Saturday, June 6, 2015

Game Reviews: Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG

Not everyone spends years of their life learning how to play trading card games. I did. It's not my proudest achievement, but I suppose now it's going to contribute to my blog!

Today, we're taking a look at the highest grossing trading card game of all time: Yu-Gi-Oh!

               (I use Batman sleeves)

The game is pretty straightforward. You have Monster Cards and you have Spell and Trap Cards. Spell and Traps act as special abilities and conditions to the field and game and (unless otherwise designated) disappear after a single use.
Monster Cards stay in play and protect your Life Points, which is essentially your score.
Each player begins the game with 8,000 points and they work toward the goal of depleting one another's Life Points to zero.
At its core, the game is simple strategy, turn based fare. It has its own theme and that contributes some to the overall enjoyment of the game, which likely rose to popularity due to its presence on the popular children's television show of the same name.
The game is simple enough to learn in a matter of minutes, but small details in the nooks and crannies of the core gameplay give it a level of depth that many other games don't have.
Score: 6.5/10

The theme is simple. It's based on a children's television show and manga by the same name. The show is about a little boy who is given a pyramid shaped puzzle made of solid gold. He solves the puzzle and unleashes a 5,000 year old pharaoh who was somehow trapped inside. Now the boy transforms into the pharaoh when he's in trouble and they work together to play a trading card game based on ancient Egyptian battles involving monsters that live inside people or something. It's weird and convoluted, but we aren't talking about the show or the manga, we're talking about the game. The game puts the player in the role of a child playing a game based on a game based on ancient battles based on psychological warfare. Again, it's crazy and convoluted. But I suppose it's fun.
But fun is where it ends. You see, there is no real coherent theme. From viruses, machines and robots to ancient Egyptian deities, wizards, dragons and knights and literally everything in between, the only connecting theme in this game is capitalism. It becomes clear very quickly that each type of monster and support card is only in place to create profits.
And it works. But at a cost. The game feels like a variety of theme breaking concepts that don't really flow well together. In fact, it's variety makes it difficult to string together good strategies that aren't premade by the game developers, which takes away the biggest draw of most trading card games.
Score: 5/10

Simple and straightforward, the art design makes this game very easy to learn and stays familiar years later. The problem is that it is visually unappealing and boring. No change over the years except simple color variations have made the cards look quite mundane with the only exception being the less than impressive images on the cards.
Score: 6.5/10


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