Battle Spirits: CALL OF THE CORE STARTER -- Bandai (2009) -- Deck B
A collectible card game brought to us from BANDAI JAP. English version distributed by BANDAI AMERICA. The game is anime stylized but is not based on an anime (until later versions) it was created by Michael Elliot, game designer for MTG, and also creator of Duel Masters.
There are six different categories of cards. Each represented by a different Gem stone. Ruby, Diamond, Amethyst, Sapphire, Topaz, and Emerald. Each gem set possesses specific powers, abilities, and types of spirits which are unique to each gem set.
The game is based around a "core" concept. Each player begins with 5 life which is represented by gems included with the game; also players begin with 4 "core" in their reserve that are also represented by the same gems used to indicate your life total. The goal of the game is to reduce your opponents life to zero, or through "crushing" your opponents deck so they can no longer draw any cards.
As players receive damage from their opponents actions their life transfers from your life area to your reserve where you can pay for spirits, spells, and nexus's essentially adding a balance to the game; so that even though you may be on the receiving end of an assault you are gaining the ability to respond with a counter attack. Your reserve refreshes at the beginning of every turn with each core you had spent on the previous turn and you gain 1 additional core every turn.
The game at its base is very simplistic, but as you play in more advanced degrees it tends to have a "poker" feel to it, as you can bluff and certain plays give away "tells" and whatnot, it takes about 45 minutes to play a match (best 2 of 3 games)
Although the game requires basic strategy, there is a lot of involvement in the deck building process, because your resources are on a differing track from your deck there is no mulligan, such as in MTG, however you only begin with 4 core in reserve so you want to include spirits and cards in your deck that work with your "core" production curve. This concept makes a large portion of the spirits and spells in the game to be very attractive to deck building which makes individual cards very cost effective.
Battle Spirits is currently on it's 4th edition with the 5th set releasing Sept. 10th. It is relatively unknown because it is only distributed to local hobby retailers and online hobby stores. It is currently unknown when the game will hit the mass market, but is expected to gain high popularity with the younger crowd as the anime will be hitting US airways hopefully in the spring of 2011.
BANDAI AMERICA will send you a free demo deck (all constructed with cards from the first set) they are white backed which indicates they are not approved for sanctioned tournament play, however they are adequate for casual gaming and can give you a good taste of the game mechanics.
For more information please see Bandaicg.com/battlespirits regarding how to play, how to obtain your free demo deck, you can also watch videos on YouTube by searching for "Bandai CG".