There are a lot of CCGs available on mobile, swinging between the monstrously deep and the surprisingly simple. Athenion: Tactical CCG definitely fits into the first of those categories, but it manages to temper its weight with some brilliant ideas and a strategic play-style that’s super easy to get to grips with.
The game takes place on a 4×4 grid and sees you and your opponent taking it in turns to lay cards. Those cards represent your units – warriors, wizards, rogues and more – and the aim of the game is to knock your foe’s health points down to zero.
Each turn you get three points to spend on putting new units on the board. Depending on the faction you’ve chosen, those cards are going to have a number of different strengths and weaknesses. There are six to choose from, and they have unique skills that change the way you need to play the game.
The basics remain the same though. Each card has arrows on it that show the way it’s going to attack. Numbers on the card show the strength of that card’s attack, its hit points, and the soul power it’ll add to your leader. Soul power is used to attack the other player’s leader at the start of your turn.
Games are fast and fluid, but there are some deep tactical layers that require consideration. You need to find the right balance between attack and defence, and figure out how to use your faction’s special skills to take down your foes.
It’s important to get to grips with all of your cards, reading what they do and understanding their roles in a fight. Then you need to consider the board, what your opponent has played and what it looks like they’re trying to do.
Calling Athenion a CCG is probably a bit of a disservice. There are shades of chess, tactical RPGs and even puzzle games here. And that’s before you get to the deck-building and card-crafting elements that let you customise the cards you take into battle.
Everything is presented in a gorgeous anime style, with the characters and cards in particular looking amazing. The matches might look busy at first, but once you get to grips with the mechanics you’ll realise that everything you need to know is only a glance away.
There are always games and challenges waiting for you, every time you load the game up. Throw in regular events, a thriving community and a compulsion loop that wraps you up after only a few minutes and you’re left with an experience that’s stuffed full of content and fun.
Athenion: Tactical CCG is an incredibly deep experience and if you let it it’s going to sink its teeth deep into you. Anyone looking for a casual experience should give it a wide berth, but if you’re longing for a card-based mobile scrapper that has a tonne of meat on its bones it’s definitely worth checking out.