Two apes with Cross The Ages board in between them. Image is in Black and White

Getting Started With Cross The Ages – A Comprehensive Gameplay Guide

S.A.M. Luci
S.A.M. / Luci

Cross The Ages is one of the most ambitious and exciting web3 global gaming projects out there, starting with a trading card game (TCG) offering a unique spin on the classic collectable card game formula. Veterans of the genre will find a lot to like here in terms of game innovations, and the title’s robust implementation of ownership mechanisms and tokenomics coupled with plans to expand the universe beyond just this one game offers interesting possibilities for the collectable side of things as well.

If you’re looking to get started with the game, its complexities and rulesets (and the friggin’ heptagram!), you’ve come to the right place. Here’s a detailed starting guide for the game that will help you gain an edge over the competition!

Cross The Ages rules overview: a TCG with a twist

Cross The Ages pits the players against one another on a 4x4 grid of a battlefield wielding decks of 20 cards. The aim of the game is to take control of the board, capture territory and flip cards in a battle of wits and ever-rising power levels.

The heart of the game’s strategy is the heptagram, the seven-element chart of affinities and advantages that determine how the cards of various elements (Air, Nature, Earth, Darkness, Water, Fire, and Light) interact with one another. The face value of the cards is modified by the relations between their corresponding elements once they’re played on the board: if a card is played next to one with an element they’re weaker or stronger towards, it’s a plus or minus 150 Power adjustment.

Even more importantly, you can generate boosts with the Affinity system. By playing cards next to each other with elements that share an affinity (like Water and Earth), they both get a power boost. Simple affinities are generated between two cards while trinities, as the name would suggest, are generated between three. These power boosts can make otherwise capturable cards get out of your opponent’s reach, and establishing these synergies is a key part of your deck-designing process.

Once you play a card on the board, it attacks in all directions and flips any other card that has an inferior power value. This is where the Chain system comes in: initially, you are only able to attack the direct neighbours and the cards just beyond, but if your Chain counter is higher, the cards captured will also attempt to capture their neighbours, too, potentially allowing for game-deciding flips of the literal kind.

These chain effects are increased by the presence of your Leader card. When building your deck, you will designate one of your cards as your Leader, which grants them a special ability and guarantees that you will draw them on the first turn of the game. If they are on the board (and in your possession), your chain counter is increased, maxing you out at three successive attacks.

Your deck also features Field cards, which apply global modifiers and help you make better use of your Affinity-related synergies.

Last, but certainly not least, there are various Affixes to keep in mind. These are small gameplay modifiers that are applied at the start of the game, and they all offer small tweaks to the match to ensure that no two games play out the same way. There are two pools of affixes, with the second one only available in high-ranked games. Here are some examples of what you can expect from the first pool:

  • Extended Reach – Chain starts at 2.
  • Field Overflow – Fields are boosted by +25 Power.
  • Revolution – Your leader can only be played on turn 7 or 8. Cross The Ages is easy to learn but hard to master – just as you would expect from any well-designed card game.

    The game utilises the Ethereum network via Polygon and Immutable X and has its own dedicated CTA token, with multipurpose use cases to be made available as the development cycle continues. However, the game’s seamless design means that those unable or unwilling to dive into the web3 side of things can also straightforwardly play the card game should they choose to do so. The players’ game account allows them to collect various cards to play with, and they can separately mint their cards into NFTs to automatically transfer them to their game wallet should they decide to engage with the web3 features like the marketplace.

Even as a regular player, you are likely to want to engage with the crafting system in the game as it allows you to increase the power levels of your cards, which makes a tangible difference on the battlefield. While the animation level of the card is purely cosmetic and its rarity relates to its drop potential (and gameplay complexity), the card’s rank makes a tangible difference in terms of strategic impact, albeit limited by the overall 10000-point cap on your deck.

You can level up your card and gain a bit of extra power by sacrificing cards of the same rarity plus spending some of the earnable in-game currency called Trisel. Once a standard card reaches level 5, you can choose to “awaken” it into a more powerful alternative version.

Upon upgrading a card, it is randomly assigned a “grade”, which also represents a Power boost. This is a permanent characteristic. Compatible alternative cards can also be merged into “alternative combo cards” for a further Power increase.

Cross The Ages gameplay tips and tricks - Focus on the end state

The ownership of cards will keep flipping back and forth across the match, so you need to learn to think about board slots instead of individual card plays, visualising how the grid will look like three turns from now instead of fixating on taking a point lead in the here and now. Carefully timing the deployment of your Leader also plays a large part in this.

This is where the elements and affinities come in – and if you didn’t build your deck right, it’s tough to make up non-existent synergies on the fly during a matchup.

Time management matters

Having a finite amount of time to complete your game will be familiar to chess players, but perhaps less so to card game enthusiasts. This introduces an important new strategic element to the game. Making all the right moves won’t help you much if you burn up all your time doing so, and fail to finish out the match before your timer reaches zero.

This means that you need to identify the key points in the match where spending your time is the most impactful. Early on, when you have multiple viable choices that are broadly similar in outcome, it would be a huge error to use up a lot of your time thinking through the low-impact possibilities. However, you need to know when you’re in a make-or-break turn as that is where you will have to concentrate your efforts on planning and calculation.

Five minutes is not a lot of time. Pressuring the clock of your opponent can also make for an interesting strategic avenue. Having more time available to you than they do has a tangible psychological impact and it will put them on the back foot. This can even provide you with opportunities to bluff: plan out your turns carefully and then quickly execute three or four of them in a row, and watch them sink into deep thought about countering your non-existent master plan.

Ultimately, time is just as precious a resource in Cross The Ages as your cards and points are, so be sure to manage it just as carefully as you would handle the rest of your toolkit!

Is the Power arms race for you?

Cross The Ages is a numbers game and card upgrades make for a tangible and permanent stats bonus on otherwise identical cards. This means that deeply engaging with the game will require you to engage with the crafting and upgrading system, and you will likely fall behind unless you decide to commit extra resources to the game. If you’re of the competitive mindset, this is an important aspect of the game to keep in mind before deciding to dedicate your time and effort to learning the ins and outs of the strategy layer. You will need the tools, not just the knowledge, to perform well at the highest levels of play.

BlackPool’s verdict on Cross The Ages: a unique card game with great web3 integration

Cross The Ages is one of the most interesting projects we have on our radar in the space, and while the strong foundations present already make for a great game, the rapid development and the features roadmap of the game (and the teams’ plans beyond for the lore and the universe) make this a standout project in our eyes.

Card game enthusiasts will appreciate the unique and fast-paced gameplay formula that maintains many of the important skill-testing elements of other games in the genre while creating something entirely new along the way, and from a web3 perspective, it’s heartening to see the impressive integration of tokenization features in such a well-designed title.

Check out the Cross The Ages cinematic trailer: