After the release of the Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel, the new definitive edition of a trading card game with a long history behind it, we thought it might be hard for fans to get into it and get used to all the mechanics and card descriptions, not to mention, there are multiple other games for players who just can’t get into Yugioh or aren’t fond of the mechanics, and this guide exists for the sake of both purposes.
Here we enlist all the games available on platforms and/or involve adaptions of their real-life CCC/TCG counterparts, in addition to providing players with information on each game and their related rulings so they are able to choose the experience that works for them the most. Some games are included as Mini-games integrated inside other games, but that’s exactly the reason we are shining the light on these ones that might be a little obscure.
The thing that makes Yugioh stand out from the rest is that there are no restrictions on the number of cards you can play in one turn. There is just the rule of one monster summon per player turn (called Normal summon), but there are many ways to bypass that restriction and conduct many additional monster summons (named special summons), so as to make it as simple as possible, Yugioh (The Master duel Version) is not by any means a beginner-friendly game.
What Konami (The publisher) has done, however, is that the recently introduced new ways and rulings of enjoying the trading card game with ease, whether through making certain restrictions on the already present formula (Yugioh Duel Links), or creating another format all together with it’s own separate cards and rulings (Yugioh Rush Duel). These two formats are more beginner-friendly (and more fun) than the original one by a large margin.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist Link Evolution: Follows the old playing format, more catered towards fans of the original series and the characters. Available on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. No Microtransactions, Each card can be bought with in-game currency and has online play. Recommended for Advanced Level Players.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links: Follows the Speed duel format introduced here in this game, with the same cards but other rulings and limitations. Free to install and play but cards are obtained through In-game Events and Microtransactions. Has online and AI duels but needs a constant internet connection to enjoy. Available on PC and Android/iOS. Recommended for Intermediate Level Players.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel: The most advanced so far in terms of graphic fidelity and visual quality. Follows the old format for advanced players. Is free to download and play with obtainable cards through story missions and microtransactions. The game does a wonderful job of introducing players to the lore of the cards and how everything is connected beyond what was introduced in the story of the anime. Available on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
Master Duel Rule Book and Speed Duel Rulebook (Duel Links): Official Site.
Yu-Gi-Oh! RUSH DUEL: Dawn of the Battle Royale!!: Available only on Nintendo Switch. Follows a new dynamic way to play the game with its own set of cards and rulings. Also has an original single-story mode unlike the other games. Can be enjoyed with friends through online play, and is very recommended for beginner-level players. Rules are easily learned through gameplay.
Shadowverse is highly recommended for its beautiful anime aesthetics and the inclusion of a story mode that is regularly updated and incentivizes you to keep going. It has some of the most creative mechanics in the genre, not to mention it’s a very generous game for new players. A lot of players have done some calculations on how free cards and gifts were being handed out regularly, and the results were very favorable.
Just for daily logins, and without using any alternate methods or craft/money purchases, you are still bound to get enough currency to get a competitive deck each expansion. And assuming you play the game regularly and follow the daily quests, you will get at least three new complete decks every expansion, all of them are not that affected by rotation and banlists that are common in this genre.
Shadowverse the Game is now available for free on PC and Android/iOs, but recently Cygames has released Shadowverse: Champion’s Battle exclusively for Nintendo Switch, which is a single-player story-based game tied to the anime series of the same name, and acts as a wonderful introduction to the world of Shadowverse, without the stress of Microtransactions or needing to keep up with regular updates.
Getting Started with Shadowverse: Here.
Play Guide: Here
Super Dragon Ball Heroes World Mission
Super Dragon Ball is on this list for its engaging battle system that feels more like a callback to its fighting game roots than a trading card game. In this game, it’s not about owning the most powerful card, but about knowing how to handle the power meter and quick time events in real-time while the match is ongoing, so preparing a deck full of good cards is only half the steps required, so in other words, it’s an active time battle based RPG but with cards instead.
There are over 1,000 cards to collect, and are acquired via a gacha-type system but with in-game money. No microtransactions and the game supports online play as well. The only downside is that game really needs a better tutorial to explain what’s happening for newcomers to the world of Dragon Ball, so players might want to opt for reading the Digital Manual first, available for free on the Bandai Namco official website here.
Super Dragonball Heroes is now available for Nintendo Switch and PC.
The Legend of Heroes (Blade/Vantage Masters)
BuT ThIs iS aN AnImE rPg …. Ok but hear me out. Many Jrpgs actually used to include Card Game battles as a separate mini-game, but The legend of Heroes (Particularly the Trails of Cold Steel entries) includes two types of these games and integrates them very well into the story. The first 2 Cold Steel games introduce Blade and Blade II with extra cards, and Cold steel 3 and 4 present Vantage Masters.
Trails of Cold Steel games are available on PC, PS4 and Nintendo Switch. And aside from including these mini-games, they are wonderful games on their own, and ones that rival even Game of Thrones in the amount of text and collected lore. Players can get a look at the game cards and rulings here, and see if they will be able to adjust with the fast-paced gameplay type of Vantage Masters, or the slightly slower Blade.
Earlier entries in the series will be available on consoles at a later date.
Final Fantasy VIII (Triple Triad)
Triple Triad is another fun game that was introduced in the Jrpg Final Fantasy VIII. The purpose of this game is to capture your opponent’s cards and make them your own, and different rules can be included to change how this goal is apporached. This game might be the most popular among rpg fans, to the point it was migrated to the Online popular entry FFXIV, and can be played on android through the Final Fantasy portal app.
The downside is (for the sake of clarity) that this game is pay to win on another platforms except the original FFVIII, despite having much more cards from across the series. So, you are better off with enjoying the base version of the mini-game on the old adventure classic, not to mention that FFVIII is a standalone entry, and can be enjoyed without playing the rest of the FF series, and the battle system is also really different from anything RPG related.
Cardfight!! Vanguard EX
“Cardfight!! Vanguard EX” is the first Cardfight!! Vanguard video game to be released on both PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch, as well as the first video game on home consoles. Just like Yugioh, Cardfight Vanguard is a trading card game that has gone through many “remakes“, and this one captures the middle point of the timeline of the series, called the V premium series format, a rebalancing of old format cards.
The game is magnificent, with a story mode and a huge amount of cards. The only downside is: The game in Japanese, and can only be purchased with a Japanese regional account, however, if you know the rules (Which is not hard) and memorize the card effects (Also not hard since there are like 15 cards in each deck and the rest are copies), you can easily go through the game, and win, which is something I personally did, so don’t let the language barrier faze you from trying this wonderful game.
Digimon World 2003
This one is obviously listed only for collectors, but it is one that deserves a place on the list. Back then when games used to have an enormous amount of content on launch date, Digimon World 3 (Or 2003 the international version) included a complete trading Card game as a side content with over 400+ obtainable cards and the ability to battle many players and even enter tournaments across two different worlds.
Getting to fight the characters depended on the total charisma state of your fighting party members, so the card game and the difficulty of the opponents were actually related to how strong were you at any point in the game. Despite not being available anymore in modern stores, it was a gem at the time, and one that I wholeheartedly want to be remastered for modern consoles because the card game was that deep and good.
Available on Most modern platforms (PC, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Android, iOS) and might be the best MTG and Heartstone alternative on gaming platforms. It is very generous on many fronts, and has good touchscreen/joycon support on switch. You can even consider it a free-to-play game. The only reason you might not have heard about this game before is that they don’t do a good job at promotion.
You actually get to keep the cards you draft as well, unlike hearthstone, and there is a large dedicated community for it, so you are bound to find someone to play at any level. Even if you like spend 10$ a month on it, you will still have an advantage and the community is very helpful in telling you what to do and where to buy from in order to get extra draft tickets. So if you are looking for some MTG or Hearthstone charm on your Xbox or Switch, Eternal trading card game is the way to go.
This game is on the list of Trading Card Games because it never seems to be mentioned on these lists despite using the concept of cards to tell a narrative story. It’s like D&D but with cards. You play cards to not just defeat your opponent but to manage your resources, initiate various actions and conceive other cards. You can even decide how you want to pursue the story and ruin the world.
The game also has a unique occult theme which is very different from the fantastical tropes mostly used in CCGs and TCGs. Not to mention you are creating a cult instead of fighting one, so it’s unique from every perspective. It might be argued that this is not actually what TCG players are looking for, but it might also be what they didn’t know they might need as the learning curve is strikingly similar to normal TCG games and rulings.
Cultist Simulator is available on PC, Nintendo Switch, Android, iOS.
Voice of Cards
It’s pretty much games with cards at this point, but my goal for this list is not to choose a trading card game that everybody knows about, or probably plays on a daily basis. I am instead recommending games that can only be appreciated with someone who has a soft spot for card games, and Voice of Cards might be the perfect experience for any duelist as it’s carefully catered as a love letter towards ….. well Cards.
Voice of Cards is my dream game. Everything is made out of cards and uses the artistic presentation of card games to tell a story and design the world, not to mention the existential depths apparent in all games designed by Yoko Taro. Even if you don’t like card games in general, you can’t miss this one for the world. It’s probably the best story for a card-based game on the list as well.
Voice of Cards is available on PC, PS4, Nintendo Switch.