I recently had a bunch of armies for Pocket Tactics printed for a special game day at the shop. There are a lot of things I like about Pocket Tactics, including the simplicity, game length, and ability to mix-and-match a game with lots of factions.
First and foremost, I like Pocket Tactics because it demonstrates a miniatures game that doesn’t have to be complex. I’ll admit, that its simplicity tends to restrict the strategy a bit too far for my tastes, but it really has the basics. I especially like how the rules encourage battle lines to form, especially on favorable terrain. This gives the aggressor some advantage as they choose which terrain to take, but can also make attacking a dangerous prospect if they are pushing into enemy favorable terrain.
The game rules also have a lean toward attack over defense, so models will tend to die faster than expected. Coupled with the fact that the average faction has 4-6 models, and you end up with very quick games. Another thing that makes turns go quickly is the dice-rolling mechanic – using two differently colored dice, you simply roll attack and defense in one roll (and both players can roll at the same time.) There is a fair bit of tactical decision making with the bumps and rerolls, but then the decision about who won the combat is easy.
Lastly, I like the mix-and-match factions of the game. It allowed my space police to go against Harry’s dwarves and be balanced and interesting. Also, while a lot of the card abilities are based on keywords, most of them are bonuses keyed to your own faction rather than your opponent’s. This makes it so that you usually get your big keyword bonuses if you play your faction well, and may occasionally get a minor buff depending on your opponent.
Overall, I had a fun time with Pocket Tactics, and I will likely print myself a set when I next have the free time. In the meantime, it’s a fun little game that I can play at the shop with my friends.