Card Tactics is a pocket-sized solitaire tactical combat game set in a Fantasy world. You'll manage a squad of three heroes fighting against successive waves of monsters, with the goal of slaying the biggest and meanest of them all, the Dragon.
You start by picking three heroes out of six. Heroes have an ongoing ability (a “quirk”) and skills, with each skill having a range and one or more effects. They also have different defense and maximum health stats. Then, you build the Enemy deck, stacking the cards in the right order to ensure increasing difficulty. Your heroes do not gain experience but collect items at the end of each combat.
The game is played over five rounds, through each of which you will face a different wave of monsters. You start with the Camp phase, where you can freely position your heroes in a row (the position in that row is crucial), and use as many items as you wish. Furthermore, defeated heroes regain 1 health point during that phase. Once you are ready, you draw an Event card that will affect the remainder of the round. Then, you draw three enemy cards and place them facing your heroes in the same line, from left to right.
The Combat phase then begins and unfolds over successive rounds until either all the monsters or all your heroes are defeated. In each round, you start with activating your leftmost hero (the furthest one from the monsters), then the rightmost monster takes its turn, then your leftmost unexhausted hero, etc., until all heroes and monsters are exhausted. On their turn, heroes can use one of their skills (if an applicable target is within the range of that skill), use an item, or skip. Monsters follow the instructions on their cards, depending on their position.
If all of your heroes are defeated, you lose the game! If you defeat all the monsters though, you go to the Treasure phase, picking up Item cards that you’ll be able to use in future turns. Then a new cycle starts. In the last one, if you manage to slay the Dragon and survive the combat phase, you win the game!