Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Anachronism - Rules Review

I'm back!

Sorry about the lateness of this. The past few weeks have been particularly hectic for me. With the end of the school semester and planning for my trip to Dublin, I didn't have much time to do anything gaming related, and so the blog suffered. Now that I've adjusted myself to Dublin and have settled in a little bit, I can hopefully get a few posts in. Expect them to be a bit erratic, however, since I'm not entirely confident of my ability to produce content while trying to keep up with classes while touring as much of Ireland as possible.

As such, here's a mini-review of a little gem of a game I happen to enjoy.

Anachronism is one of those games I stumbled upon a couple of years ago, picked up a few items, and then promptly tucked it away in the closet. I found it again recently, and so have decided to pick it up again, especially since the cards are so cheap nowadays. Produced by TriKing Games from 2005 to 2007, Anachronism is a game in which players place the greatest of history's warriors against each other in quick, brutal arena combat.

The game's main component is cards - lots of them. There are five kinds of cards, and each player uses a 'deck' of five cards in a game. The most important of these are the Warrior cards, which act as the physical representation of your combatant in the arena. These also show your warrior's four stats: Life (hit points), Speed (how many actions they can take in their turn), Experience (mostly used as a tiebreaker, but can determine other effects), and Damage (how much damage they can do with a basic attack, i.e. one without an equipped weapon). Most Warrior cards also have some sort of special effect or ability that they may be able to do once a game, or may change how some cards or actions affect them.

The other card types are the various types of equipment that can be given to your warrior to fight with, and can be any combinations of Inspiration, Weapon, Armor, and Special cards.

The game takes place over fire rounds. The two warriors are placed in a 4x4 square arena on opposite sides, and both players take their other four cards and place them face down in a row. This is where the game gets interesting. In rounds one through four, a card is flipped from left to right. These cards determine a warriors initiative (who goes first in the round) and can have a number of effects, from adding combat damage, to repositioning warriors, to negating damage or other effects. Cards of the same type cancel each other, so you can't equip your warrior with four rounds worth of armor, for example. In the fifth round, experience determines initiative, and the warriors get one more chance to either kill his opponent, or finish with the most Life - the winner is the warrior left alive (obviously) or the one with the highest Life left.

Where the game really gets interesting is when you start switching cards up. Julius Caesar seems interesting enough with a Gladius and leather Lorica and worshiping Jupitor, but what if you gave him a Katana, Hoplite armor, and made him worship Loki? Even though its OOP, there are still enough cards floating around that a small collection isn't all that hard to collect. And they're cheap, too - 16 packs for $20 is the norm online. That actually gets you some 60+ cards to mix and match.

And these aren't cheap cards - in fact, they're so thick that they tend to warp a little from their own thickness, which isn't all that noticeable. A really cheap set of card protectors can keep them pristine and ready for play at any time.

So, that's Anachronism! If you can, grab a starter box and one of the later sets (which is when the cards starting getting better with more flavor). It's a cheap and fun little game to pull out for a quick match.


  1. Any idea on resources to find players/more cards? (missing set 5 and all the promos)

    1. Players, no, but you might be able to to find a board game Meetup group in the area. As for sets, Ebay, Bartertown, and Miniature Market are probably your best bet.