I 1) don’t typically like and 2) don’t know how to play most strategy games. Having to micromanage a bunch of resources while keeping what I have on a board alive while also planning my next move makes my head spin. So after a game or two of MIYAMOTO, a card-based strategy game on iOS by Hideki Hanida, I thought for sure I was going to bounce off. After an hour or two of consecutive short games, however, I found myself becoming more and more engrossed.

After a day, I beat the game.

At its core, MIYAMOTO is very, very simple. You draw three cards and either place them on the field as pawns or engage their effects. Some cards raise your attack and defense stats; others are magic. How you place and use the cards effects how your match goes, and you simply have to keep your opponent’s moves in mind as you play.

Another aspect of MIYAMOTO that I really like is how small the game board is. With only sixteen spots, part of the fun is learning how to constrain certain enemies with your pieces, and how to use some pieces to deliver devastating ranged attacks over the course of two or three moves. Hand-in-hand with this is the brevity of most matches. It generally takes only a minute or two to fight and win (or lose) in MIYAMOTO, and there are only eight matches in a single overarching game.

But behind the simplicity and the brevity, MIYAMOTO can surprise you with unexpected enemy gambits, and card combinations you would never have thought of. Board awareness is key, and planning ahead is recommended. One mistake I made frequently in my first playthroughs was using all the cards in my hand, leaving me without a necessary power up or enemy-blocking game piece at vital moments. If you don’t see a need for a certain card, don’t play it! It’ll carry over to the next turn.

MIYAMOTO has shown me that strategy games can be fun, and aren’t impossible to learn. Whether this means I’m about to jump into a Civ VI or Total War game remains to be seen, but I’m way more open to the possibility.

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