Games Gazette Logo

                   How To Play      

Cabals: Magic & Battles is an online tcg designed by Mika Rosendahl and developed by Kyy Games.  It plays in a similar way to many online collectible/trading card games with players using energy to bring cards into play and then using their abilities, strengths and defences to defeat opponent's cards. Cabals: The Card Game was originally published in 2011 for iMedia and Android as well as the Internet. It was  renamed as Cabals: Magic & Battles in 2014.

You can discover the  current card list here:  There are a number of Cabals (Tribes/Clans) with 30-32 cards in each of them. Dragon Enclave (30) Sons of Osiris (30) Bearclaw Brotherhood (31) Danaan Covenant (31) Vril Society (32) and Order of Zahir (32)

Wikipedia explains the "four" Cabals like this:
It's a war between cabals, secret societies dedicated to harnessing the forbidden powers to their own ends. It's a war over influence and a chance to shape the future of humankind.  The power struggle is between four cabals:
Danann Covenant are a group of jazz-age witches who have summoned the forgotten Sidhe to their side
Bearclaw Brotherhood is built upon the powers of the shamans and the command they have over the landspirits and the Slavic people
Vril Society combines strange Vril energy to the latest technological discoveries for powerful and unusual results
Order of Zahir relies on the esoteric art of alchemy, and are masters over both mind and matter
Sons of Osiris acolytes and necromancers from Egypt, relying on the art of necromancy and priesthood
Dragon Enclave shaolin monks built upon fundamental Taoism, along with the summoning of number of powerful, ancient legendary dragons on their side

I am a little confused as to why Wikipedia notes that there are "four" Cabals and yet goes on to describe six.


Playing through the tutorial you will discover how the game board changes shape and size as well as how to use each different card type, though unless you make a serious error it does make it a lot easier to win than it is when you play actual games, so don't get too confident.

You begin by selecting a deck of cards and then you just play the cards you are given as you are told to - until you are allowed to make your own decisions and then it's up to you. The idea is to conquer the castle space of your opponent by moving one of your pieces onto it. To do this you need to fight your creatures across the terrain taking advantage of the bonuses where possible and crushing all opposition pieces in your way. The farther you continue into the game the harder it gets, just as you would expect, until it becomes you against a real opponent and not the computer A.I. that is challenging you - then the difficulty is not only down to the luck of the draw (of the cards) but also the playing skills of you and your opponents.

Combat takes place when a piece is attempted to be moved onto the space of an opponent's piece. The results are immediate and automatically dealt. There are numerous possible results, including:
1. The attacking piece may take the space. Destroying the defending piece.
2. The attacking piece may take damage but still take the space, of course the Defender is destroyed.
3. The Defender may defeat the Attacker - the Attacker is destroyed - the Defender may or may not take damage.                             


The artwork is quite amazing, easily comparative to the best found in any other card game, online or of actual card, and the instructions on the cards about their abilities is clear by text and icon. The central piece of the screen is naturally the board but there are buttons and icons around it that are brought into play when required as well as displaying game information such as your energy level and "end turn" button.

Your creature cards have a cost in resources (energy) and may also have a Loyalty cost. The Base cost is shown in the top left corner, which you need to have in your bank to spend when you bring the card into play. There is also a specific point on the board where you bring the cards onto, at least until you play the card that allows you to create another entry space, so it is a good thing that the card played can immediately move from the entry space; movement being orthogonal only, never diagonal, the same as attacking a space - you cannot attack diagonally.


At the end of each session of the tutorial there is a completion screen that leads you onto the next part, at least until you reach the final part and Victory ! then, as I have already stated, you are on your own, but you do get some fine fun cards to play on with. You then have the choice of Modern or Classic which either keeps the game as you now know it or streamlines it - I personally plumped for the Classic game.

Also shown on the board is each player's Hero portrait. This Hero has a very special ability that can only be used once per game as it is possibly game-winningly powerful if used at the ultimate moment. Once you have a Hero you need a Deck and not just an open the box and remove the cards deck, a deck that you have created specifically to your customisation. There must be a minimum of 30 cards, they must be usable by the chosen Hero and no card may be repeated more than 3 times.


CABALS isn't that far removed from many of the other online trading card games but it is as enjoyable as any other I have played and better than some. If you like playing card games one on one against real opponents or against the ever-learning computer Artificial Intelligence then CABALS is one of the newest around and definitely worth trying. It doesn't have all the flashy effects of some of the other games but instead ensures that the game, not the distractions, is the main event.




© Chris Baylis 2011-2015