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How To Get Started With Achroma: The Evolving Card Game

Getting Started With Achroma

It’s time to embark on your first adventure as a Realm Runner as we guide you through how to get started with Achroma!

Billed as The Evolving Card Game, Achroma has proven to be one of the most innovative and exciting CCG-style experiences in many years, building up a loyal and engaged fanbase, as well as racking up an impressive array of accolades (including in my own Achroma review).

Achroma isn’t sold with the usual, random booster pack model that you’ll find in other CCGs (collectable card games) or TCGs (trading card games). Instead, players pick up boxes of decks (or ‘Palettes’ as they’re termed in Achroma) which are mostly fixed. 

Though there may be a slight variance in terms of which decks you receive in a box, the cards you’ll find in a specific deck aren’t random at all.

That lack of randomness means that if there’s a specific card you want for your collection, you can easily track it down to which Palette or box set it features in – without the usual issue of collectors driving up prices, or cards being next to impossible to find, to contend with.

Given that Achroma has been available for a few years, it’s built up an impressive number of sets, cards and keywords – as well as refinements to its gameplay and even the ways you can get started with the game.

With all of the different types of Achroma packs now available, it can be a little daunting for new players to know exactly where to begin. 

So let’s take a look at the best ways to get started with Achroma, regardless of your age or experience level!

1. Learning To Play Achroma

Achroma Rules on Play Mat

As you’ll see from the Dexter’s Dragon Riders entry, there are now Quick Start rules available for Achroma, so players can get going with the game pretty fast and with minimal fuss.

You can also find more comprehensive rules on the official Achroma page here: How to Play Achroma

When you’re starting out – and if you don’t have the Quick Start Rules – I’d highly recommend checking out the video tutorial that appears in the link above, then having the website rules to hand when you’re playing through your first game.

Though it can all look and sound very daunting at first, it only takes a turn or two to get your head around Achroma’s terminology, turn order and keywords.

Once you’re comfortable with how the game works, it’s time to check out the two Achroma apps, which will help to make your experience with the game much slicker and more immersive!

2. What Do The Achroma Apps Do?

Achroma Companion App Screenshot

Though you don’t strictly need the Achroma Companion app to play, it’s something I’d highly recommend.

Available on both the App Store (for iOS devices) and Google’s Play Store (for Android), the Achroma Companion app is a useful tool that – as mentioned above – tracks your in-game progress, calculates your Shards after each action and also provides music and sound effects as you play, making the game even more immersive.

That’s not all though; it provides a card gallery – and you can scan your physical cards to add them to your collection here – as well as providing different ways to play in addition to the standard ‘Canvas’ format of Achroma, including the Heroes format and even Achroma Legends, an RPG played using the cards in your collection.

Achroma Adventure Screenshot

If you want to dive deeper into the Five Realms of the Achroma multiverse, I can highly recommend checking out the Achroma Adventure, a separate app that’s also a standalone game, not requiring the cards or any further investment.

That’s right, it’s entirely free to download and play!

Taking the form of a ‘choose-your-own-adventure style experience’, you’ll find yourself embroiled in all sorts of danger and excitement as the events of Chapter 1 Chronicle, The Curse of Curdle Hill, unfold.

Impressively, you can even unlock special powers and find new objects to help you find different routes and outcomes for your adventure – and more Chronicles are coming soon too!

So, now we’ve covered how and where to find the rules, as well as what the two apps are and what they do, let’s take a look at the best entry points for actually playing Achroma with your friends and family – with my suggestions of where to start depending on your situation and level of experience.

3. Dexter’s Dragon Riders – A Perfect Entry Point for Young or First Time Players

Achroma - Dexter's Dragon Riders Set

Though Achroma has always been a pretty accessible and intuitive game to learn, its reliance on unique terminology (such as referring to decks as ‘Palettes’ and a player’s play area as their ‘Canvas’, for example) can make it feel more daunting to pick up than it actually is.

The fact that the rules of the game originally needed to be found online – a measure designed to ensure that all players had access to the most up to date rules at any given time – meant that players entirely new to the game, or to this type of card game in general, may have felt a little lost at the outset.

With new sets (or ‘Chronicles’) introducing more – and more complex – keywords to the game as time went on, it became a bit more of a challenge to bring new (or younger) players into the game with any given set available.

To their credit, the designers (and publishers of Achroma) at Realm Runner Studios recognised that and have now released the perfect product for new and/or younger players to both learn and play Achroma.

Dexter’s Dragon Riders is a two player, introductory starter set which features humans, dragons and drakes – with the two included decks representing the Dragon Riders of Altari and the Drake Rider Rebellion.

Also included is a double sided list of each card that you’ll find in each deck, as well as a Quick Start rules guide.

As someone who’s been a player of Achroma for some time, I can’t adequately express just how welcome the addition of the Quick Start rules guide is, as a tool to assist with teaching the game, for players to learn the basics on their own and for quick reference, when your device is in use with the Achroma app during the game!

Though you’ll still need to venture online for the full list of keywords that you’ll find in other Chronicles and sets of Achroma, this sheet does an absolutely fantastic job of covering everything a new player needs to know in order to get started with this specific set.

The cards themselves feature the usual gorgeous artwork and clean design that Achroma players will be familiar with – the focus on dragons and drakes, alongside the young riders-in-training, gives this set an immediate appeal for younger fans.

Along with this, the keywords featured in this set are among the most straightforward to understand – and there’s a new one that’s currently exclusive to this set.

Achroma - Mount Keyword

The new keyword is ‘Mount’ – despite being specific to the riders of the included dragons and drakes, cards with Mount can also be used with dragons and drakes in other sets too!

Having an exclusive keyword, as well as the set being made up of new cards not seen in any other Achroma box before, ensures that this introductory set has significant appeal and value for older and more experienced players too, with even seasoned Achroma players having a reason to add this to their collection!

Taking that into consideration – and the fact that these cards can be used in deckbuilding (more on that in a bit) – and you’ll see that Dexter’s Dragon Riders is the perfect way to bring new players into the game, as well as keep them involved as their confidence and experience grows.

4. Realm Runner Starter Sets – The Best Way for Single Players To Get Involved With Achroma

Achroma Realm Runner Starter Set

If you have a friend or family member who’s already playing Achroma, or maybe you’ve got a local group who plays the game, there’s no better way to get involved than with a Realm Runner Starter Set.

These beautiful box sets contain a single Achroma Palette box – that you can choose from a selection of twelve different factions – as well as a stunning Realm Runner’s Guide (which contains plenty of rich lore to immerse yourself into the compellingly detailed Achroma universe, alongside card galleries and short stories), along with code cards to unlock Achroma Legends content and Shards via the excellent Achroma app.

The cards included with each box give you the option of slightly customising the deck to your own personal preference and playstyle – with 40 cards included and the size of an Achroma deck in the standard format of the game being 30 cards, it’s an excellent, simple introduction to deckbuilding for less experienced players.

The aforementioned Achroma app is a remarkable tool and resource for playing Achroma too; if you use it during your games to track Shards (collecting 30 of them means you win with a Chroma victory, whereas being reduced to zero means you lose – handing your opponent an Achrom win), it’ll add the game’s outcome to the Global Achrometer – which tracks Chroma and Achrom wins, affecting the current, ongoing storyline of the game.

Storyline outcomes affect the direction of future sets – as an example, The Siege of Draco Temple was affected by Achrom winning on the Global Achrometer once the seasonal event ended, resulting in the defeat of the Dragons by the Drakes.

This then fed into the next set – The Snow Dragons of Altari – affecting its story, setting and characters. 

This gives Achroma an incredibly immersive and interactive feel beyond just about any other card game you can play – there’s the sense that the outcome of every game you play matters way beyond your own tabletop. 

There’s no better way to immerse yourself in the game’s lore and evolving storyline than with your very own Realm Runner Starter Set!

5. Achroma Premium Play Mat

Achroma Premium Play Mat

Though not essential, here at Card Gamer we religiously use play mats when we sort, sleeve, handle and play with any of the cards in our collections.

Achroma play mats provide a nice, safe playing surface for your cards – as well as being handily marked with all of the different areas you’ll need during play.

Not only that, but these high quality play mats – produced by Vault X, who we’re big fans of here at Card Gamer Towers – are illustrated with a variety of images from different Chronicles, though if you want to opt for a plain black or white play mat, those are available too!

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