Galatune is an anime battle card game designed by Adam Wik for 2 to 5 players. Set in the world of Lyra, players are champions in a knockout brawl with rival champions.
How to Play Galatune
The game uses simultaneous action selection, where players choose an action card and play it on an opponent at the same time. Players have the opportunity to spring traps to disable opponent’s actions, then any remaining actions are resolved. Points are received for dealing damage that defeats an opponent and the first to 3 points wins the game.
The artwork in this game creates an excellent first impression. I am not an avid fan of anime, so if I was pleased, anime fans should really enjoy the look of Galatune. The foil tarot character cards look absolutely amazing. However, this made it quite a shame to have such beautiful cards facing down on the table the whole game. The back of the character card has all the information for the two abilities that are always available for use by that character. Including little stands to have the cards standing so players can see each other’s character art and everyone can still look at their abilities would have been nice. I’ll likely re-purpose some standee bases from one of the prototypes I have to do this.
The rules are simple, making it easy to introduce to new players, and the diverse abilities of each action card allow for interesting combos and strategy. While gameplay has notable differences from many Trading Card Games, the thought process involved is the same. Players of Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh will find Galatune rather appealing. Champions and action cards have types that influence their effectiveness or ineffectiveness against opponents. Much like these games, players can attack opponents, take actions to heal or boost stats for future turns, and play traps to foul opponent’s plans. The key differences of Galatune are simultaneous action (no individual turns) and a shared deck of cards. This has the benefit of a level playing field, players cannot buy superior cards for their decks.
Despite enjoying my plays of Galatune overall, there were some issues that left me unsatisfied at times. Simultaneous resolution of actions leads to confusion too often because of conflicting rules. For example, two actions can be played that both cancel the effect of the other (see Frostenba vs. Heroblade). One must resolve first, there is no way to simultaneous resolve these actions. My preference is to more definitive rules that have clear rulings on all possible scenarios. This is understandably a challenge when every card has different abilities. The designer says the lax interpretation is to give players the freedom to create combos and their own play styles in casual games. However, resolving one card before the other can be beneficial to one player over the other, which leads to debate (and potentially arguing). Official rulings are compiled on the Galatune website for use in tournaments, but checking these takes away from the fun of the game (like that person who always makes you check the Scrabble dictionary). My other issue was the Draw-View rule. This rules states that cards must be revealed to all players when drawn. The intention of the rule is clear. Knowing what cards a player has in hand is important, since the game often involves trap-baiting or predicting when your opponent will attack so you can defend. In practice, this rule is rather clunky. On average, each player is drawing 9 cards. Looking at all these abilities for their text, type, and function really slows the game down and one of the exciting things about Galatune is the fast and chaotic play. We ended up just flashing the action functions to all players, and basically just wanted to know if they drew trap cards or strong attack actions. The last issue is only a problem in two player matches. Players can get unlucky and be dealt cards that are useless because their type is ineffective to the only opponent. In 3 to 5 player games, cards can be traded between players and while allowed in two player games, it would never happen. Luckily, players should always have at least one useful character ability that is always available to them.
Slamming cards down in front of your opponents is just pure fun. Predicting what opponents will play next and blocking it with a shield. Nothing more satisfying than baiting your opponent to use their only trap on a seemingly strong attack, only to follow it up with something more devastating.
Galatune is a fun and great looking game with lots of creative abilities to allow for plenty of interesting combat. The downsides I mentioned, particularly the confusion with simultaneously resolving actions, prevented the game from really hitting the spot for me. Anime fans and experienced TCG players will get more out it than I could. If you like casual and chaotic battle games, it is worth considering Galatune. However, if you are preferential to hard and fast rules, you may be disappointed. Look for Galatune on Amazon and at events throughout the USA.