Thea: The Awakening uses a unique tactical card minigame to resolve challenges, which include both combat and non-combat contests.
Rounds and Phases
Whenever a challenge occurs, it will be handled by the tactical card game, where each character (opponents and villagers) is one card. Each challenge uses the same rules:
- Play takes place in rounds.
- Each round is divided into preparation phase and two combat phases.
- At the beginning of each round, the player's cards are shuffled and randomly divided into two groups, offensive and tactical. The opponent's cards are similarly shuffled and divided.
- During the preparation phase, the player and the opponent alternate getting opportunities to play cards. They may get the opportunity to play two or more cards at a time. Playing a card could entail moving it from the offensive group into play, or using an ability of a card in the tactical group (including "Get Closer", which puts the card into play, albeit confused).
- During each of the two combat phases, cards attack each other, proceeding from left to right. If a card only has enemies to its left, it will attack the nearest enemy to the left. Similarly, it will attack the nearest enemy to its right, if it only has enemies to its right. If it has enemies on both its right and left, it will randomly choose left or right, and attack the nearest enemy in that direction. If there are no more enemies in play, it will attack a random enemy card that is not in play (i.e. in the preparation phase, it used a non-"Get Closer" ability from the tactical group, it was countered, or it just never got played).
- Any card reduced to zero (or less) health will be removed from play, unable to be attacked further, and unable to attack other cards. It will not be available in subsequent rounds (if there are any more rounds of play).
- If all cards from one side are destroyed, then the fight ends. Otherwise, another round begins until all cards from one side are destroyed.
In any kind of challenge, half of the player's cards are tactical cards. Those cards have tactical abilities, and as this name suggests, they are based on character attributes. Different groups of monsters require different approaches, and while items provide plenty of abilities, it is hard to show one approach working the best. Nevertheless, there are some tactics that generally work well.
Played tactical card will work if strength of the chosen tactical ability is equal or higher than target card level. In some situations player doesn’t know if card will have any effect (counter offense/tactic), because levels of cards in hand are hidden.
List of tactical abilities:
- Confuse: makes target lose first combat phase that round
- Counter Tactic: removes card from opponent tactical card deck
- Counter Offense: removes card from opponent offensive card deck
- Shield Ally: target ally card gets bonus hit points
- Support Ally: target ally card gets bonus damage
- First Action: moves target card to left on initiative line
- Get Closer: move card into play (will be Confused during first fight phase)
See the full list of challenge types for more information.