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"The age of Monster Rancher continues...
—Game Boy Color intro
While different from the previously named card games, "Monster Rancher Card Game" managed to capture pretty well the fighting system Monster Rancher games are known for. Of course, there is no breeding simulation included, but the system is still very faithful to the original games.
The rules are the following:
- Before the match the player has to select 3 monsters. Those are the monsters he is going to use from the begging to the ending of the match.
- Each player has a 50 cards deck, which can be divided in three types: Offensive cards, Defensive cards and Help cards.
- Offensive and Defensive cards are designed to a single kind of monster. (with some exceptions)
- Offensive cards are only used during your turn. To active the offensive card you must have the corresponding monster, and that monster can't be exhausted. After using an Offensive card, the monster gets exhausted.
- Defensive cards are only used during your opponent turns, when he/she decides to use a card against you. They work as a defense measure allowing you to do things like "Block" or "Evade".
- Help cards can be used during your turn, and they don't require a special monster to be activated. For those familiar with Pokemon, they are the Trainer card.
- The cards mentioned above can only be used by spending your GUTS. The only exception are the 0 GUTS cards, which are usually weaker.
- At the end of your turn, you have a GUTS step, in which you can discard cards. For each card discarded, you gain 1 GUTS.
- At the beginning of your turn, you draw as many cards you need until you have 5 cards in your hand.
- The match ends when one trainers' three monsters are defeated (most likely by ofensive cards) or one trainer is decked out.
Sadly, the hard copies of the game never made it out of Japan. So far, only two games exist: Monster Rancher Battle Card Game for the Gameboy and Monster Rancher Battle Card Game Episode II for the Playstation.
Exploration and story progress in the former is very similar to the Gameboy Pokemon Card Game for the Game Boy Color, while in the latter is more like the original Monster Rancher games, with a calendar and scheduled fights.
This game provides example of:
- Awesome but Impractical: Strong attacks require lots of GUTS, so that means you have to discard many cards in order for them to work. Not only that, but you should also avoid using other cards since they would consume your GUTS. At the end, using a couple of high-cost cards is really risky, since you can get Decked out and have to be open to your enemies' attacks.
- Blind Idiot Translation the gameboy game.
- Boring but Practical: low GUTS attack, you can use plenty of them to kill one monster. Then, 3 vs 2 is a lot easier to win. Just keep spamming them.
- Bonus Boss: The monsters in the Paradise of Monsters.
- Continuity Cameo: Practically everyone from the first two main games appear as opponents, along with plenty of new faces.
- Crippling Overspecialization: Golem, who has plentiful attack cards, no Dodge cards, and no way to defend against INT attacks.
- Distressed Damsel: Colt.
- Expy: Cue, for Colt. She even dislikes her full name, Curie.
- Fragile Speedster: Pixie, Hare, and Tiger.
- Excuse Plot: Brilliantly subverted. For a card game, this game has a great plot that is also In-universe. Little kids can not play with real monsters because it's too dangerous, so they simulate monster battles with cards.
- Gradual Grinder: The leader of the BCB has a Pixie. With every dodge card.
- Jack of All Stats: Mocchi and Suezo.
- Lightning Bruiser: Zilla and Dragon.
- MacGuffin: The Phoenix card, only obtainable after you have every other Monster card.
- Glass Cannon: it only has 4 HP.
- Mirror Match: Miller and Ellie both use your own decks against you. You can win easily by removing all the attack cards and stalling til they deck out.
- Oddball in the Series A monster rancher game that has no simulation.... as a matter of facts, that doesn't have real monsters! (except for NPC)
- Stone Wall: Most monsters with 10 HP.
- Squishy Wizard: Pixie, but man can she dodge things.