There are only few franchises that are widely recognized by almost everyone. Final Fantasy (FF) is one of them. FF is famous mostly because of the electronic game series, and now also because of a trading card game. The worldwide demand for the game is immense. The size of the first wave of cards was nowhere near close to satisfying the demand, and players were paying huge amounts of money to import the product from countries across the world, because the game was sold out hopelessly in their country.
FF TCG was first released in Japan back in 2011. For five years, the game has thrived and has enjoyed the favor of the local players, but has never actually crossed the borders of the land of the rising sun. Finally, by the end of October 2016, the game has reached Europe (with USA release scheduled for early 2017). The cards are available not only in English, but also in German, Spanish and French. Together with the worldwide release, the game has been restarted – the game's designers capitalized on the experience they had gained during the first five years, and the second iteration of the game introduces some changes and improvements.
The game is intended to be played by two players and the game system combines the best of the two widespread card game systems – TCG (Trading Card Game) and LCG (Living Card Game). To play the game, each player needs a deck of exactly fifty cards (up to three copies of a single card are allowed in the deck). The players alternate taking their turns, during which they can summon mythic beings, call characters to their aid or react to whatever the opponent might be doing. To play any card, a player needs to generate Crystal Points (CP) by either discarding a card from his/her hand or by dulling (turning sideways) certain characters he has already played. Because the players draw two cards each turn, the chance of not having enough CP is very unlikely (so there are almost no manascrew situations infamously known from Magic: The Gathering). This allows for a highly dynamic game, and you will almost never lose a game because you didn't get enough resources to play your cards.
And then there's the combat phase. Forwards, who can participate in combat, have only single combat-relevant quality – their power. Power determines both the strength of the character as well as its stamina. Player's forwards usually attack one by one, but if they share an element, they can join a party for one big swing. The defending player gets to choose who to use to block the incoming attack with (if he wants to block). A strong enough forward can block multiple attacks. If the attack isn't blocked, the defending player has to put the top card from his/her deck into the Damage Zone. As soon as there are seven cards in a player's Damage Zone, that player loses the game. A player also loses the game if his/her deck has no cards left in it and he/she needs to draw a card or take another point of damage.
The first set of FF TCG, called Opus 1, is available through three preconstructed decks (thematically focusing on popular FF titles - FF 7, FF 10 and FF 13) and booster packs. Booster packs contain 12 random cards (7 common cards, 3 rare cards, one heoric or legendary card, and one random premium foil card). Opus 1 consists of 216 unique cards and it seems that most of them are playable at a competitive level – there are only few cards with little to no value that should make you sad if you find them in your pack.
The producer promises to offer support for FF TCG organized play. At this time, there are promo cards available featuring one the most iconic FF villains, Sephiroth. This version of Sephiroth can't be found in the booster packs. Recently, the producer also published a release schedule for 2017. The second set (called Opus 2) is scheduled to release in March, the third set (Opus 3) in July and the fourth set (Opus 4) in October. Moreover, two more preconstructed decks are scheduled to release in June – one will focus on FF 9 and the other on FF Type-0.
Editor: Jan Zámyslický