The Trading Card Game!
My fiance, wonderful woman that she is, is completely crazy about Neopets. Me, being the gritty cynical bastard that I am, naturally cringed away, hissing violently, at the thought of ever stepping into the colorfully cute world of Neopia.
So when lovely AmberFe decided that she wanted to begin playing the Neopets card game, she needed a partner to play with. Naturally, since I was there, I got opted into being her opponent. So I ignored my profusely smoking skin as I picked up the deck, and in the interests of appeasing the girl I love, began to play.
As much as I hate to condone anything that's even remotely Neopets related, the card game was actually a pleasant surprise. It's really fun!
The game is based around four arenas: Strength, Agility, Magic, and Intelligence. The object of the game is to use your Neopets, who have varying statistics in each arena, to win contests in that arena. For example, a Grarrl, with a strength of 8, will dominate in the strength arena, but with an intelligence score of only 1, will be sorely lacking in the intelligence arena. The contest is determined by taking the Neopets intrinsic stat for the arena, rolling a D6, adding them together, and comparing each player's results. A roll of 6 automatically wins unless, of course, each player has rolled a 6. At that point, you roll again. One of the more strategic parts of the game is that although there are four arenas, you may only have three Neopets in play at any time.
Example of a contest:
Player A has a Scorchio, with a strength stat of 6, in the strength arena. He is challenged by Player B's Grarrl with a strength of 8. Each player rolls a D6. Player A rolls a 5. Player B rolls a 2. This gives Player A a total of 11, while player B has a total of 10. Player A wins.
If an attacking player wins a contest, they may either bank a card, or draw a card. You may bank either item or equipment cards for a range of 1 to 4 points each. Once you bank 21 points, you win the game!
There are several different types of cards besides Neopets in the game, which I will attempt to clearly explain below.
Once a contest is initiated, the attacking player may opt to play an item, after which the defending player may make the same choice. Items give a bonus to one or more stats for that contest, and some items have special effects which are listed in the card text. Items are discarded after the contest is resolved. For example: Player A initiates a contest in the agility arena with his Mynci. He chooses to play a Potion of Agility, which grants a bonus of +5 to agility. A Mynci has a base agility of 8, meaning that the player rolls a D6 and adds 13 to the result.
Equipment is like an item, in the sense that they increase certain stats and may have special effects. They are not discarded after your turn, however. In order to play an equipment card, you must tap one of your Neopets. Then you may attach the equipment card to any of your Neopets that you like. Equipment can only be removed by the choice of the player who attached it, or by special cards, such as the Broken Sword card. Petpets, while differentiated slightly, work just like equipment, and counts towards the limit of one piece of equipment per Neopet. For example, a player has a Mynci in the agility arena. He taps his Grarrl in the strength arena, ending it's action for this round, and then attaches a Wooden Blocking Shield to his Mynci, granting it a permanent bonus of +4 to it's agility stat until the equipment is removed. Equipment and item bonuses do stack.
The Aisha Enchantress. The Werelupe Sage. The Grarrl Defender. These are a few examples of experienced Neopets, special Neopets which, frankly, rock the world out of anything except other experienced Neopets, Heroes, and Villians. Their stats are ludicrously high, many of them have special effects, and with the ability to use Equipment, Petpets, and items with them just like regular Neopets, a few of these on the board equals domination, in most cases. In order to play an experienced Neopet, you must have a Neopet on the board that matches the race of the experienced Neopet, and you replace the basic Neopet with the experienced one. The experienced Neopet keeps any equipment that the old Neopet had equipped.
Locations were added in the Battle for Meridell deck. They are generally restricted to being played in a certain arena, and add a special effect for contests in that arena. For example, the Grarrl Factory card causes anyone involved in a contest in the Agility arena to draw a card after the contest, regardless of who wins.
Something Has Happened!
Generic event cards, which cause certain effects either to oneself or the other player. For example, the Pants Devil Attacks! (don't ask) card allows you to choose a card in your opponents hand, and discard it.
These cards are, basically, a one-time-only utter smackdown. With stats higher than even experienced Neopets (sometimes over 20), and often having special effects associated with their use and deployment, they will defeat just about anything in the deck. They may use items and equipment, and are discarded at the end of your turn.
A villian is basically used to tie up an arena and prevent any players (including yourself) from initiating contests in that arena. Once a villian is deployed, no player (including yourself) can initiate a contest in that arena until they defeat the villian in a special villian contest. With stats matching those of Heroes, and special effects associated with them as well, these cards will dominate just about anything. (Except Heroes.) Once someone wins the villian contest, the card is discarded.
Villians do not roll dice in contests, they use only their base statistic, and cannot have items played for them.
Speaking of which, my prized card is my Darkest Faerie card, one of the villians, which is actually the 3rd rarest card in the game. Not only does it have utterly sickening stats, but when it wins a contest, it KICKS THE OFFENDING NEOPET OUT OF THE ARENA! Ownage.
With over 200 cards in the base deck, with many, many special effects and exceptions associated with them, the strategy of building and playing a deck in this game is actually quite complex. I know that it's difficult for some people to play a game that involves cute cuddwy wittle aminals, since it brings a very disturbing parallel to Pokemon to mind, but it is actually lots of fun to play. I recommend it to anyone with a surplus of money to spend on colored cardboard!
Spending entirely too much money on booster packs. ::sob::