Once you see this cabinet:
you’ve probably wandered into the wrong area. Just apologize to those around you and find something else to play. This game, among many other card games in Japan, is just a bit too deep to even attempt a full match.
This game is a bit like a strategy game, but instead of making troops or buildings, you collect physical cards to summon into each match. On the bright side, you only need a team of (I believe) 8 cards to play in a match. You can’t add or change them out at any point, so if you’re collection was just 7 really awesome cards, you could rise to the top. The artwork is beautiful, and the game itself is about capturing certain points and destroying the enemy teams base. Matches are 4v4, so there are a lot of things happening at once, and micromanagement is essential to any form of success.
If this actually sounds like a good time, as it did to me, allow me to explain how far down this rabbit hole goes.
There are three ways that you can control the action. The entire screen is touch enabled, so most of your troop management and summoning will be done through touch. There are four buttons outside of the play area that have varying effects, but only on occasion. As for the cards, this is where things get complicated. There are two sections of the card play area: offensive and defensive. As you play, you should be moving cards back and forth depending on their position relative to your crystals. Along with this, each card is defined as an attacker, defender or mage. These cards have a kind of rock-paper-scissors dynamic.
As these cards fight with others, each type has a special card movement that will allow them to deal more damage. For instance, if you wiggle your mage card left and right, they will do critical damage on their ranged attack. So now, you are hitting buttons at certain moments, shifting your cards from offense to defense and moving each card in certain ways as they engage the enemy. You’re doing all of this while moving around 8 potential troops on a touch screen, leveling them up individually and attempting to best a team of 4 players who can probably read what their cards do.
Without fluent knowledge of Japanese, this game is a definite uphill battle.
First thing’s first, you are going to need the starter pack. It costs 200 yen, and it gets you a total of six common cards with sleeves for protection. You need these exact cards in order to play through the tutorial. You’ll find them at the card machine located near the main cabinets. Luckily, it’s labeled in English, and you just need to put in money and hit the button.
Once you’ve obtained these cards, place your Nesica card in the right spot and prepare for the tutorial. They’ll ask you to pick a character design, but I have no idea what they do. Afterwards, whip those cards out and place them on the play area. Each one will register on the touch screen so you can see where they are and what you’ve put down. Once all of the starter cards are down, start up the match.
The tutorial does a good job of walking you through each step and allowing you to try all the different actions. You are given a time limit to complete the actions, so if you can’t figure it out, oh well. After this is done, I have no idea what comes next because I ran away terrified of how much is going on. However, I got you to this point, so give me that modicum of credit, please.
I will reiterate this once more. There is a whole bunch going on here, and I’m not even sure I fully grasped the mechanics myself. This is certainly the mostly blind leading the totally blind. Here is a very general (and probably very wrong) rundown of everything happening.
So, you start out at one end of the map with your three teammates. You each have a crystal to use for summoning your minions, gaining mana and healing. The goal is to capture the middle crystals and then proceed to stomp your opponents’ base with your summons. There are three different types of attackers: Attackers, Defenders, and Mages. This works as a type of Rock-Scissors-Paper match. Depending on whether they’re positioned on the offense or defense areas of your board, their attacks will change. For instance, as defenders, mages shoot very long ranged missiles, but as attackers, they do an Area of Effect attack. Also, if you move the card in a certain way when they are fighting, bonus effects can happen on their attacks. As an example, if you thrust your attacker card forward right before it fights someone, they will charge into the opponent, dealing damage.
Once you have your low-cost minions on the board, the strategy begins. You can keep them at your crystal to charge up more mana, or you can push for objectives. It’s best to coordinate with the team, though that can be difficult. You could also use mana to upgrade the minions you already have out, and this may trigger other effects. I’m Japanese illiterate, though, so I do not use these. At this point, it just comes down to who has the better cards and play. The bad news is that it won’t be the starter cards. The good news is that you’ll get a new card after every match you play. These can be anything from commons to ultra rares.
Other than this basic information, I was too intimidated by this game to get much further. If this sounds appealing, I encourage you to go through some trial-and-error work and then explain to me in the comments. I would totally get the massive appeal here if it were an English game. Such depth is commendable in an arcade, and it can keep the audience interest far longer than the basic games. It was just a bit too much for me to fully grasp, so I decided to toss my money elsewhere. Good luck!