Before I begin, I was provided a review copy of the game in exchange for an honest review. This is not a paid review. If you would like to check out a video of this review you can do that below. You can buy your own copy here.
The Tiny Epic game series is a fascinating series to me. It really feels like they are trying to make sure that there is something for everyone in the it. Like Zombies? We got you. Like space? You’re covered. Cowboys? Boom. Legend of Zelda? Yup. Mech combat? Nailed it. Now for me, I have played three others. Quest left me a little disappointed, while Zombies was solid, but I do not like zombies, while Defenders I really enjoyed. So when I was given a chance to check out the tactical fantasy combat game, I jumped at it.
In all of the variants of this game each player (or AI players) control a party of four heroes: rogue, wizard, fighter, beast. However, each player will have four character cards which show their specific stats and abilities, making each team unique. In the competitive game players are battling it out over a few rounds in order to control areas on the map. Players will earn points based on what they have captured, what heroes they have taken out, and what villages they are controlling. Whoever has the most points wins.
In the solo or co-op game there is an AI deck and you are trying to enter six different dungeons, which are on the underside of the pieces of 3-d terrain, and grab the hidden crystals inside.
Each turn players get to take three actions, which can be attack (melee, ranged or spell) or move. You are allowed to assign two actions to a single hero, but if you do they will be weakened and have a penalty later on. Combat is pretty simple. There is a base ammount of damage that the attack does and then you will roll the dice, and that will either hit you with bonuses or penalties, if whomever you hit has the ability to hit you back, they will get a chance to counter attack you.
So what do I think?
The game looks awesome when you set it up. The 3-D scenery, the colors, the unique meeples, and the character art. All of it is just great to look at.
I also really appreciate that while this game is sold as “tactics” it is not all that complicated. Success will be determined by how you manage your attacks and keeping range against your opponents in order to manage counter attacks. It definitely is a tactical game, but it is not a heavy game. I like that.
Finally, I do think the variety in characters is very good. All of them are strong choices, and will require you to play the game differently, but they all feel equally “good.:
I appreciate that this game is very clear in how it is played, and how it is set up. However, there is one rule that I can forsee being irritating to some players. When capturing, either heroes or locations, it is only the player that does the final action that is rewarded. Now this does not bother me, but I can definitely foresee some players really being cheesed off by that.
I can also imagine some players being frustrated by the tactic cards. I think they are pretty well balanced over all, but almost all of them are highly situational, this can lead to going a large portion of the game without being able to make sure of any of them, while another player might get to use them multiple turns in a row. They do cycle through fairly quickly, but it can lead to a perception of things not being balanced.
I actually think the solo and co-op mode is well done, I enjoy it and will definitely bring it back out regularly to test it out. However, the underside of the hills has a set floor plan. The lack of variance in how to get each crystal will eventually make the solo experience lose some of its luster, as you will know which heroes are best suited to go into a dungeon.
Bringing it all together
Tiny Epic Tactics delivers on the tactical combat, and it certainly looks epic when you set it out on the table. I am a big fan of the art and character variety along with the amount of strategy packed into a game with only a minimal ruleset. Some of the scoring conditions may rub some players the wrong way, and at times the tactics cards can feel very situational. The solo and co-op experience is very good, though I do wonder if the lack of floor plan variety in the dungeons will make it lose its luster somewhat. This is my favorite of the Tiny Epic Games that I have played as off yet.
Shame that article was epic and not tiny…
* Good components, really fun artwork
* Good character variety and balance
* Very satisfying tactical experience, with a low rules overhead
* Fun solo mode, that might lose its luster somewhat due to a lack of dungeon tile variety
* Potential to steal “kills” and “captures” due to the scoring rules, this might rub some players the wrong way
* Currently my favorite of the Tiny Epic series