Rules Of FF-TCG

The Final Fantasy Trading Card Game was first released in very late 2010. It is a traditional TCG with the cards divided between 'character' and 'Eidolon' cards. Each character card has abilities and attacking ones have their own Power, functioning as their HP and strength. The game is played between two players, each of whom must have a deck consisting of 50 cards.

All cards in the FF TCG are divided between eight elements. These elements are those of Fire, Ice, Wind, Earth, Lightning, Water, Light and Dark. The last two of these are considered 'special' elements and do not have as many different cards as the other six.
Cards are divided by rarity. The levels of rarity are Common, Uncommon, Rare, Special Rare, Legend and Epic. A card's rarity level will determine how strong it is and how often it can be found in booster packs. Epic cards can only be bought in entry sets. Additionally, each card has a regular and a Premium version, Premium being holographic. All Premium cards can be found within booster packs only, including the Premium Epic cards.

The cards themselves are sold in booster packs and entry sets. Entry sets consist of a fully playable deck of 50 cards, and each booster pack comes with 8 random cards. Booster packs are also sold bundled in a box. Each of the boxes comes with 20 booster packs and one promotional card, for a total of 161 cards.

Terminology

The Very Basics

The back of the TCG cards

Card / カード
A card can be either a Character, an Eidolon or an Item card. Character cards are divided between Forward, Backup and Monster cards. Item cards are divided into Weapon, Armor and Accessory cards. To play a card to the field, you must pay its CP (Crystal Point) cost first.
Deck / デッキ
A specifically for-play constructed stack of cards, consisting of 50 cards exactly. A deck cannot include more than 3 of the same cards. A card with the same name but a different number is considered a different card.
Field / フィールド
The area where you place your cards in the duration of the game. It's divided into separate areas for Deck, Forwards, Backups, Damage Zone and Break Zone. Some game-areas are considered outside the field.

Damage Zone / ダメージゾーン
The area where cards indicating the points of damage you receive go. When a Forward attacks you directly you receive one point of damage, and must take the topmost card of your deck and place it here. When the amount of cards here reaches 7, you have lost the game.
Break Zone / ブレイクゾーン
The area where Broken Forwards and discarded cards go.

Stack / スタック
An area considered to be outside the field. Any ability, effect and Eidolon in the process of being activated goes to the stack. If another ability is activated in counter to the first ability, it goes to the stack on top of the original ability. Once no more new abilities are being counter-activated, the stack is resolved (the abilities' effects fire off) starting with the topmost one. It is possible that an ability towards the bottom of the stack that is paid for and placed in stack can no longer activate if its conditions are no longer met when its turn to activate comes. In this case, it simply fizzles out with no additional effect, and you can't get your cost back.

The field and its areas

Draw / 引く [hiku]
The act of taking one or more cards from the deck to your hand while playing. You can draw cards in your Draw Phase (two cards at a time) or through abilities. If you cannot draw cards in your Draw Phase, you lose the game.
Discard / 捨てる [suteru]
The act of taking one or more cards from your hand or your deck and placing them to the Break Zone.
Exclude / 除外 [jogai]
The act of taking one or more cards from your hand or your deck and placing them outside the playing field entirely. Cards that have been removed from the game can neither affect or be affected by the rest of the game, barring a few exceptions as directed by card abilities.

Interrupt / 割り込み [warikomi]
The act of counteracting your opponent's action/special ability or Summon with an action/special ability or a Summon of your own. Note that EX Bursts and field abilities cannot be interrupted, and neither can playing cards to the field. After both sides have interrupted as much as they wish or cannot do so anymore, the effects are then resolved starting from the latest played. Even if a character card who has used an ability is Broken during the resolving of the stack, that ability stays in effect. While resolving the effects, each card can be further interrupted and your interruption counter-interrupted. Resolving these effects happens just like the first time. While abilities are waiting to be resolved, they're considered to be in stack.

Element / 属性 [zokusei]
The elements are Fire (火), Ice (氷), Wind (風), Earth (土), Lightning (雷), Water (水), Light (光) and Dark (闇). Character cards of the same element can form parties. The first six are considered basic elements. For Light and Dark only one can be placed on the field at the same time of either element. If more end up there (Light+Light, Light+Dark or Dark+Dark), they all become Broken.
Crystal Point (CP) / クリスタルポイント (CP)
CP is used to pay for the cost of playing cards to the field and for using abilities that require it. CP can come in all basic elements. To pay for playing cards to the field at least one CP of the same element is required (both Light and Dark can be paid for with any element). To pay for abilities, the element specified on the ability is required. This is indicated by the number of colored crystals before its description. The crystals are represented by (F), (I), (Wi), (E), (L) and (Wa) in the text on Chrysalis, with (A) standing for any element at all. CP is born by discarding cards from your hand (worth 2 CP) and by making Backup cards Dull (1 CP). Light and Dark element cards cannot provide CP by the act of discarding them from your hand.

Card Basics

Forward / フォワード
A Character-type card with attacking capabilities. These are the main cards of the game. You can play as many as you want to the field. You can't attack with a Forward or use their (W) ability on the turn they are played unless they have Haste.
Backup / バックアップ
A Character-type card with no attacking capabilities, providing support instead. When played to the field, a Backup is first played in Dull mode. Changing one from Active to Dull mode provides one CP (Crystal Point). You can only play up to 5 to the field. You can't use their (W) ability on the turn they are played unless they have Haste.
Monster / モンスター
A Character-type card with supporting and/or attacking abilities. You can play as many as you want to the field, and they will start out in Active mode. However, any card with an ability that makes them a Forward still cannot attack on their first turn on the field unless they also have Haste.

Eidolon / 召喚獣 [shoukanjuu]
Eidolons are summons and behave more like abilities than character cards while playing. They are moved to the Break Zone immediately after using their ability.
Item / アイテム
Item cards are equipped to your Character cards when played; Forwards, Backups (or possibly Monsters) as dictated by the Item card itself. There are three different types of Items - Weapons, Armor and Accessories. A single Character can only equip one Item of each type. For the most part Item cards provide additional abilities for use. They can be played whenever a Character card can be played, and will be automatically Broken when the Character they're equipped to is Broken (other methods also apply). However, you can use an Item card's special ability Remove at any time you can use an ability, and return the Item card to your hand.

Cost / コスト
The number enclosed in an elemental crystal at the top left corner of a card. To play the card, you must pay this cost in CP (Crystal Points). To pay for this cost at least 1 CP must be of the card's own element, the rest can be of any element. As there is no Light or Dark element, the cost of cards in those elements can be paid for with CP of any element you choose.
Power / パワー
The number at the lower right corner of all Forward cards. This number is used to determine their strength when facing other Forwards. After surviving a match-off with another Forward, the card may receive some damage. This temporary effect wears off at the next End Phase.
Card Name / カード名
The card's title. You can only play one card of the same name to the field (not affected by card number). However, if it has an icon of three cards next to it, you can play any number of cards with the same name to the field. If you end up placing more than the allowed amount of cards with the same name to the field due to circumstances, you must Break any cards exceeding the amount. You can choose freely the one(s) you'll Break.
There are also cards with a slash (/) in their name. These cards are considered to have three names, the one mentioned on the card, the one before the slash, and the one after the slash. For example, Cloud/Red XIII has the names "Cloud/Red XIII", "Cloud" and "Red XIII". Other than these special cards, some cards may specify as to having another name or two from the one placed in the Name field on the card. These specifications are mentioned in the ability/description field.
Job / ジョブ
A character card's type indicated next to the Forward/Backup indicator. If the card's job is Common Troop (一般兵 [ippanhei]) or Imitation (イミテーション), they will always have the icon of three cards.
Ability / アビリティ
A special effect written on the card that can come into effect by playing the card to the field, paying for its cost (in CP and/or other conditions). There are five different types of abilities; those of Field Ability, Auto-Ability, Action Ability, Special Ability and EX Burst. Abilities with an arrow icon pointing right and down indicate that the character must be Active and becomes Dull. This arrow is represented by (W) in the text on Chrysalis. These (W) abilities cannot be used on the turn the card is played to the field except for Monster cards. If an ability doesn't have this icon, it can be used at any time unless it says otherwise.

Active / アクティブ
Any Character card can be Active - capable of attacking or blocking (in case of Forwards) or providing CP (in case of Backups). On the field, these cards are upright.
Dull / ダル
Any Character card can be Dull - in no-action mode. A Forward ends up Dull after attacking, a Backup after providing CP. All Character cards can become Dull through the use of abilities and Eidolons. Each Dull card becomes Active during your own Active Phase while playing.
Break / ブレイク
Any Forward can be Broken - with damage equal or greater than their Power. A Broken Forward is moved from the field to the Break Zone and cannot act. Backups can only be broken instantly through the use of abilities.

Attack / アタック
The act of a Forward attacking the opponent with their Power. If the opponent doesn't choose to block, the Forward deals one point of damage directly to the opponent. If the opponent does choose to block, a match-off between the attacking and blocking cards ensues instead. Before choosing to attack, the Forward must be Active. After choosing to attack, the Forward becomes Dull. A Forward cannot attack on the same turn it was played to the field unless it has Haste, and even if a Dull Forward gets changed to Active mode it cannot attack more than once a turn.
Block / ブロック
The act of preventing the opponent from attacking your life points. A blocked card cannot attack your life points even if the blocking card gets Broken in the process. After choosing who to block with, a match-off between the attacking and blocking Forwards ensues. Only cards in Active mode can block. Any card can block as many times as you wish, but they will retain the damage they received between blocks.
Party / パーティー
The act of having two or more Forwards combine their power and attack together - the blocking side cannot form a party. Only Forwards of the same element can form a party, but their number isn't limited. The exception to this are cards marked with a P ('Party') in the top right corner, they can form parties with any element as long as all members of the party have the P icon. Their attack is considered one attack instead of many, and can only deal one point of damage to the opponent if unblocked. However, only one card can block a party. The blocking person chooses how to distribute the Power of the blocking card among the attacking party.

Abilities

Field Ability / フィールドアビリティ
An ability that is automatically always in effect after placing the card on the field. Example: "The cost of your Eidolons is lowered by 1."
Auto Ability / オートアビリティ
An ability that activates when certain conditions are met. Auto Abilities with the trigger of being played to the field is activated not only by playing from the hand or deck, but also from the Break Zone. Example: "When Aya Brea is played to the field, deal 4,000 damage to one Forward."

Action Ability / アクションアビリティ
An ability that you can use after paying for the cost, in CP as well as other cost defined. Example: "(1F)(W), move Black Mage to the Break Zone: Choose one Forward. Deal 4,000 damage to it."
Special Ability / スペシャルアビリティ
An ability that requires you to discard a card with the same name as the ability's holder as well as paying for its cost to use. Note that the card does not have to have the same number so it can be used, just the same name. These abilities are denoted by a red S icon before the ability's description on the card. The icon is represented by (S) in the text on Chrysalis. Example: "Ultimate Jecht Shoot (S)(1F)(2A)(W): Choose one Forward. Break that Forward."

Keywords

Assist / アシスト
A card with this trait can be summoned as a one-off ability rather like an Eidolon instead of as a normal card. You must have one Backup slot free to use an Assist (only Backup cards have Assist abilities). To activate an Assist ability, you must pay for the card's cost in CP and announce that you're using Assist. Play the card to the field. Note that if there is any interruption to the Assist ability, unlike a regular card's ability the Assist card must remain on the field for the Assist ability to activate at the end of the interruption stack. Once played to the field, the Assist ability can only activate when the Assist card is removed to the Break Zone.

Awakening / 覚醒 [kakusei]
A card with this action ability can be used to Search and play to the field a card with the same name as the one using the ability. To use an Awakening, you must pay the cost specified.

Blue Magic / 青魔法 [aomahou]
Blue Magic is a type of Action Ability that can be used at any time during the game, and involves discarding the card with the ability. However, any Blue Magic can only be used directly from your hand, and cannot originate from the cards on the field - this because you cannot discard cards from the field. To activate a Blue Magic, you have to pay the cost specified on the card.

Brave / ブレイブ
A card with this trait will not become Dull after attacking. However, they can still attack only once per turn.

Combination / コンビネーション
the Combination ability can be used to lower the cost of the card bearing it. You can Exclude any or all of the cards mentioned provided you can find them in your Break Zone, and the cost of the card is decreased by the amount specified in parentheses after the card names. On Cloud/Red XIII (ability "Combination - Cloud (3) / Red XIII (3)"), for example, you can look for one each of "Cloud" and/or "Red XIII" card on your Break Zone, and Exclude it/them. The cost of Cloud/Red XIII is decreased by the amount specified if you do so. For example, Excluding a Cloud card will drop Cloud/Red XIII's cost from 7 to 4. Excluding both a Cloud and a Red XIII will decrease the cost from 7 to 1.

EX Burst / EXバースト
A trait on some cards that allow the first ability written on that card to be used in more situations. An EX Burst activates after the card in question is placed in the damage zone because you received a point of damage. Eidolons used through EX Burst do not count as having been summoned.

Freeze / 凍結 [touketsu]
This term replaces the phrase "[target card] can't become Active in its controller's next Active Phase" from chapters 1-12. Chapter 13 and onwards, treat the term 'Freeze' as the previously mentioned phrase.

Haste / ヘイスト
A card with this trait can attack or use a (W) ability even on the turn they are played to the field.

Job Change / ジョブチェンジ
An Action Ability that can be used on your own turn. It can call to the field a Backup of at most the cost specified right after the ability name Job Change on the card. A card with Job Change (3) can summon another card of cost 3 or less. The card called to the field must be from your hand, and you don't have to pay for its cost. You do have to pay for the cost of the Job Change ability though, this is specified after the max cost of the card you can call for. Most of the time, using a Job Change ability requires moving to the Break Zone the card that uses Job Change as part of its activation cost.

Junction / ジャンクション
To Junction, you must first pay for the cost and then Exclude an Eidolon from your hand. The card using the Junction ability gains Junction status. What happens when a card gains Junction status depends entirely on the card in question, any other effect is counted as a separate Auto Ability. Also note that while you can use the Junction ability again by paying for its cost, you can't Exclude another Eidolon or gain another Junction status while the previous one is still in effect. A Junction is considered broken only if the Eidolon Excluded by that use of Junction is returned to the game from Exclusion, in this case you can use Junction again normally.

Law / ロウ
A Law is a conditional Field Ability that usually affects your opponent. They come in the format of "When (condition), then if <player> (pays/doesn't pay) # CP then (something will happen)". For example, the ability on 6-011C Babus that says "When a Forward you control is attacking, if your opponent doesn't pay (2A), they cannot block it" is a Law-type ability.

Level Up / レベルアップ
A card with this trait can be exchanged for another card of the same name after they have either Broken an enemy Forward or dealt damage directly to the opponent. To do so, you must place the card with Level Up to the Break Zone, and then search your deck for the card you want to level up to and place it on the field in Dull mode. Shuffle your deck afterwards.

Link / リンク
A card with this trait enables the player to play to the field a Forward of the specified cost and element from your hand without paying for their cost. For example, if the trait specifies "Link - Earth (2)", then in addition to the card itself you can play an Earth element Forward of cost 2 or less.

Overdrive / オーバードライブ
Overdrive is an Auto Ability that can only be activated by paying for its cost while playing the card with it from your hand to the field. An Overdrive cannot be used if playing a card to the field from elsewhere than the hand.

Preemptive Attack / 先制攻撃 [sensei kougeki]
A card with this trait will have their damage calculated before the opponent's card. If the opponent's card is Broken with this card's Power, the opponent's cards Power will not affect this card's Power. Example 1: Sephiroth (7,000) has Preemptive Attack and attacks. He is blocked by Vaan (6,000). Sephiroth attacks first, Breaks Vaan and that concludes damage calculations. Example 2: Aya Brea (7,000) attacks. She is blocked by Vaan (6,000). Both damages are calculated at the same time since no Preemptive Attack is involved. Aya Brea Breaks Vaan, but receives 6,000 damage and can only take 1000 before breaking until the next End Phase.

Search / サーチ
This term replaces the phrase "Search for a (card) from your deck and place it in your hand. Shuffle your deck." from chapters 1-4. Chapter 5 and onwards, treat the term 'search' as the previously mentioned phrase.

War God / 軍神 [gunshin]
A War God is a special kind of Eidolon card. In addition to being summoned like a normal Eidolon, you can sacrifice one card (the card type is specified, for example War God Class 0 requires a card with the Class 0 job) from the field for the War God. The sacrificial card's CP cost lessens the CP cost of the War God being summoned - note that the cost cannot become less than 1. For example, should you sacrifice 4-018 Queen (3 CP) from your field to summon 4-023 Shiva (5 CP), you only need to pay 2 CP to summon Shiva. Shiva is played like a regular Eidolon after this, and Queen is removed to the Break Zone.

Flow of the Game

In preparation for the game, both players must first construct a deck of exactly 50 cards, with no more than 3 same cards in it. The goal of the game is to either deal a total of 7 points of damage to the opponent or make them run out of cards. When both these matters are clear, shuffle your decks and decide by rock-paper-scissors or other such method who will start.
With the order clear, both players draw 5 cards from the top of their deck to form their hands. For this one time only, if you choose to do so you can place the 5 cards to the bottom of your deck and draw a fresh 5 ones. Note that you cannot do this in halves, it must be 5 or nothing.

Active Phase

This mode is solely for placing all Dull cards (unless otherwise specified) into Active mode. No cards can be played or abilities activated in this phase.

Draw Phase

In this phase, the player whose turn it is must draw two cards. If they cannot draw two cards they will lose the game. Note, however, that on the first player's first turn that player can only draw one card.

Main Phase 1

This is the phase for playing character cards to the field - indeed, this is the only phase when this can be done. Remember that to play cards on the field you must pay their CP cost first. CP will not carry over from one payment to the next, but are all used up on the spot. Note also that Backup cards are played to the field in Dull mode, Forwards in Active mode (unless otherwise specified), and Monsters always in Active mode.

You can also summon Eidolons in this phase by paying their cost in CP. They can be interrupted by your opponent. After an Eidolon's effect has been used, it is placed to the Break Zone.

The third option of main phase is to use abilities of the character cards you have on the field. To use an ability you must pay their cost, in CP and other cost specified. Abilities can also be interrupted by your opponent.

Attack Phase

Attack Preparation
In preparation for an attack, you can use abilities and Eidolons. Note that they can be interrupted just like before. First to prepare is attacking side, then defending side.

Designating Attacks
Attacking side designates one attacking Forward. Forwards in Dull mode, ones that have already attacked and ones that were played this turn and do not have Haste cannot be chosen. The designated Forward immediately becomes Dull. If it becomes Broken, place it in the Break Zone. You can also continue an attack by using abilities and Eidolons, but these can be interrupted by your opponent.

Instead of attacking alone, the designated Forward can form a party with other Forwards of the same element. A party acts as a single unit, so unless all Forwards have the Preemptive Attack trait it will not come into effect even on a card that has it otherwise. They also can be blocked by only one enemy Forward, but can only deal 1 point of damage to the enemy if not blocked.

Designating Blocks
Defending side decides whether or not to block the attacking Forward, and with who to block if they decide to do so. Only Active Forwards can block. Note that abilities and Eidolons can be used in this step too.

Damage Calculation
If the attacking Forward wasn't blocked, the defending side receives 1 point of damage and must place the topmost card of their deck to the Damage Zone. Eidolons and abilities other than the defending side's possible EX Burst and any possible auto abilities cannot be used. This concludes damage calculation.

If the attacking Forward was blocked, both Forwards deal damage equal to their own power. If a Forward receives more total damage than their own power it is Broken and placed to the Break Zone. If attacking side was in a party, the damage they deal is equal to their combined power. In this case the defending side can choose freely how to distribute the power of their blocking Forward (unless otherwise specified). Damage dealt to Forwards is retained until the end phase. In this step, Eidolons and abilities other than auto abilities cannot be used.

At the end of damage calculation if you wish to attack with another Forward, return to the first step of the attacking phase. Otherwise, continue on.

Main Phase 2

This functions exactly the same as the first main phase.

End Phase

All damage dealt to Forwards on the field is removed, their power returning to default. The active player must discard any card that adds over 5 from their hand.


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