Yu-Gi-Oh is a trading card game (TCG) inspired by the fictional game of Duel Monsters created by renowned Japanese manga artist Kazuko Takahashi. Part of the fun is that the game is played by the characters in the animated Yu-Gi-Oh series. For fans both young and old, this aspect adds another layer to the enjoyment as it is played in both a fictional world and the real world.
In the animated series, the game is somewhat more serious as the characters often battle for their soul, fortunately in real life the battle is on the table and at tournaments, but the excitement is no less real.
“Yu-Gi-Oh represents an entire universe. The storylines can go deep and each card has its own narrative. It’s the type of game that grows with you and many fans have been playing since the age of ten. It is deemed fairly complex compared to other TCGs but once the basics are understood game play is highly enjoyable,” explains Philip Galliford, spokesperson for Solarpop.
In 2009 the Guinness World Records named Yu-Gi-Oh the top selling trading card game worldwide and as of January 2021 it was estimated that 35 billion cards were sold since its launch. That’s a whopping big number and a solid indication of just how popular these collectible cards are!
For the past two decades Yu-Gi-Oh tournaments have been occurring all over the world, with a strong, dedicated and growing fan base who continue to purchase, trade and play with the cards. While the game has a reputation for being fairly difficult to grasp, the learning curve opens up a world of exploration and discovery as the rules unfold.
The thrill of summoning beautifully rendered monsters to the tabletop battlefield and the fact that one opening in your opponent’s defence can lead to a win makes for a high paced, cerebral game. It has been described by many as a card game sword fight!
How to Play – the basics
Firstly, make sure you have between 40 to 60 cards, then plan your attack and back it up with the cards you have. In a duel each player starts off with 8 000 life points and the aim is to bring your opponent’s life down to zero. There are certain actions that need to happen, including: draw a card, summon a monster, play spells, lay traps and attack your opponent. Depending on how many of these actions take place in one turn will determine the speed of play. Things can move very quickly in a game of Yu-Gi-Oh and all these actions can potentially take place in one turn. Part of the fun is that you can thrash your opponent in a single turn. If a player runs out of cards in their deck, they also lose.
- Reportedly, the most valuable Yu-Gi-Oh card is the Black Luster Soldier valued at $2,000,000. The card was an exclusive prize awarded at the first-ever Yu-Gi-Oh tournament in 1999.
- The First Edition Yu-Gi-Oh cards are also extremely valuable. The First Edition Blue-Eyes White Dragon is one of the most coveted cards in the game and was last sold at a price of $55,100. The reason for its worth is that the print run on it was small as the game was just beginning. As can be expected, collector demand for first edition cards continues to grow.
- A card called “Tyler the Great Warrior” was designed by a boy called Tyler Gressie. He was diagnosed with terminal cancer but fought for his life and was granted his wish to design a Yu-Gi-Oh card. It was arranged through the Make a Wish Foundation in the USA.
- Many competitive card games have an equivalent to a “Ban List” – this is a list of cards that have been officially banned from tournaments as they either offer an unfair advantage or are difficult to enforce in a competitive setting. In Yu-Gi-Oh,the ban list is referred to as the Forbidden List. Th first card on the list was Yata-Garasu.
- “Yu-Gi-Oh” literally means “Game King” in Japanese.
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