Xenocard is a minigame contained within Xenosaga: Episode One. It is a collectible card game, along the veins of Magic, Pokemon, or Yu-Gi-Oh. Xenocard has one distinction between itself and the other mini-card games in other RPGs that really set it apart, and that's what (in my opinion) makes it so great: The Player can buy cards in either a starter set (40 cards) or booster packs (10 cards), with in-game currency. That's right, no more slaving away at combat, or plain old pure random chance to get the very best cards. Rather, some of these cards (called promos) are hidden in places inside the game world, but most of them can be obtained by playing in Xenosaga's network casino for a couple minutes, and then the coins resulting from can be exchanged for the promo packs. Each contains three copies(the maximum amount that can be owned) of one card. Thus, it doesn't take too much effort to start winning games.

The Rules:

Xenocard is played with a 40-card deck that is built with what the Player owns. No more than three of a single card can be in the deck.

The object of the game is to deplete the opponent's deck, using any means necessary.

There are three types of cards: Battle cards, Event cards, and Situation cards.

Battle cards function as the attackers and defenders and weapons. They are usually the most common type of card in a deck. They have an HP value (well, except for the weapons) (when it hits 0 it dies, and goes to the junk pile), an attack value (amount of damage dealt to the deck or to enemy Battle cards), a cost (the amount of cards to come off the Player's deck to bring it into play), a field requirement that states what already needs to be in play, and a Type which contributes a type to the requirement. They come in five types: Humans (green shaped human icon), Realians (yellow shaped human icon with a plus), Gnosis (funny-looking purple icon), Mech (looks like a spoon to me), and Bunnie (Pink and yellow icon that looks like the mascot of Xenosaga, Bunnie. Only one card carries this icon.). They are red.

Event cards perform a function in the game, and then go to the junk pile. This function can be anything, like removing cards from the opponent's deck, refilling the Player's deck, restoring HP, or even stopping other Events. They have a cost (see above) and a field requirement (see above). They are yellow.

Situation cards function the same way as Event cards, except that they last more than one turn. They can also do more stuff than Event cards can, like drawing more cards, dealing more damage, etc. over time. They too have a cost and a field requirement. Usually, the field requirement is fairly steep.

The game's order begins like this:

  • The Draw Phase: At the start of the game, each player draws 6 cards, forming a hand, and can redraw this hand up to three times. Then a card is drawn. On all other turns a card is drawn.
  • The Move Phase: Cards can be moved to different places in the battlefield and standby zones.
  • The Event Phase: Provided there are enough Battle cards out on the Player's side of the table bearing the icons listed above, any number of Event cards can be played.
  • The Set Phase: Battle cards and Situation cards can be played. The number of each type of card that can be played is one, but that rule doesn't apply to Realians and weapons. When a Battle card is played, it goes to the Standby zone, and it can be moved on next turn's Move Phase. When a Situation card is played, it takes effect at the start of the Battle Phase.
  • The Block Phase: The Opponent now gets a chance to play Events.
  • The Battle Phase: This is where it gets thick. Each battle card has one of four different attack types:
    • Hand: Attacks whatever is in front of it. Useless in the back row of the battlefield. If there's nothing in front of it, it doesn't attack. Cards with Hand can't attack the Opponent's deck.
    • Ballistic: Attacks whatever enemy is in it's line of fire. Better put, imagine this:
      | 4 | 3 |
      | 2 | 1 |
      --------- Opponent
      --------- Player
      | 1 | 2 |
      | 3 | 4 |
      The above words mean that if there was one of Player's cards with the ballistic effect in position 3, it would hit anything in the opponent's position 2 or 4, whatever is closest. 1 and 3 wouldn't be touched. If there's nothing in the way, it attacks the deck.
    • Homing: Homing attacks the deck regarless of what's in the way.
    • Spread: Spread attacks all four of the Opponent's positions at once.
    Battle cards attack in order according to their type. The above order, to be more specific. If two or more cards share the same type, they go in numerical order.
  • The Adjust Phase: Essentially the end of turn phase. The Opponent now takes his/her/its turn.
Unfortunately, Xenocard does have its flaws (even though it's great for a mini-game), the biggest one being that there's not enough cards (there's 147 of them). Most CCGs usually have about 350 to begin with. But that's not bad...