Animus Review

Animus Review - CoverDesigners: Eriberto Rodriguez
Publisher: Self Published
Year: 2011
MSRP: $19.99
Players: 2-4
Play Time: 30 Min
Ages: 12+
Rules Available Online: Yes
BGG: Animus


A split Singularity scattered across time and space infusing various different beings with its power. Now, these entities seek to gather the rest of its power for their own ends, recruiting a diverse array of comrades from the multiverse to help them realize their destiny.

Animus is a self-published game of card drafting and battle currently up on The Game Crafter.


At the start of a game of Animus, each player is dealt 2 large Entity Cards at random, chooses one, and discards the other. This card is placed is then placed face up on the table. The deck Character Cards is then shuffled and 18 cards are drawn and laid out as shown below:

Animus Review - Draft Layout

Players then take turns drafting characters from the bottom up, flipping over new cards once each card covering them has been taken. Once each player has 9 cards they engage in combat using the following round structure:

  1. Start of Turn – Resolve any effects that take place during this phase.
  2. Tactical Phase 1 – A player may place a card down from their hand, use a card’s tactical abilities, or switch character positions (only once per round.)
  3. Combat Phase – Each card in a combat position can make an appropriate attack.
  4. Tactical Phase 2 – Same as Tactical Phase 1, if those actions have not yet been taken.
  5. Reset Phase – A player may place one card from their hand on the bottom of their deck. Draw up to 3 cards.
  6. End Phase – Some cards have effects that take place in this phase. Each player checks their discard pile, and if they have 10 levels worth of cards there, they lose the game.

There are 6 positions where cards can be placed. The melee position above the Entity card, the 2 ranged positions are to the upper left and right positions, and support positions make up the lower left and right (see the image in the Pieces section.) Characters in the melee position can attack and of the opponent’s melee and ranged characters. Characters in the ranged position can only attack the ranged character they’re across from and the opponent’s melee character. Support characters cannot attack unless otherwise specified, and are mainly used for their tactical abilities.

Combat in the game is fairly simple. Choose which card is attacking and which card is being attacked. Each player rolls a d6 and adds that number to their ranged or melee stat on their card (depending on the attack position.) Highest number wins and the loser puts a damage counter on their card. Once a card has 3 damage counters on it it’s destroyed and placed in its owner’s discard pile, the number in the card’s upper right indicated how many levels it’s worth for the endgame condition. Once a player has 10 levels worth of characters in their discard pile during the End Phase, they lose.

For more in-depth detail on how the game plays, check the full rules.


Animus Review - Cards

  • Box 👎
  • Rules 👍
  • Cards 👍
  • Dice 👍

( 👍 = Good, 👎 = Bad, ⭐️ = Exceptional)


Before I get into the gameplay of Animus let me talk a minute to get my major gripe out of the way, and that’s the game’s artwork. The characters are a mix of illustration and 3d rendering that just feels a bit…off. I don’t know if it’s an uncanny valley thing or something else, but a majority of the artwork is a bit uncomfortable. There are certainly exceptions on the deck, and some of the character designs are pretty cool, but a majority of them suffer from this. The box of the game is also a bit flimsy, so you need to be careful when storing the game.

As for the actual game? It’s light, quick, and enjoyable. Th drafting mechanic is simple, fast, and effective, allowing each player to try and tailor they play style to what’s available to them. The position-based combat feels a bit like Pixel  Tactics and provides a good amount of strategy and gives players many different choices and options each turn to keep the game feeling fresh and exciting. The varying character and Entity abilities give players even more flexibility to change the battlefield to their advantage and sometimes even prevent lost cards from counting against their final score.

There’s a lot of game in a small box with Animus. It’s a game I can see returning to the table quite a bit, and I’m eager to try out its expansion, Nemesis, soon.

A copy of Animus was provided free for review by Eriberto Rodriguez

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