The Berserk TCG works like many other TGC, basically youíre using cards from a deck (the card sets the player are using, they have to choose the cards themselves with caution and stragegy before the duel) to beat the opponent by conquering more cities than him.

The decks must have 45 cards or more, and you canít play more than 3 times the same card. This however doesnít apply to mercenary cards (random soldiers cards, as opposed to known Berserk characters) that have no limit, the official game rules recommends to play at least 10 of them.

For tournaments, the side deck is made of 10 cards at max.

The gaming ground is composed of 5 cities that are placed between the two players, a ĒLibraryĒ (not an official term, Iím using this from ďMagic: the GatheringĒ to prevent any confusion with the Deck) for each players, as well as a Trash and a Hand for each.

Players have to draw 7 cards from their Library to form their Hands. If a player has more than 7 cards in his hand at the end of his turn, he must discard as many cards as needed until he has only 7.

The first player to take his turn has to skip his drawing phase (for that turn only).

Thereís 4 different types of cards, each of them containing 112 cards (40 for Volume 1 + 16 for Volume 2 & 3, 20 for Volume 4 & 5), plus the 5 cities (colorless), there are 4 basic cities and 1 royal city.

  • White for the Golden Age cards, featuring the old Hawks (Judo, Rickert, Carcus, Pippin, Guts, Griffith and of course Casca).
  • Green for the "Forces of Good" sort of (like Guts, Isidro, Farnese, Serpico, Puck, Flora, Schierke, the Golems, etc).
  • Black for demons, apostles and co (Rochine, ChimimŰryŰ [Schnoz], etc).
  • Red for the Millennium Falcon arc (it includes Griffith, Grunbeld, Locus, Irvine, Rakshas, Zodd, Sonya, Mule, the demon soldiers and the new Hawks in general).

The victory condition is to take the royal city and at least 2 normal cities. A player loses when he canít draw a card from his deck during his drawing phase.

At first, when the game starts, the 5 city cards are set between the 2 players, their backside shown so that the royal city is hidden amongst the others. As the game goes on, the players return them one by one as they try to take them over.

Each time a player takes a city, he has to draw 2 cards from his Library and put them into his Hand.

The cardsí types are quite simple if you already know ďMagic: The GatheringĒ: there are character cards and effect cards. Effect cards are divided into 2 sub-types: Normal effect (you play the card, its effect occurs, then you trash it) and Eternal effect (these are permanents, like character cards).

The game system focuses on taking cities with characters in order to win, taking them requires that your characters battle against the opponents.

Rushing isnít a smart bet in this game: while a player targets a city, his opponent can target one as well, and itís very unlikely that one can take the 3 cities needed to win by his deck speed alone, as he must confront the other each time he attacks one, and defend it afterwards. Add to this the fact that letting 1/1 characters to protect your cities isnít the smartest thing to do.

During a battle over a city, when the defensive player wins, he doesnít acquire the city, he must attack in order to take it.

Just to make it clear: when a player gains the control of a city, he doesnít remove it from the game, nor he puts it in his hand or anything, he just turns it toward him and let the characters that took its control inside, to guard it against the enemy.

Of course itís possible for the opponent to take back a city when itís occupied, he just has to attack it and defeat the troops that defend it. That way a player that would take the royal city in the first turn isnít especially advantaged.

Battling with the characters is quite easy, there are Power points (Pow) and Health Points (HP) (for example: 2/3), every character has these, so if a 2/2 is fighting against a 2/3, theyíll both deliver the other 2 points of damage, the 2/2 will then die, and the 2/3 will survive.

Some cards have the Quick ability, which allows them to be played anytime, and to ďcut intoď a normal effect. If two Quick effects went to be played simultaneously, the player which turn it is has the priority.

The character cards also have a Range value, that indicates which one will deliver its damage first (for example in a fight between archers and lancers, the archers would inflict their damages before the lancers).

So a 2/1 character card with a higher Range than a 3/2 will kill it before it can fight back.

Some character or effect cards are called Unique, it means that they canít be put in game more than once at the same time (to prevent two Guts fighting each other for example, or an army of Zodd attacking a city).

Now it doesnít mean you canít have three Guts cards in your deck (like two Golden Age Guts and one Black Swordsman-like), but if your opponent has one in game, you canít play it, if you do, itíll be trashed as soon as it comes in game.

When a character card attacks a city, or moves from one to another (using their Move value), you have to "Lock" it, which is the action of tapping it (turning it on its side of 180 degrees). A locked card canít take any action until its player next turn, more specifically his unlocking phase (the first one).

After the Unlocking phase comes the drawing phase where the player draws a card from his Library to his Hand.

To ďOpenĒ cards (put them in game from your Hand) you must take note of the cardís Level. Itís related to the number of revealed cities in the game (cities with their frontside shown). At first, none is visible and only cards of Level 0 can be played (Opened). Then, as a character card is put in game and reveals a city, that city becomes the Level 1 city until the game ends, and the Level 1 cards can be played.

To sum it up, you can play cards of a Level inferior or equal to the number of revealed cities. The city cards are put in game randomly and the players reveal them in no particular order, while respecting the character cards battling procedure to attack before revealing.

About the cardsí cost, and to be able to Open them (put in game from your Hand), you have to sacrifice a number of cards, often from a specific color but not always, equivalent to the cost indicated on the card near the Level. Colorless costs (generally [1]) allow to sacrifice a card from any color in order to Open the one you want to play.

What I call ĒsacrificingĒ a card is just the action of discarding it (to put it from your Hand into the Trash).

I understand that discarding cards to play others may seem crazy at first, but it IMHO fits very well the world of Berserk, and forces the players to be very tactical with their Deck composition.
Still about the cost, itís not necessarily a number but rather a color ball, numbers are only used for colorless costs (a blank ball with a number inside).

The number that comes with a weapon and a shield is the Level. The type of shield and weapon indicates whether the card is common, uncommon, rare or super rare.

- A white card, Level 1, cost: 1 white card.

- A black card, Level 4, cost: 1 black card and 1 colorless card.

- A red card, Level 2, cost: 2 red cards.

Processing of a turn:

1. Unlocking (Recovering) phase
2. Drawing phase
3. Opening phase
4. Main phase
5. Ending phase

During your Recovering phase, you have to unlock all your cards, then you pick a card from your Library and put it in your Hand during the Drawing phase. The Opening phase allows you to put a card in game after checking the Level allowed, and whether a Unique card of the same category is already in game or not. You then have to pay its cost to be able to play it.

The Main phase is more complicated, it consists of 4 steps: moving your characters, setting them in a city (preparing them to battle for it), using special abilities (from character or effect cards), and lastly the battle anouncement.

That anouncement means that youíll attack a city (you obviously canít attack one that you already occupy). You can only attack once each turn. When you choose to attack, your opponent can defend the city if he wants and is able to.

During the Ending phase, the damages dealt and that didnít send a card to the Trash are healed, and the effects that applied for a turn are worn off.