Children of Zodiarcs is a deckbuilding strategy JRPG from Cardboard Utopia and it is not easy. Optimising your deck and your dice to provide consistent tactical returns is a big part of being successful in the game. If you are interested in levelling up your gameplay then read on…
This article contains no story spoilers for Children of Zodiarcs but if you look forward to finding out what different cards will unlock as you go through the game then read on with caution.
Children of Zodiarcs Tips & Tricks
Before going any further, it’s worth pointing out a couple of basic tactical concepts and things that the game doesn’t necessarily spell out for you:
- Positioning – this is Children of Zodiarcs 101. If you hover over any character on the screen, even enemy characters, you will see blue squares that light up to show you the possible spaces that character can reach on their turn. Use this to inform your moves both in terms of clustering your characters for an AOE buff or getting your vulnerable characters out of range of enemies. A lot of the melee enemies in the game cannot attack anywhere outside the eight squares adjacent to them. Making sure they can’t move to place your characters in those spaces can be invaluable. Character-specific positioning tips will also appear in their sections below.
- Undo – in case you hadn’t realised, you can take back a character’s actions right up to the point of rolling dice. If you made a move you don’t like, press Escape or click the back arrow in the top-left of the screen and undo it. If you picked a card to play that you don’t like, do the same thing and return it to your hand.
- Grinding – at a certain point in Children of Zodiarcs, skirmishes will open up. These will be perennially available to you from that point on and you can play as many as you like to level up your characters between story missions. On Hard mode this is essential as the enemies in story battles will be at set levels you are unlikely to reach without grinding skirmishes. On Normal mode it is not as necessary to grind as the enemies in story modes scale with your level. However, the higher level your character the more tactical options you will have and so you can still see a benefit and make a hard battle easier by grinding a couple of levels on a skirmish (or in the Arena of Xin if you’re feeling brave).
- Pods – on plenty of levels in the game, the enemies on screen will activate in pods. This means that a number of them will remain inactive until you move a character past a certain point of the map. Make sure to deal with all enemies in a pod before activating the next one if you can help it. Once you have dealt with all the enemies in a pod you can take a turn or two to heal or apply buffs if you need to.
- Deck Size – one of the key things you’re looking for in your decks is consistency. You want to be drawing the right cards for your build and plenty of them. That means keeping your decks lean and trim to increase the chances of drawing the cards you want. I recommend running every character at the minimum of 18 cards if you can, and certainly no higher than 22. If you find yourself drawing cards in the middle of a battle that you are disappointed to see or have no use for, make a note of that card. After the battle consider why you were disappointed to see it. Was it just not the right time or would no time have been the right time? If the answer is the foremost, consider reducing the number of copies you have. If the answer is the lattermost, try taking all copies out of your deck and see if you notice the difference.
- Dice Selection & Building – the types of dice your characters unlock as they level up in Children of Zodiarcs will give you pointers as to the types of things that character needs on their dice. Beyond that though, look at the cards in your deck. Do they have a lot of extra abilities they need stars for to work properly? Pick and build dice with plenty of stars. Do they have no means of drawing cards beyond the generic (and inefficient) card draw action? Pick and build dice with some nice card draw faces. A lot of this may sound self-explanatory but take the time to check your decks and see what gaps they have and what aspects you want to accentuate.
Read on to find out how to build strong decks with Nahmi, Brice and Xero