Independently designed and published by the surprisingly small team at Realm Runner Studios, Achroma: The Evolving Card Game has quietly built up a dedicated fan base, an impressive amount of critical acclaim, and an excellent range of products since launching just a few years ago.
In my Achroma review here on Card Gamer, I described it as “a breathtakingly beautiful, compellingly addictive and refreshingly original game, with thoughtfully designed mechanics and incredible presentation.”
If it’s a game you’ve already played, you’ll no doubt have already succumbed to its numerous charms – but if you haven’t, you can check out our how to get started with Achroma guide.
Whether you’re already a fan or not, let’s check out our recommendations for the best Achroma sets!
1. Achroma Deluxe Realm Box
The multiverse that Achroma is set in is made up of Five Realms; each of which is involved in a struggle between the colourful energy of Chroma and the dark, draining Achrom.
Four of the Realms are covered in each of Achroma’s Chapter 1 Chronicles.
Each Chronicle is comprised of three factions and two Realm Runners – with each of the factions and Realm Runner Expansions having their own Palette deck.
With each of the Realms featuring their own flavour, character types and keywords, players can now choose a favourite and instantly nab themselves every Chapter 1 card from that Realm, as well as a host of other content (and a playmat!), by getting hold of a Deluxe Realm Box.
Players can choose from four different Realm Boxes – and, though I have my favourite (I can’t resist the dragons found in The Siege of Draco Temple!), there’s a great deal of variety in terms of the settings and keywords available in each.
Perhaps you like the idea of Steampunk tech, magical police and the dark machinations of an occult society? Then The Curse of Curdle Hill is for you.
Are beautiful dragons, dark drakes and warrior monks more your taste? Then The Siege of Draco Temple is where you’ll be heading.
How about the smallest realm of them all, populated by Fairies, Pixies and magical academies? Sounds like The Fall of Flutterby will be right up your street!
Then there’s subterranean tribes of Trolls; the matriarchal, kind Lacringi and the power hungry Brisgavi – if that intrigues you, you’ll want to head underground to meet The Warriors of Wishwell.
Alongside the five decks (or rather, Palettes) of cards in each box, there’s also the phenomenal Achroma Chapter 1: Realm Runners Guide book, which is full of the game’s gorgeous art, lore, card galleries and even short stories – covering all of Achroma’s Realms.
You’ll also find unlock codes for digital content for Achroma Legends, the tabletop RPG experience that you can play using the Achroma Companion app and cards from your collection, along with Shards that can be used for unlocking further digital content, such as in-game avatar images.
Finally, there’s the aforementioned playmat in each box; these are illustrated with an iconic image from your selected Realm.
The playmats – made by Vault X, a company we’re big fans of here at Card Gamer Towers – are of an impressively high quality, with stitched edges and play zones clearly marked.
Though the price tag may seem steep, Deluxe Realm Boxes are huge and packed with content – they’re the absolute best way to get yourself an instant library of cards, supplemental content and accessories that’ll take your game to the next level.
Each box allowing for multiple players to take part in both playing and deck building, as well as being able to dive even further into the compelling lore behind Achroma – as well as engaging in roleplaying within the Five Realms.
2. Achroma First Edition Sets
Achroma’s first Chronicle products were released as box sets containing two Palettes, featuring a random pairing of two decks from the Chronicle.
Each Chronicle features three factions – in turn, each of the factions has two different Palettes on offer. Though the selection in a First Edition box is random, you receive decks from different factions, with no risk that you’ll receive two from the same faction.
There’s a few things that are special about First Edition boxes that make them well worth picking up.
Firstly, the fact that you receive decks from two different factions means that they’re always perfectly tuned to use immediately for two players, competitively.
Aside from the recently released Dexter’s Dragon Riders – an introductory, two player starter set (more on that shortly!) – a First Edition box is the best way for two players to immediately get started with Achroma.
Secondly, the presentation, as is always the case with Achroma, is second to none – with beautiful packaging and, exclusive to First Edition cards, incredibly beautiful, raised ink-style card treatments on the Legendary and Rare cards in each Palette.
The First Edition releases are also limited, so when the print run of boxes sells out, that’s it – though thankfully, cards don’t become unavailable; they just move into ‘standard’ edition Palette releases.
We’ve opted to showcase The Fall of Flutterby: First Edition set in our photos here; one reason for that is that it’s still available – which is helpful, of course!
The Fall of Flutterby Chronicle is home to some of our favourite keywords too: SPLAT and SQUISH.
The Fairy and Pixie-populated factions Chroma Squadron, Fallen Stone Pixies and Flutterby Faculty are what you’ll find in The Fall of Flutterby; each plays host to some fantastic cards.
First Edition sets for The Warriors of Wishwell and the Chapter Two Chronicles, A Conjuring at Curdle Cove and The Snow Dragons of Altari, are also still available.
I’d recommend The Warriors of Wishwell as another good entry point for two players, whereas A Conjuring at Curdle Cove and The Snow Dragons of Altari would be sets I’d recommend to players who are more familiar with Achroma, given the slightly more complicated nature of the keywords they introduce.
3. Achroma Collector’s Edition Sets
You’ll find that the little morsels of lore – as well as the vividly realised characters, objects and locations – on Achroma’s cards tend to pique your curiosity and grab your attention, fuelling a desire to delve deeper into the game’s setting.
Though Deluxe Realm Boxes and the Realm Runner’s Guide provide a great overview of a single Realm and the Five Realms overall, respectively, what if a specific faction in an Achroma Chronicle really captures your imagination?
Well, that’s where Collector’s Edition sets come in.
These lavishly produced box sets feature all of the cards from a specific faction – in their First Edition form with special card treatments too – along with a stunning array of extras.
You’ll find cleverly produced documents that look like genuine artifacts from the Five Realms – such as authentic-looking scrolls or field agent print outs, as you can see from the Norso Market Traders box pictured here.
Alongside those, you’ll also find badges featuring art from your chosen faction’s cards and a fabric pouch to keep your Palette safe too.
Lastly, A4 art prints and a Chronicle-exclusive, limited edition Promo card – usable as an in-game Location – are also in the box.
These sets are a wonderful way to explore a faction beyond the information you can glean from cards; the emphasis on physical items truly makes the game come alive, with a wonderful sense of tangibility.
4. Dexter’s Dragon Riders – Introductory Two Player Starter Set
Regardless of your age or experience level, the Dexter’s Dragon Riders set is the perfect way to learn and play Achroma.
Featuring two Palettes – with factions of gifted, young Dragon Riders pitting themselves against the rebellious, Drake-riding pupils, both at the Dragon Rider School of Casanda – this set also contains quick start rules to ease the learning process and get players into their games of Achroma in a more frictionless manner than was previously possible.
The rules sheet also contains all of the necessary information on the set’s keywords, including a new and exclusive one: MOUNT, which allows players to ride any Dragon or Drake from the Realm of Draco Planum.
Importantly, with each card bearing the Draco Planum Realm symbol, each can be used when building a deck of Draco Planum cards – so not only is this set a great introduction to the game, but it can also be used once players want to delve further into Achroma by engaging with deck building too!
5. Achroma Single Palette Boxes
If you’ve already got yourself a two player First Edition or Dexter’s Dragon Rider’s set, you might want to dip your toes into the waters beyond the Realm or Chronicle of the set you already have.
Though deck building rules for the ‘Canvas’ and ‘Heroes’ formats of Achroma mean that you can only use cards in your deck that share the same Realm symbol (or are realmless, with no Realm symbol at all), there’s no need to worry about what Realm your opponents have with their decks.
So you’re free to pit a Salum Planum deck against a Draco Planum deck, for example – or any combination, with more than one opponent, as both Canvas and Heroes allow for more than 2 players to take part in a game of Achroma.
The best way to try out new factions, keywords and potential strategies is with a single Palette, which will give you all of the cards for a specific faction in one box.
Though there’s no fancy, First Edition ink treatments on these cards, mechanically they’re exactly the same as the cards you’ll find in the Limited Edition sets.
However, it’s definitely worth noting that your alternate art cards are randomly distributed in 50% of all single palette boxes – and these are highly sought after by Achroma fans!
As you get all of the cards for a specific faction, you can also indulge in a small amount of deck building too – you can put together both of the faction-specific Palettes that you’ll find in a First Edition Chronicle release (though only one at a time!), or even put together your own using the deck building rules that you’ll find on the official Achroma formats page.
What Accessories Would Be Useful For My Achroma Card Collection?
Once you’ve learned to play Achroma and have found more opponents to challenge, you’re going to want to ensure that your card collection stands up to repeated use.
Along with Play Mats – which you can find in Deluxe Realm Boxes, as well as being available separately on the official Achroma web site; see the Accessories link above – it’s definitely worth investing in sleeves for your Achroma cards.
Here at Card Gamer, we use trading card sleeves religiously for cards that we collect, store and play with; you can check out our recommendations here for the best trading card sleeves, all of which are the correct size for Achroma cards.
Finally, if you want to take your decks along with you to play with your friends or at tournaments, we can highly recommend getting hold of one or more deck boxes.
Though aimed at Magic: The Gathering players, every product on this Commander deck boxes list is also suitable for Achroma cards.
Lastly, using a binder (or multiple binders, if you have enough cards!) is the most efficient and safe way of storing your cards, at least when they’re not in decks you’ll be using to play.
Our best trading card binders list will help to point you in the right direction and help you to find one that’s best for you, though do note that you can buy officially branded, Vault X-produced Achroma binders – which hold 396 cards – from the official Achroma website here.
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