Anima: Shadow of Omega places you in command of a group of heroes destined to defeat Omega and save all of Gaïa from oblivion!
2-5 players each command a party of up to four powerful characters in their quest.
Each player begins with one random character drawn from the character deck, such as the Paladin, the Wizard, or the Warrior Mentalist. As the game progresses, each player will be able to recruit additional characters.
Each character has a Combat value and a Speed value, which contribute to your ability to win battles and succeed at various tasks. They also possess a gender, up to three skills (Trickery, Magic, and Ki), and may have a special ability. For example, the Paladin has a 3 Combat value, a 2 Speed value, is female, and can use Ki abilities. She also receives a +4 to Combat when battling creatures of Darkness.
Each player begins the game with two secret missions, the quests that her party has undertaken. Once they have completed one of their missions, they will have discovered enough of the dark events in the background to reveal the Final Mission.
Mission Cards are each unique; they have a story and detailed instructions for how to complete it, and a reward for its completion. Some will require you to travel to a dangerous location and defeat a unique monster, others will be as complex as a daring rescue mission or a bit of larceny of potent magical artifacts…
The action of Anima: Shadow of Omega revolves around Areas in the world of Gaïa. Each Area has its own possible encounters and rewards, and many are tied to specific missions. The Areas of Anima range from the safe and serene (such as the Village of Cornes) to the incredibly dangerous (such as the Tower at the End). Before they explore an Area, of course, characters must first survive an Encounter.
Encounters represent the varied things that can happen to heroic adventuring parties as they go about their business, doing what they do best. Some are benign, such as encountering new allies in the wilderness or finding a cache of treasure. Others represent misfortune and hostile creatures! Each Encounter has a level, and it cannot appear at an Area which has a level lower than the Encounter.
Encounters will be either Events, which will simply occur, take their effect, and be discarded, or creatures. Creatures have a combat level and some special abilities and when they are encountered, it's time to do battle!
Combat in Anima: Shadow of Omega is streamlined and fast-paced. A single six-sided die is rolled, and the combat value of the entire party is added to the result. Meanwhile, a rival player rolls for the creature being battled, and adds its combat level. The high roller is the winner, and if the party loses by five or more, one of their members is slain and must be discarded. Undefeated creatures remain on their Areas and must be defeated before the Area can be explored.
Of course, players may affect the outcome of a battle through the play of Advantage cards…
Advantages are either Plot cards or Skill cards. Plot cards have special rules that detail their effects and method of play right on the card; they might represent blossoming romance, a twist of good fortune, or joining a secretive organization.
Skill cards are either Trickery, Magic, or Ki skills and their use keys off of the characters in your party. To use a Skill, you must spin (exhaust) a character with a matching skill icon, so a breadth of skills in your party can be very useful! Skills often affect combat, but they can also be used to trick or hinder your opponent, or perhaps to avoid a fight altogether.
Eventually, the players will be strong enough to attempt the Final Mission! The first player to complete the Final Mission and save the world from the menace of Omega is the winner!