Summoner Wars iOS review

Summoner Wars iOS review

If my geekiness was ever in doubt, let’s lay those doubts to rest right now as we turn our attention to something called Summoner Wars, a tactical card game based on the board game of the same name.

Orcs? Check. Elves? Check. Dwarves? Check. Goblins? Check. Benders? Er, check. They’re all here – and more. Glorious stuff.

In a nutshell, each Summoner Wars game is played between two opponents, and ends when one player kills the other’s Summoner – effectively like the King in chess.

While Summoner Wars might initially seem quite daunting, even having completed the tutorial, it’s actually – at heart – remarkably simple.

Each turn plays out in five steps, a little something like this:

  • 1. Summon units from your hand (each team has a finite deck of cards, with five in your hand at the beginning of each turn)
  • 2. Play Event cards, which might allow you to place walls (beside which units can be summoned) or freeze opponents – among countless other things.
  • 3. Move up to three of your units
  • 4. Attack with up to three of your units
  • 5. Sacrifice cards in your current hand to get magic points, which are used to summon new units (you also get magic points for defeating enemy cards)

And that’s a turn in Summoner Wars. Easy, huh? There's also a handy little system that highlights options in green where applicable. Say you've moved three units; it's time to tap 'End Phase' (now green; previously red) and move on to attacking.

Likewise, if you attempt to end a phase early (say you've only attacked twice instead of thrice), a little warning will pop up asking if you're sure. How lovely.

Things get a little more complicated, however, when you take into account all the various powers and that.

Summoner Wars iOS review

As mentioned in the intro, Summoner Wars features multiple races, with the Phoenix Elves available from the get go, and a further nine available to buy.

Incidentally, it’s worth keeping an eye out for sales on the Everything Pack, usually £5.49 but occasionally sold for less than £1. Delicious.

Anyway, yes, it’s important to understand the moves at your opponent’s disposal. For example, while playing against a mate who opted to control the orcs, he sneakily froze my summoner when he wandered in a space adjacent to one of his walls.

From there, he was able to use a special move – attack all opponents adjacent to orc-controlled walls – to veeery slooowly kill my frozen, defenceless summoner. Bah.

Similarly, while controlling the dwarves, he saved up all his magic points and – late in the game – introduced a dwarf with the ability to dish out colossal damage with a single punch. Mother f…

All in all, Summoner Wars is awesome stuff, with plenty of variety, and both offline and online play. There are occasional promotions, too, with Playdek recently making all factions available for free to all players for a short while.

I almost feel like I’m not doing it justice by writing a mere 400 words about it, but I’m sure you’ve probably decided by now if Summoner Wars is your cup of tea.

On the poop side, a lot of it comes down to your luck – specifically the roll of the dice; it’s insanely frustrating when you continually roll ones and twos while your opponent hacks your team to bits.

But again, all things considered, definitely worth a look, and it’s only 69p to get started.


  • 10 very different races
  • Great multiplayer title (online or offline)
  • Only 69p to download initially


  • The randomness of rolling virtual dice
  • Perhaps too daunting for some
  • Quite expensive to buy everything

Summary: Summoner Wars is an insanely geeky – but also deep and thoroughly rewarding – card game. The randomness of the dice rolls will occasionally make you want to tug your testicles off, but likewise, it’s incredibly satisfying when they work in your favour. Love it.

Developer: Playdek

Price: 69p @ App Store

Compatibility: Requires iOS 4.3 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.

Summoner Wars iOS review

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