Athenion: Tactical CCG has been available in select territories for a while, which is why the name might be familiar. Now, with the game launching globally, you can finally see what all the fuss is about.
Developed by Zero-bit, Athenion belongs to the same tradition as Hearthstone, Gwent, and other collectible card games. It brings a couple of new tricks to the party, however, with a clever grid-based playing area adding a layer of tactical depth to the gameplay.
Plus, it looks a treat, with a polished anime art style, professional voice-acting, and cinema-worthy musical accompaniment.
There are more than 300 hero cards to collect and deploy in Athenion, and these combine in countless ways to unleash combos and other powerful effects.
Placement is key, too. The board you’re playing on is made up of 4×4 squares, and you and your opponent take turns laying down one or more cards. Each of these cards belongs to one of six different factions – three offensive and three defensive.
Each of them can only attack in a certain direction or range of directions, so there are always plenty of factors to weigh. Put the wrong card down and your hapless hero will be left flailing at thin air.
Factions include Cyclone Fury, a nimble class that deals heavy damage, and Shadow Realm, which can unleash a devastating swarm of attacks. Flame Legion, meanwhile, has a berserk ability that allows it to go into a lethal frenzy when damaged.
Those are the offensive cards. The defensive ones are Divine Grace, which heals and provides bonus stats to nearby units, Tidal Nether, which can construct a defensive line and impart buffs, and Planet Guardians, which can lock certain squares for a number of moves.
Between them these factions, spread across hundreds of cards, create virtually infinite potential for experimentation and combos.