Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Things that I play: Anima Tactics

Website ( Cipher Studios )

The first of two Cipher Studio games that I'm collecting at the moment, Anima Tactics is part of a much wider Anima family that includes a very popular RPG (Anima: Beyond Fantasy) and also a very well regarded card game imaginatively entitled Anima: The Card Game. Like Malifaux (which I discussed yesterday) Anima is a small scale skirmish game between two or more small forces of between 5 and 6 models per side, or thereabouts. Its set in a very cool and rich universe that is heavily influenced by JRPG computer games such as Final Fantasy amongst others, for the main the miniatures are absolutely fantastic, in fact one of my new favourite miniatures ever TM has just been released ( Morrigan painted by Giraldez) and what an awesome paint job it is by Angel Giraldez!!! However more impressively you can see how close the final sculpt and paint job are to the concept art to the right. 

The core rules are really, really simple to learn and very clear, but when coupled with the fact that every model is an individual character with their own cool abilities there is a real hidden depth to mastering this great little game system. There are synergies to be had and special skills to be stacked and utilised in different ways. There really is an abundance of possibilities with only a handful of mini's, this isn't a lightweight skirmish game its full on. I'm not too sure what Cipher were going for when they created the game, but I personally feel it not only looks like a JRPG it even plays like a JRPG. Those skills synergies and strong characters help with that feel but this is strengthened with a mechanic where actions cost mana points. Also these mana points only recharge by a certain amount each turn, much like the charge action bars in those lovely JRPGs I've been talking about. It means you can't have complete blow out rounds of awesome skills every turn with the same character and introduces a nice resource management element to the game.

I think that of the games that I'm currently fiddling about with, that Anima Tactics might possibly have the lowest profile of all of them, certainly here in the UK. However when it has been introduced to friends both the detailed models (many sculpted by the excellent J.Navarro), atmosphere and play mechanics have won people over. There's no doubt that if you're one of those people who love their anime and JRPGs that the doe eyed, nubile females with short skirt stylings will appeal and for the ladies (just to keep it equal opps) there are plenty of dark brooding males with swishing capes and trench coats and unfeasibly long... swords. However sadly ladies it looks like clover might be taken, by the read haired vixen... wearing a short skirt, with big doe eyes... you get the point, oh you thought Clover was a more suitable name for a female, right, well no Clover is the dude in the cool green coat with longer and better hair than the girl... look its inspired by the Japanese and I don't make the chuffing rules up OK? If however you love Japanese inspired lady boys and women with legs up to their ears and a scant disregard for clothing as well as the worlds of Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest et al then you'll positively love the Anima Universe.

Its quite an intensive, fun game and its quite easy to fit in 3 or 4 games in on an evening... especially if your opponent is as rubbish as me!!! The major downsides though are that the game is really quite hard to get hold of in the UK, I'm not so sure how much easier or harder it is to get anywhere else in the world. However you can get the rulebook and mini's from Firestorm Games ( Firestorm Games ) in Cardiff if you phone them and ask Rob and co nicely they'll sort you out. However the biggest downer is because its so hard to get hold of there really aren't that many of us Anima gamers out there in the UK at the moment, which again is a crying shame because its immense amounts of fun to play and some of the miniatures really are quite lovely and I'm hoping to bring a few WIP paint jobs to the Blog over the coming months so you can see for yourselves. If you can convince some mates to pick a few miniatures up though you should all have a great little gaming group with a really quick and easy fun game. I hope more people start stocking it in the UK because it does deserve a much wider audience. You can download the rules for free, but even if you pick up the rulebook and a few miniatures you can probably start the game for between £50 and £60. Plus if you're in the West Midlands or live nearby and fancy a game, give me a shout, I'm always willing to lose more games!!! Peace out!


  1. LOVE The AT Stuff, I have 3 small Forces - Empire (Good), Church (Dark), and Samael (Neutral) - LOVING the miniatures!

  2. Yep the figures really are quite spanking gorgeous Doc. I have Abel and Azure, I know of somebody who is planning on doing wanderes and someone who has collected the new Dark Sun faction, with lady boy Clover!!! Its a tidy little game... now if I could only find more opponents.

  3. Greetings,

    I just wanted to say that Anima is available to any retailer in the UK from Esdevium distribution So if players are interested in the game they can talk to their local retailer about carrying, and they should be able to buy it there at least.

  4. Hi Dave, yeah I think most retailers know about it, but most seem to do their main miniature business via other distributors, or that's at least what they're telling me when I talk to them. Whether that's true or not, or they just don't want to stock the game only they really know. Either way its a shame because it really is a fantastic little game system and as Doc said the miniatures are lovely on the whole.

  5. As you may have guessed I work at Cipher Studios, I figured I would throw that out there so you guys know where I am coming from.

    It is possible for UK any distributor to order Anima from us at this point, all they need to do is contact us about getting it. They should feel free to email either myself or and they will be forwarded to the person here who handles distribution contacts.

    So, if a shop is interested in carrying Anima they could possibly mention that to their distributor and how to contact us, and that might cause the distributor to bring it in. Probably once enough stores mention it to them then they will get it.

    Thanks for giving us some news coverage and I am very glad you enjoy Anima Tactics!

  6. I had guessed Dave and that's why I gave you the feedback I'd had from some, not all retailers I've spoken too. In fact I haven't even asked the main one I use, next time I'm their I will.

    I've found it a bit odd though because pretty much everyone I've shown Anima Tactics to has really enjoyed it and generally speaking really like the mini's so I'm a bit perplexed as to why its not got a bigger shelf presence here in the UK.