Spanky Harrison here with a different kind of book review. I’m always on the lookout for new games, and Bigred tossed me a copy of Anima Tactics by Cipher-Studios. I’ve played a few games, and now I’m here to talk about it!
Anima Tactics is a high fantasy anime based skirmish game. It uses small forces of unique characters (5-7 models) and an alternating activation turn sequence in which each player takes turns activating single models. It also uses stat cards, much like Warmachine. In fact, though it has plenty of differences, the closest comparison that I could make to another game would be that it is like Warmachine, but every model is both a warcaster and a warjack at the same time.
Each model has a certain number of “action points” each turn that it can spend to do stuff like move or attack. Action points are also used as a defense, allowing a model to dodge or counter attack. This leads to some very interesting resource management, as very few models can both attack at full capacity and have enough AP left over to defend themselves against a concentrated attack.
While it is possible to include “agents” in your force, most of your models will be unique characters with a variety of special abilities. These range from giant supernatural monster ladies to normal sized brave warriors, to powerful wizards, psychics, and summoners. There are very few characters that are genuinely the same (if any) and the possible combinations are almost endless.
When building your force, there are two different ways to go about it. You can choose to build your force on organizational lines, and field a strike team from any of the game’s 6 organizations, or you can base your force on a faction, choosing light or dark. Organization forces have the advantage of gaining special bonuses based on the organization, as well as being able to combine any models from the organization regardless of faction. Faction forces dont get any special bonuses, but they can include models from any organization, so long as they are associated with the correct faction. For example, a dark faction force could include any model of the dark or neutral faction, but could not take any models from the light faction. This allows for a huge number of possible army builds and combos, and that’s not even taking the special equipment and bonuses available from advantage cards!
I’ve been really impressed with the number of options in the game, and so far, my test games have been pretty fun. The rules themselves don’t seem to have any major loopholes that I’ve seen so far, though as the game is originally from Spain, I do have to warn you that the translation had some issues. Its still comprehensible, but its definitely my biggest problem with the game as it stands. Also, though the game uses 3 base sizes just like Warmachine, it doesn’t actually say what size base each model uses in its entry or on its card, which can be irritating.
However, those two things aside, I actually really like this game. I have been a fan of the Anima RPG for a while, and Tactics has a lot of the same features that I like. Breadth and depth of options, tied together by relatively simple mechanics.
Also, the rulebook is chock full of a *ahem* certain art style you may find of interest…
~ So, has anyone else played this? What are your thoughts?