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Summoner Wars

, | Published: 2012

Summoner Wars for iOS is a digital card game with all the tactical elements of a boardgame. The first free-to-play app from Playdek, Summoner Wars for iOS allows players to control the Phoenix Elves faction and battle against AI opponents.

Seven additional factions such as the Tundra Orcs, Guild Dwarves and Cave Goblins are available through the game’s in-app store, and online game play access is available after the first purchase is made. Players who have made a purchase can play online games with full asynchronous support. For those who wish to take the game to the next level, a deck-editor allows players to select the cards in their factions, within the confines of the rules. Changing cards can affect game play, making the game infinitely customizable.

Summoner Wars is a popular fantasy card game where players take on the role of a Summoner. Players cast spells and summon warriors to a battlefield and tactically maneuver them in an effort to defeat their opponent’s summoner. Summoner Wars offers many faction decks for players to choose from, like the precise Phoenix Elves, the hordes of Cave Goblins, or the righteous Vanguards. Each faction offers unique play and requires players to adapt to the special strategies available to that faction.

Summoner Wars card gallery screen Summoner Wars game creation screen Summoner Wars gameplay


  • Free to Play
  • One free faction included
  • Online play unlocked with first in-app purchase
  • Four AI opponents
  • 7 new factions to purchase
  • 8 Reinforcement Card packs to purchase
  • Mercenary Card pack to purchase
  • Plaid Hat promo cards included in Mercenary Card pack
  • Tutorial, Card Gallery and Rule Book

Store Links: (prices may vary)

User Reviews (11)

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Old Bones
The Silver Heart
47 of 54 gamers found this helpful
“The iOS app really opened up custom decks”

The Summoner Wars iOS app is a really nice implementation of the Summoner Wars expandable card game. It is free with one playable faction (the Phoenix Elves) and you can play against AI playing one of the original 4 factions. Make an online purchase through the app and it opens up more playable factions (the first eight), online play, and reinforcements.

The translation from physical to virtual was well done. If you have played the game in meat space, you can play the iOS game without too much trouble. I think the biggest challenge to veterans of the physical game is when choosing to use a special ability rather than an attack. Dragging from the left side of the card will attack while dragging from the right side will use the special ability. It also will highlight an attack target with red, and it uses a green highlight for abilities. This can be a problem on the smaller screens of the iPod touch and iPhone, but you can zoom in to make this easier. Those unfamiliar with the physical game can make use of a tutorial and/or read the rules on the device.

The AI for the game can be anywhere from silly to downright stupid at times. Considering the kinds of decisions that can come up in a typical game, this is almost to be expected. It could have been better, but making it better would probably make the app a lot bigger and/or make the app seriously slow down the device. I think that is really kind of a moot point, however, because online play is where it’s at. You can play multiple games at the same time, and you can choose to play a quick game or a leisurely game that takes days. It’s really cool to be able to play a game with the designer.

Where the game really shines is in the ability to customize decks. I never really tried it out with the physical game apart from swapping a mercenary for one of my champions. The iOS app (with reinforcements purchases) allows you to make custom decks and save them. After building a selection of custom decks, you can start a new game with either the original or the custom deck. Just a couple taps on the device and you’re good to go. In the physical game it might involve pulling out cards, and putting others in. Some gamers might feel the need to reset to the originals, or to have another copy to maintain the original plus the custom. Instead I can have the original, or a whole lot of customs, and I can get started with either fast.

I really like this app. It is a good value, and it really opened up a previously unexplored aspect of the game.

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Hockey Fan
Tinkerer Beta 2.0 Tester
46 of 53 gamers found this helpful
“It's finally here, it rocks... and it's FREE!!”

I am a huge fan of the actual board game, so I’ve been chomping at the bit to finally get this iOS version, and I’m happy to report that Playdek knocked it out of the park!

For those of you unfamiliar with Summoner Wars, this game pits two “Summoners” in a tactical, minis-like battle (Think MtG meets Chess/Stratego). The goal: Kill the other Summoner! Sounds simple? Well, it is, and that’s the greatest compliment I can pay this game. Summoner Wars has this organic flow which is easy to teach, simple to play and almost every game unveils giant swings of fortune, dramatic twists and turns which typically catapults you into a nail-biting conclusion.

This digital version has perfectly recreated the board-game version, but has also enhanced the feel of it all through subtle artwork animations, music and sound effects. Any card can be double-clicked to zoom (which is handy, as most every card has a bit of text on it) but it condenses down to an abbreviated version showing just the basics (Attack and Hit Points). I’m playing on an iPhone 4, and it scales down just fine.

The game provides for an Offline game mode which pits you against the A.I. or an Online game against your friends (which only unlocks upon making an in-game purchase).

So let’s talk about the money.
The full game is Free to try, however you will only be allowed 1 of the 8 current available factions to play as (the Phoenix Elves).
Each of the other 7 factions and their separate reinforcement packs are available for an in-game purchase for .99 cents each, but the best bang for your buck is the “Everything Bundle 1” available for $7.99. This gives you access to the Cave Goblins, Cloaks, Fallen Kingdom, Guild Dwarves, Jungle Elves, Tundra Orcs, Vanguards, Mercenary Pack 1 AND all their reinforcement packs, which I feel is definitely worth it considering the crazy amount of variety you unlock. The game also allows you the ability to create, name and save your own custom decks (within the guidelines of deck building that the game rules allow).

Do I have any knit-picks? Well, as of right now, the offline A.I. only has 4 factions you can choose to play against. There’s also no way to select the difficultly level of the A.I. and I feel it’s preset on “easy”. The A.I. can also take quite a while to figure out what it’s going to do on it’s move. These are all small things that I’m sure further version updates will likely address.

To sum up:
If you’ve never played Summoner Wars before and would like try it free.
Get it. Get it now!
If you’re a current Summoner Wars fan and need a mobile fix.
Get it. Get it now!

Player Avatar
Jungle Elves - Summoner Wars Beta 2.0 Tester
Summoner Wars Fan
Unicorn Clan - Legend of the Five Rings
46 of 53 gamers found this helpful
“Now even more accessible!”

I’ll start by saying if you have an IOS device and you haven’t purchased Summoner Wars for the IOS, you should stop reading now, go to the App store and download it. If you don’t have an IOS device, you should stop reading now, go to a real store to purchase one, and then go to the App store to download the game. It is really that fun.

For those not familiar with Summoner Wars, it is a skirmish-style card game played on a grid. The cards act as units and are moved around on the grid, interacting and attacking your opponent’s units. The goal is to destroy the other player’s Summoner. The various cards have different abilities, and there are multiple factions that have their own strengths and weaknesses. Destroying units provides magic that you can use to summon more and stronger units to the board. The game plays quickly and has a generous amount of tactical depth, requiring tough decisions that can have a tremendous effect on the outcome of the game. And it really is a blast to play!

The initial free download comes with one faction, the Phoenix Elves, and they can be used to play against the four AI factions that are currently available. The AI is passable and acts a decent primer for learning the strengths and weaknesses of various factions. However, once you purchase at least one other faction, you can play online in asynchronous mode against human opponents, which is what really makes the game shine. Facing a variety of live opponents allows tons of opportunity to experiment and really explore the multiple levels of strategy the game has to offer.

The IOS app was produced by Playdek, the same company that created the excellent Ascension and Nightfall apps, and they not only lived up to expectations, they surpassed them with their version of Summoner Wars. The graphics are very functional and well-done, and the gameplay is extremely polished and intuitive. If you’ve never played the game, an easy tutorial allows you to jump right in. If you have played the game, you’ll be summoning champions and building magic in minutes.

Obviously, I’m a fan, and the reason it took me so long to write a review is because I was too busy playing the app, but I do have a few small criticisms. The AI can sometimes take a long to process its move, which can slow down solo games. Also, there are a few particular special abilities that can be misplayed by a button press at the wrong time. It only takes a few instances of adding wounds to your Summoner for no reason to figure out how to avoid this, but it can be frustrating when you press the wrong thing at the wrong time.

Overall, this is an amazing app. It offers a huge amount of replayability and depth as you face different opponents online and experiment with building different decks for every occasion. It is easy to learn, and the price is quite reasonable. If you have an iSomething and even a small interest in a tactical skirmish game, you should definitely try Summoner Wars.

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8 Beta 2.0 Tester
Went to Gen Con 2012 Bronze Supporter
Advanced Reviewer
46 of 53 gamers found this helpful
“Im Becoming Addicted ”

I am a huge fan of the Plaid Hat Podcast, but have actually never played one of their games. When this app came out and it was free!!! I was pretty excited to get to play one of their games and try out some of what I have been hearing about from their podcast and from the Dice Tower as well. I was not disappointed.

In the game you choose a different faction of characters to fight against one other faction and you two battle it out on a battlefield grid. The goal of the game is to kill your opponents summoner. Whoever does this first, wins.

Each faction has their own unique special abilities that you have to learn and strategize to best your opponent. One thing that I like about this is each faction’s abilities match who they are. So the Tundra Orcs have ice and brute strength abilities while Cave Goblins come at you in numbers, but lower strength.

Fighting is done with a simple roll of electronic die. On rolls of three or more you score a hit. Melee fighters need to be adjacent and range fighters need to be at least three spaces away.

You also have different types of cards that you have to manage such as your leader the Summoner, champions, commons, and special event cards that can really separate you from your enemy. Let’s check it out.

Summoner: This is the guy you are trying to kill and trying to protect. But that does not make him a liability on your side. These guys have their own special abilities that will save your butt time and time again.

Champions: You have three champion in your deck, but each one is unique. These are your power house guys that come on the board and start to clean house. Think of the scene in TLOR when they are in the dwarf cave fighting those goblins and then the cave orc comes in and tears the **** out of the place, its like that.

Commons: These are low power guys. You will have a few of them in your hand and each will have unique powers, but you will have a few of them. Think of more like a squad. So you’ll have a few squads all with the same ability.

Events: These are cards that you play and will boost your faction in some way or hinder your opponent. Playing these cards at the right time can turn the tides of the game.

One additional component to the game is building magic. You need magic to summon your guys on to the battlefield. You get magic by killing off your opponent’s men, and by discarding cards from your hand. So you have some hand management you have to work with as well. Learning to do all these things in turn will result in your victory.

• The game is free! If you have never played it before you can at least get a taste for it before diving right in. Now, even though it is free, you only get a few of the factions to try out. If you want to get real involved you will have to make a purchase.
• There are a lot of factions, even though not all of them are available on the iOS. The nice thing about this is when you get bored with one, just move on the next one and try it out. Each one also has its own strategy, so if one does not work for you there are more options. I also like this feature because it stretches me as a gamer and makes me play with strategies that I am not as comfortable with.
• The artwork and play of the game is really nice. Visually, it is a great crossover to the iOS.
• The deck building portion of the app works great! You can customize your deck however you like with different fighters from your own faction or add in some mercs and mix it up. Again, a great way to stretch you and your abilities to think outside of the box.

• The AI can be a little slow. I know others have mentioned this, but it’s not that bad. It usually makes good decisions which means that it is harder for me.
• The usability is not something you will be able to sit down and understand, especially if you have never played the game before. This is not a huge bust, but I like games with easy usability. You will most likely need to watch the tutorial.
• There have been times that the AI has had a clear shot at my summoner and instead attacked a wall or a common. In my opinion, this should not happen. If you have a shot at a summoner you take it. Especially if its between that and attacking a wall???

I love this game! I want to pick it up and play whenever I can. I don’t usually play online vs. other players, but this game is taking me there. It has a lot to offer and can be quite addicting. Its like a crazy form of chess. If you can get this game, its free, and you need to at least give it a college try. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. And if you don’t listen to the Plaid Hat Podcast you should. They are pretty funny and give good insight into a board game company.

PS: How do you grade “Components” on digital games?

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I play green
46 of 53 gamers found this helpful
“My new favorite iOS Game”

Ascension used to be my favorite iOS game, but Summoner Wars now has the throne. It should be noted that Playdek coded both this and Ascension and their expertise shows.

This review will quickly cover Summoner Wars as a game as well as the quality of the iOS implementation.

iOS –
This is a very solid iOS game. It’s free to download and try, which means you cannot play multiplayer, but you can get a feel for things and try it before investing in it. Any purchase unlocks multiplayer. Through the app you can buy any of the factions individually or in bundles.

I immediately purchased the $7.99 bundle that includes every faction and the mercenaries. I love the variety of the factions and this was the right choice for me.

If you use GameCenter, and you should, it is very easy to begin games with friends. You can quickly send an invite to play with your friends. Very simple. You can also play randomly with folks if you choose.

The game tracks stats on a per faction basis, which is very handy. You can also see faction stats for everyone, which is also fun.

The game is almost a perfect asynchronous implementation, which means I can login, take my turn, log off, let my friend take his turn, and so forth. There are a few cards that require your opponent make a decision before you can continue. By and large, I don’t play with these. My friends and I have “house ruled” them out.

There is some fuzzy UI implementation. The special abilities for many units are on the right side of the *tiny* cards. You will often mis-tap and mis-use them as you first get used to things. I recommend you zoom in and use the larger image as you get used to things. There’s also an “order of operations” component. For example, if a Unit says “You can move X spaces with this Unit if only she moves.” Well, don’t use her first, because it assumes you don’t want to use anyone else.

These quirks are consistent and can be learned, but they will be frustrating initially, especially as you can’t redo things. If you’re really concerned, figure it out offline against the AI.

The game doesn’t have a perfect tutorial. This is best for people who already know how to play Summoner Wars. The information is all there, but it’s not perfectly presented. I had played one game of Summoner Wars previously months before, so I had to use the tutorial to catch up. Here, it succeeded, but for completely new people it may be lacking.

The Game Itself –
Summoner Wars is an outstanding 2 player tactical board game. Some people have compared it to chess. I greatly prefer Summoner Wars to chess.

The game is greatly distilled and streamlined. On your turn you draw up to your hand size. You can then spend magic to summon any number of units. Then, you can play ability cards, which DON’T require magic (typically). You can the move any 3 Units. You can then attack with any 3 units. Finally, you may discard cards from your hand to increase your magic pool.

Combat is very straightforward. Units are melee (adjacent) or ranged (up to 3 spaces in a straight line). Units all have an attack power, which indicates how many d6 to roll. Roll a 3 or greater to have a hit. Most units have just 1 or 2 life, so life is easily tracked. Units you defeat are added to your magic pile to use to summon more units.

The game is won when a player defeats his opponent’s summoner, which is a very powerful Unit.

The game includes several factions which play very differently. Learning to play the different factions is a real treat. Furthermore, you can modify your deck slightly with “reinforcement cards,” so over time you can customize your faction a little. I highly recommend this as you move beyond novice level. This isn’t nearly as complicated as Magic: The Gathering, but it is a lot of fun and makes you feel satisfied when your deck’s strategy pays off.

I should note the UI for customizing decks isn’t great.

Overall, I loved this game so much I invested in a physical version of the Summoner Wars Master Set to play with friends face to face. It has 6 different factions! Plus, I can buy the ones on the iPhone to use as well. This is a great game and well worth a try.

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I play yellow
46 of 53 gamers found this helpful
“They say it is a reason to buy yourself an iPhone... I did, was it worth it?”

Yes. I’m one of those guys (but to be honest I don’t know how many of them really are there) who made a decision to buy himself an iPhone based on ability to play Summoner Wars app. Seriously. May sound a little bit crazy, but it will get even better.
I don’t own a physical copy, nor I played Summoner Wars before.
So how mad of a person I have to be to decide on really serious purchase based on a game that I really don’t know if I’m going to like it. What is done cannot be undone, but what can be done is to share my experience with others so they will know better.

As far as implementation goes (and I will tell from iPhone, not iPad perspective), guys at Playdek did a great job at putting everything together.
The game plays really well even on the small screen. Yes you have to constantly zoom cards to know what they do until you learn all of them, but to be honest you will have to memorize them anyway to be a good player. So after a while you will not have a problem with it. There is also full library of cards for you to make learning easier.
Tutorial is flawless. It throws you right into the action, helping you with first moves, interface and basic rules and then smoothly hands you the steering wheel.
There is a pretty decent AI so you can polish your skill a little before you go online and for someone who had no experience at all, this was a great feature. Still you will have to learn a lot more before you can actually beat some human players, but it will give you a feel how the game works.
Tinkering with decks is fun and easy. You can have a number of custom decks ready to play or just adjust with a card or two between every game in an instant.
What is the most fun, that you can log and play with people I would never ever have an opportunity to play with. And how cool is to play with the designer of the game and other folks at Plaidhat? And there is a huge and nice community of people playing this game so you won’t have a problem getting some play. Especially that it plays async really well.
If there is one things that it lacks… it is chat. Summoner Wars is a game where you just cry for ability to speak with someone. There are so many moments where I just wanted to comment on the game or some dice rolls and congratulate my opponent. I can see what problems chat options may bring but I still want it. And more factions of course 😉

I’m pretty sure I don’t have to tell you that I liked both the game and the app itself. I’m really glad I have it. It gets a ton of play. Furthermore I’ve met on many cool people on the other side of electronic board of Summoner Wars.
It is just a great implementation of a great game with great people.
Drop me an invite anytime 😉

Oh yes. It was worth it.

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Plaid Hat Games fan
46 of 53 gamers found this helpful
“I Cannot Put This Game Down!”

Seriously, I am playing at least 5 games of Summoner Wars on my iPad and/or iPhone a day.

I have the complete collection of the tabletop version, but there is not always someone to play a game with, so I immediately turn to this app. It is an amazing representation of the actual game, and with some of the visual elements (like highlighting cards you can play vs non-highlight of cards you can’t) it is somewhat faster to learn the game through the iOS version.

The app is not complete with all of the Factions/Reinforcement/Second Summoner cards, but the company that makes the iOS version is working on updates to include them. Also, there are plenty of online tournaments you can get into via Plaid Hat Games forums, the official one of which pays out a gift certificate to their store!

I encourage anyone to try this game; it is very intuitive and user friendly. You’ll find it very hard to put down, too.

Player Avatar
46 of 54 gamers found this helpful
“Near Perfect Translation”

I’ve only played Summoner Wars a few times IRL. I’ve been waiting for this to come out on iOS so I can get my fix. PlayDek has hit a home run with the visual elements to this game. The translation is flawless. There are some finer rules points that I thought would be difficult to have on the iOS version, but they’ve pulled everything off flawlessly.

Really, really well done. I love this game, and am eagerly awaiting the next version with hopefully more factions.

Having said all this, there are a few nits, that I hope will be revised soon.

Offline: The AI takes *way* too long to think out every step of every move. Also, this game really needs an undo – with all the options you have, if you drag too fast, and missed your target by 1/8″ it can ruin the game for you.

Online: It’s easy to find a game. And while it’s not specific to this game, it annoys me that I can’t start a game with a GameCenter friend who has that game but hasn’t logged on.

Lastly, there have been several games in which I’ve lost or the other person has resigned. I have yet to see the final moves in these cases.

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I'm a Player!
46 of 55 gamers found this helpful
“Very strong version”

So, I love Summoner Wars. Its one of my top games, and its actually my wife’s favorite game as well. So, of course, getting this app was a no brainer for us.

We downloaded it both for the ipod and the ipad. The ipod version isn’t so great. The screen of the ipod is too small to get the full scope of the game without zooming in, and even then it feels a bit uncomfortable to play with. A lot of reviewers have complained about this version, and i agree – it just doesn’t work so well for the ipod.

As for the ipad, its fantastic! The screen of the ipad is big enough for you to play the game without any difficulties. The controls of the game are very easy to learn, providing you know the rules, and the game itself plays well. There are a few abilities/card interactions that just don’t work for some odd reason. For example, one of the events I played didn’t work and some movement rules don’t work as well – but for the release out of the gate, its work wonderfully.

Buying expansions and additions is not too bad. Overall, its a solid app for those who love the game and its a great app for those who want to play it more often.

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Plaid Hat Games fan
Cave Goblins - Summoner Wars
I Am What I Am
46 of 56 gamers found this helpful
“Incredible Game and Incredibly Portable”

It’s great having Summoner Wars at my beck-and-call whenever I want to get in a quick game. It’s also very satisfying to build a new deck and have it work well. I’m actually quite terrible against other humans, but I still enjoy the game, even if I lose.

My only issue with the game is that when I play it on my iPhone, sometimes I accidentally attack my own guys instead of healing them or use an event card on the wrong card (I really didn’t mean to give my opponent a buff that makes it harder to hit them). Even when I happen to do the wrong thing or target the wrong card, some mistakes can be quite funny. I just imagine my summoner getting flustered and shooting off a spell that hits the wrong team, and then sending his troops forward to their inevitable doom against a champion that was unexpectedly stronger or harder to hit.

Right now the app has eight factions including all the reinforcements for each, so when you’re looking to customize a deck, you have quite a few options, including mercenaries. So if you’re looking for a tactical minis game that plays quickly, but with a plethora of options, definitely check out the Summoner Wars app on the iOS.

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47 of 71 gamers found this helpful
“Chess + TCG = ”

I thorughly enjoyed this game at Gen Con 2012. My elevator pitch for it is Chess (where your “armies” have different strengths and weaknessess) plus a Trading Card Game (though NOT a CCG).
I rather enjoyed the special abilities of each individual card, one card may give a buff or or detract from your opponnent’s abilities. I also enjoyed how the magic or “mana” (for lack of a better term) is generated. We almost bought the deluxe version and the cost/value for that was excellent. We abstained because if we are going to buy at full price we would rather support or local game shop (and get in store credit for what we spend).


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