Yu-Gi-Oh! (Tabletop Game)

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"You've activated my trap card!"


The Yu-Gi-Oh! Card Game is a trading card game based on in the manga of the same name authored by Kazuki Takahashi and manufactured by Konami. It first appeared in the manga as a Homage to Magic: The Gathering, of which Takahashi is a fan. Originally, the manga was intended to feature a new game every few weeks, with the trading cards being just one of many. However, Takahashi received a lot of fan mail asking how to play it, and so he cobbled together a rudimentary game system loosely based on that of Magic which generally agreed with how the characters played. Fan mail kept pouring in, and so the editor of Shonen Jump (in which the manga was serialised) persuaded Takahashi to rework the premise of the manga to be about the cards.

As the manga proved to be a smash hit, two companies (Bandai and Konami) wrestle the rights to adopt the future franchise empire, each with their own takes on the game. The latter won the rights, and was approached to produce a real version of the game called Yu-Gi-Oh! Official Card Game (OCG for short), which was released in 1999. The OCG made considerable changes to the rules originally established by Takahashi, and so the then-ongoing manga and the later animé produced by Nihon Ad System were revised to more closely reflect the rules set by the OCG.

Yu-Gi-Oh! is essentially a game with different names and administration structures in different territories. The aforementioned Official Card Game has been handled by Konami since the beginning; it administers Asian territories, which include, but not limited to, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea and Southeast Asia. The other administration setup, the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game (TCG for short), administers the rest of the world, mainly Europe and the Americas. The TCG was originally manufactured and distributed by Upper Deck Entertainment, at Konami's own behest. However, in 2008, UDE lost the license amid some allegations of wrongdoing, and now the TCG is administered by Konami as well. The game is roughly 99% identical on each side of the Pacific - the only differences are that there are some cards that debut on one administration, but not the other, for a good while. Konami also alters some card artworks for the TCG to prevent incidents with Moral Guardians, although they seem to have lightened more with this in later years, and even released some of the old "lost arts" as special promotions.

Some of the core gameplay elements are as follows:

  • Deckbuilding: Players construct their own decks, which must contain between 40 to 60 cards and no more than three of any single card (certain cards are limited to 2, 1, or 0 copies per deck). A secondary deck of no more than 15 cards can also be constructed; this "Extra Deck" contains "Fusion Monsters," "Synchro Monsters", "Xyz Monsters" and "Link Monsters", which can be brought to the field by using other monsters in various ways.
  • Card battle: Players can "Summon" monsters to fight the opponent. Depending on its Level and/or card type, a monster might have specific requirements to be Summoned.
  • Card effects: Most monsters have special abilities (called "effects") aside from their brute force, which is almost always helpful for its wielder, which can be activated when the monster is available on the field; some monsters also have effects that trigger during specific situations, such as being Summoned or destroyed by battle. Spell Cards are played directly from the hand for various effects, and are sent to the "Graveyard" (the discard pile) after use. Trap Cards work similarly to Spells; however, they must first be set face-down in the Spell & Trap Zone, and then activated at a later time, which leads into...
  • Hidden information: Monsters, Spells, and Traps can be "Set" face-down on the field to be revealed later, often springing a nasty surprise on the opponent. Later eras would also introduce monsters and Traps that have effects that can be used directly from the hand, the former colloquially known as "Hand Traps" among players.

A more complete overview of the rules can be found at this Useful Notes page.

The stories and tropes from the metaplot can be seen here, and the character sheet from said metaplot is at this Character Sheets page. Subjective tropes can be found here. Trivia can be found here.

In 2020, Konami released Yu-Gi-Oh! Rush Duel as a sister product. A simpler card game derived from this one, it caters mostly toward children and old-timers who are seeking lighter, simpler form of card game.

For the card game based off the first anime, try Yu-Gi-Oh! (Carddas Version).

Tropes used in Yu-Gi-Oh! (Tabletop Game) include: