Anthromancer is a tabletop game system that features a suite of original neoclassical strategy and chance games, as well as an original oracle. It is primarily organized around a 2-4 player abstract strategy game called 'Mercenarium'.
In Mercenarium, players take turns placing and moving cards with various edge values in an attempt to overcome the edge values of opposing cards and capture them. The first player to capture 5 cards wins. Captures can be spent to gain control of enemy cards which pivot to the orientation of the buyer, changing the relative strengths on the battlefield and subverting enemy plans. In addition, each player is dealt 1 of 15 unique 'hymn' cards, which grant powerful abilities that dramatically alter the board state.
The game feels a bit like chess, but with far less predictability, due to the randomness of the deck and the asymmetrical powers of the hymns. Skill is gained by learning to predict patterns of movement, and being willing to take risks.
When is a game more than just a game? Sometimes it’s when the designer decides it is. Read our review of Anthromancer: Mercenarium to learn more!