Anyone who knows me knows that my favorite genre of gaming is the realm of trading card games. I am obviously a proponent for CardFight! Vanguard and Magic the Gathering (primarily Commander/EDH). I could spend literally hundreds of hours writing, talking, dissecting both of those games, but everyone knows that. Instead, today, I thought I’d share the trading card games that I love and try to have a deck ready to go at all times. There are a lot, so I narrowed it down to four and they have to currently be in publication (I do love me some dead games, after all).
#4.) Transformers TCG (Hasbro)
This one actually came out of left field for me this year. I love the Transformers IP, but even I saw this as a cash grab. The idea of the oversized character cards seemed as gimmicky as it comes initially. Then came GenCon a few months ago and the demo we had was fantastic. The next morning, we were on the show floor early to grab a starter and a couple of the convention exclusive booster packs.
Building a team of multiple character cards and a minimum 40 Battle Card deck featuring Upgrade (Armor, Weapon and Utility) and Action cards, players take alternating turns playing cards, transforming and attacking. Last ‘Bot standing wins. Its as simply as that. One of the things I enjoy is that you don’t deck out in this one, simply reshuffle.
The game being so new, this is the perfect time to jump in. The newly released Metroplex Deck has everything a player needs to get started, including a super large Metroplex card that might be the most annoying thing in any card game.
#3.) Dragon Ball Super TCG (Bandai)
This one was a little bitter sweet for me. Back in the old days of Score (Early 2000’s), I backed the Yu You Hakusho TCG while a lot of people I knew went with their Dragon Ball Z. Admittedly, I was a bigger fan of Yusuke and his crew than I was of Goku and friends back then. I didn’t make the same mistake twice and, when Panini America released their reboot of the old Dragon Ball Z game, I went all in. Sadly the game went belly up (for one reason or the other) and Bandai launched their Dragon Ball Super TCG.
The best part of this game is that, unlike previous incarnations, they aren’t holding themselves to going saga by saga. They mix and match present arcs, previous arcs and movies in each set. The newest expansion, Miraculous Revival, features characters from the Fusion Reborn movie, Super Android 17 arc of Dragon Ball GT, and instances of Shenron and the Dragon Ball wishes from Dragon Ball through Resurrection F.
The game has officially been out a year now and they have released 8 booster sets (5 main sets and 3 special themed sets), 8 various starter decks and dozen or so special boxes/gift sets. There are several options on how to get started, though the current meta would seem to favor the new “Wish” mechanic. That means the recent Shenron or Gogeta starter, along with the latest booster set Miraculous Revival, would be an ideal place to start. Most staples in the game can also be picked up fairly cheap (in comparison to other games), with one or two exceptions.
The game has had some growing pains, I won’t lie, but what game doesn’t? 2019 is shaping up to be a fantastic second year for the game, especially with the hype around the Dragon Ball Super Broly movie set in March.
#2.) Weiss Schwarz
The game that got me into Bushiroad and all their products, Weiss Schwarz is an anime fan’s dream game. Recently I went into length about my favorite franchise for the game, Sword Art Online (You can read the original article here), but there are so many other games that are a part of the series. Currently in English, there are over 80 various booster boxes and starter sets available for franchises such as Sword Art Online, Kill la Kill, Persona, Attack on Titan, Hatsune Miku and so many more. This month sees the release of No Game No Life starter and booster, with Cardcaptor Sakura releasing in January. Things get even crazier when you look at the Japanese edition of the game as they have properties like Star Wars!
If you are a fan of video games or anime, you’d be hard pressed to not find a set that you didn’t like. One of the key things that has drawn me to this game is that, since sets are not interchangeable (no mixing Attack on Titan with Cardcaptor Sakura), you only really have to stay up on the releases that you want.
That being said, there is a draw back to this game that most other games do not have. Bushiroad only prints a certain number of cases for each set and they aren’t known for reprinting. That means obtaining sealed product for older sets can be a pain and the prices for some singles on the secondary market can be abnormally high. Also, since these sets are licensed IPs, they don’t return to a lot of them (or at least not frequently) unless a new season or game releases. This means that some sets can be pushed to the side easily by power creep.
#1.) Universal Fight System (Jasco Games)
So what game system could push out one featuring one of my all time favorite anime series? One featuring my favorite, as well as sporting the most unique mechanic system in the industry: Universal Fight System (UFS).
This game has a bit of a storied history. Currently published and designed by the crew at Jasco Games, the game was originally under two other publisher- Sabertooth Games (February 2006-February 2008) and Fantasy Flight Games (June 2008-November 2009). While the game has featured the likes of Gabe and Tyco, from Penny Arcade, to the more recent Bebop crew from Cowboy Bebop, it has had a primarily video game focus. Which makes sense as the game’s core mechanics are designed to make it feel like you are playing a fighting game with a deck of cards.
Everything you need to start constructing your deck is decided like any good fighting game- at the character select screen. Using the Cammy pictured above, there are 5 symbols to the left of her text box. You have your starting/maximum hand size, your health and then the three elements your deck uses. You can use any card, from any set, so long as it contains at least one of those three symbols.The game takes the fighting theme to a whole new level with the way cards actually interact. You have attacks that combo off previous attacks, building up a super meter, and getting progressively harder with each new hit. Each attack has an attack speed and hit zone (high, middle or low), so you have to match it with a like block.