on the far right of the picture)

Management of AP is taken to the next level with reactive powers as well. You usually need to save one or two AP so your character can dodge or utilize a reactive power. Dodging is essential as it lets you add a D10 to your defense when being attacked.

Sophia was the MVP of all our games due to her reactive buffing powers.  
Here you see her helping both Tsubasa AND Tiamat

The game's attack/damage system is pretty easy. Basically the attacker rolls a D10 and adds there attack. Natural 10s always hit. The attacker must meet or exceed the defenders defense. Then you take the difference between the attack roll and the defense and add it to the attackers damage if they hit. That number minus the armor of the defender is how much damage is done on a successful hit. It might seem complicated but it is pretty fluid once you get going. 

With regards to this system, the usual outcome of a player dodging is that the attacker will need a 10 to hit. This isn't all that bad but it does mean there are long back and forths between equal pieces, especially if you have a buffer piece.

There are a few other rules but nothing to big. State effects and such are a few but it is all pretty intuitive. All in all a compact and simple game for the most part. I suspect there is probably a little more going on in bigger games but we played pretty standard 150 point games. You can also add to your force by giving each guy one piece of equipment to help round out your force. 

What I Think

Well on a scale of one to ten I would probably give this one a 6 1/2. Why so low you ask? well I have to say that there came a point in the game where it was basically the same thing over and over again. I suspect this happens in many games of Anima too. 

In addition the replayability of this game really relies on having a lot of different pieces. The characters are fun and all but I suspect that after a few games it might get kind of boring. Sure you could proxy if you want but part of this game's greatness are the really nice sculpts so it might suck to do that. 

This game also suffers from the Warmachine caster kill problem. No matter how you try to make a scenario work in the end it will probably just end up with everyone on one side dead. Though in big games this may be different. 

There is one great thing about this game though. It is a wonderful entrance game for those who are trying to get into skirmish games from a video game or board game background. This game is wonderful for that group. It has rules that are simple enough to learn quickly and mimics video game protocols very well. There is also not a lot to keep track, and, best of all, no leadership rolls or stats! I always find those rules to be most cumbersome in skirmish games. The absence of having to keep your troops from running is great. You get down and dirty and you stay that way DBZ style. This is going to make green skirmish players feel comfortable and not get discouraged. 

 Fights go down like this, dodge dodge, then someone 
gets rammed into a mountain. No one runs!


It was certainly a fun game, but like I said I do not suspect replay value is exceedingly generous unless there are lots of players in your area and there are many different models in people's collection. It's worth checking out and the models are certainly worth painting. The game really does mimic anime well though, a few superlative fighters go in and slug it out until someone dies. The supporters support and the attackers kick ass. If more people around here played I would probably expand my collection but as it stands I have a stack of Infiniti, Dreadfleet and puppet wars i still have to paint so these guys won't see much face time.

Whats going on with me?

Nothing much but thanks for asking. I have been a revolving door of commissions and have started painting my Dreadfleet stuff ( those guys are tough to paint!). Also finished the last Eragon book and the new Murakami novel (1900 total pages in two months!) . Next week I have plans to play a game non of you have ever heard of but has been out for a while apparently ( Rusted Heroes) I have no real idea how I ended up with two starter sets but  did... might as well play with them. Also have a Quarriors review in the works for the new stuff.

 My rubber duckie tells me how far away things are!

Until next time all you readers out there in internet land,
Steve ( Yelling till I reach power level 9000)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012