Yu-Gi-Oh! Duelist of Roses

        One of my favorite games is actually I haven’t talked about at all; Yu-Gi-Oh! The Duelist of the Roses. It is one of my favorites for a few different reasons; while it does follow most of the rule of the Yu-Gi-Oh! Card game, it primarily seems to operate on its own rules and concepts, producing what I can only call a sort of chess/card game hybrid.
        The story is also interesting, at least to me, in that you can choose whether to be on the side of the heroes or villains. I hadn’t played very many games that offer such a choice. In addition, it’s not exceptionally clear if the ‘heroes’ are all that heroic, even if all the characters are clearly the main characters and antagonists from the Yu-Gi-Oh series, with changed names and clothes. But we will get on that another time.
        I suppose I’ll talk about gameplay for now. In the beginning you’re given the choice of several decks, all with an attribute theme. They aren’t great decks, just basic, but they will do until you can alter them. After that, you are presented with the choice between the Red rose side, the protagonists, or the White rose side, the antagonists.
        You’ll fight the group you do not pick, naturally. On the whole, the heroes are actually much easier foes, especially early on, but they follow a linear path- beating one leads to the next. The villain’s, in contrast, are more difficult, but you start out with two possible fights, and beating either will open up two more.
        Defeating an enemy lets you play a roulette game where all the enemy’s cards that they used, or were destroyed in the case of monsters, are put in three slots. All three have the same cards, but they spin at different speeds. Line up a card, and it is yours. If you line up three of a kind, a exceedingly hard task, then you get a rare and powerful card. You can reduel any enemy you beat before to keep collecting their cards.
        However, you cannot just duel anyone available to you. Your deck, based on the worth of the cards in it, will have a certain value, you and if your deck value is higher than your enemy’s, you cannot challenge them. Thus, you have to play a delicate balancing act of making your deck worthwhile, but still under theirs, especially since you can’t have less than forty cards.
        As for the duels themselves, some elements are borrowed from Yu-Gi-Oh!, of course- there’s monster cards, which fight other monster and deal direct damage, magic, which causes some effect, and traps, which activate when something is attacked. However, the actual board itself is very different. Your character is represented by a Deck Leader, a card with a rank. As cards are used more often, they too can gain ranks, and once they are promoted enough, they can have certain effects as your leader in battle, such as strengthening other cards of the same type.
        This deck leader is like the King in chess. It cannot fight back, unlike your monsters, so if the enemy can deal enough damage to it, it’s game over. Your cards represent the other pieces. They all can move one space at a time across the board, and the board itself can have certain effects. For instance, Machine monsters are stronger on Wasteland spaces, but weaker in Water spaces, by 500 points. They can also move two spaces at a time as long as they start on a Wasteland space.
        Every type has their own weak and strong areas, with two exceptions. Toon spaces only power up monsters that have the effect of being powered up by it- these ‘toon’ monsters officially count as other types, so that is considered a card effect instead. Any monster that lacks this effect is weakened by it. Crush spaces, on the other hand, do not power up any monster, but they will destroy any monster that travels through them, if they have 1500 or higher attack. Your deck leader isn’t affected by any of this, so you may want to use them as cover. It also serves to tell you what your enemy is sending after you.
        You can send out your monsters either face up, showing what they are, or face down, hiding it. Face down is what you should do, because that way your enemy won’t know what they’re up against. You can even send out magic and traps cards in the same manner. Often Trap cards follow behind my stronger monsters, because most Traps only activate if they or the card next to them is attacked. Those traps that can activate anywhere, like Mirror Force, tend to be very high in deck cost. Magic cards can generally activate from anywhere, except power ups, which have to come into contact with the monster in question.
        Every turn you gain three star points, which you can use to send out monsters, which are ranked by level. Magic and Traps have no levels, so you can send them out at no cost to you. However, you can only play one card per turn. This can be migrated somewhat by playing multiple ones at once, but if they are monsters, they will either fuse, which I will discuss in a bit, or the second card will destroy the first. This is an easy way to get useless cards out of your hand, which can only hold five cards.
        One of my favorite tactics is to use Fake Trap, a card that is incredibly cheap, to fill in my decks. It has a very specific effect, to nullify Harpy’s Feather Duster, which I know only one enemy, or other players, will ever have. But this card is useful in other ways, and the easiest to find. They are what you get if you land on an empty space on the roulette, so as you might imagine I have a lot of them. They only add five points to your deck value, while everything else is quite a bit more, and since magic and traps cost nothing to deploy, you can send them out to see what your opponent has. If a magic or trap of yours runs into an enemy card, one of two things will happen.
        If a monster runs into a magic card or the other way around, the magic card is destroyed, or, in the case of applicable power ups, like Fiend Castle and Fiends, it powers up the monster, no matter what side they are on. If a magic or trap card runs into another magic card, the latter is simply destroyed. This is why Fake Trap is so useful- it can destroy enemy magic cards and trip traps, and even if it is engaged by a monster, at least now you know that card is a monster, by virtue of it being used to attack, even if it isn’t revealed. Of course, other players might know this trick too, so then it wouldn’t be a guarantee, but the computer characters certainly fall for it.
        Monsters of course also have effects, generally when flipped face up. There is literally a dozen or so different monsters that rely on being attacked and thus flipped by enemy monsters. When they are attacked, they render the enemy card ‘Spellbound’, for a certain number of turns, rendering them unusable for a time. How long that is depends on the monster or card- it can be one turn, three, maybe even indefinitely.
They can still be attacked, however- they just cannot move or change position. Most of the traps down something similar, though not all, with the addition of weakening the card. Tears of a Mermaid, a fairly cheap and useful card, binds the attacking card for a turn and reduces their attack by 500, for example.
        Two magic cards I absolutely recommend are Cursebreaker and Paralyzing Potion. These two are ostensibly power ups for the sake of gameplay, but they have very different purposes. Paralyzing Potion, which touched by another card, will be eternally spellbound, rendering them completely unusable for the rest of the game. Obviously, this is a great way to stop powerful monsters in their tracks. Cursebreaker, on the other hand, does the opposite, removing spellbound effects and making the card usable again. However, this also removes any other power ups, save that of Deck Leader bonuses or terrain.
        Now, onto monster fusion. Unlike the normal card game, which requires the Polymerization card to fuse two monsters together, here two allied monsters can do so by playing them together from your hand, or by having them occupy the same space on the board. If they cannot fuse, the one moving into the space will remove the first card. This can be done to stop spellbound monsters from clogging a pathway, for instance.
        There is also Ritual cards, which work a lot like in the regular game- once you meet the requirements, generally having two or three of a certain type of monster on the field, all of them are combined in the ritual to form the specific Ritual monster in the spot where the Ritual card was. Unlike how I use Fake Trap, this card, while similar in deck value, is obviously much more valuable, and so should be kept fairly far from enemy cards, at least until you are ready to use it.
        I believe that mostly covers the gameplay, so I’ll stop here for now, but next time I’ll be covering a certain notorious enemy in this game. See you then, dear readers.

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