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Gen Con 2008: Blue Dragon RPCG hands-on

by: Tyler -
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Being a bit of a recovering CCG-aholic, I couldn’t resist wandering by Konami’s booth to check out their latest collectable “Role-Playing Card Game”, Blue Dragon.  Based on the Xbox 360 title and subsequent animated series of the same name, this tabletop game is (like many of the games I checked out this year) targeted toward the younger set, hoping to peel away some of that disposable allowance income. 

I sat down to a quick half-game to get a feel for how everything plays out, and I had a fun time (while losing rather badly).  Players must tailor their decks around a “Shadow”, the central attacking unit in the game.  This creature begins the game in play, and as the game winds on the Shadow can level up, replacing itself with more powerful versions found in the deck.  In addition to Shadow cards, players also can round out their armies with up to three “partners”, companion units that can aid in attack or defense.   Players attack each other with their units, trying to break through the defenses and whittle down the hit points.  These attacks and defenses can be aided with various special cards called Command and Skill cards, which tack on bonuses or special abilities.

The cards are also the resources of the game, and running out means losing the game.  When cards are used, they don’t usually go into a discard pile, as with most CCGs.  Instead, they fall into an Experience pool, each card having a given Experience point value.  These Experience points are required both as prerequisites for certain cards and Shadow leveling, and as payment for bringing in certain cards and abilities.  Many times it’s beneficial to simply discard a powerful card in order to gain the experience from it, rather than keep it in the hand where it doesn’t necessarily do any good. 

The game played fairly quickly, with a half-game (starting with lower hit-point levels) took only 10 minutes or so.  I played with a pre-constructed deck, but there was a decent mix of cards and some combo ideas leaped out at me even with a simple first play.  All in all, Blue Dragon looks to be a serious contender in the crowded card game market.  Look for a full release later this fall.

There are a few more details up at www.konami.com/bluedragonrpcg