The Final Fantasy TCG was recently released in English and since I’m a sucker for new card games, I bought a starter deck, which turned into one of each starter deck (three in total) and a booster box. Spoiler alert; I enjoyed it!
This card game obviously has a massive name attached to it, with many computer games spanning a long period of time. This means that there would be a decent-sized following for it even if people don’t want to play the game, as they will collect their favourite characters (a bit like how there are many people that collect their favourite Pokemon in the Pokemon TCG). Personally, I go into this card game having only dabbled in FF7 ‘back in the day’ and a bit of Tactics, so I’m not really invested in the series.
I’d originally intended to only pick up the FF7 starter and give it a try, but I was instantly hooked!
After opening my booster box (and taking time to excitedly read all of the cards as I did so), I made a Gilgamesh deck using all three versions (since they all have a Special ability, so extra copies are still useful). It was a Lightning/Fire deck that used Gilgamesh and Tifa to bully the opposing Forward characters. It worked okay but after playing a few more games it got me wanting to create more decks.
As someone who likes to write down deck creations on a notepad while I’m working on them, I’ve now got several pages complete with lots of crossed out cards and ideas. Many of these will be abominations that should never see the light of day (my current Golbez deck idea is probably a good example), but the fact that I’m this motivated is probably a good sign.
So far my experience has been a positive one, but there’s nothing wrong with taking a step back and trying to look at things objectively (or as objectively as someone can who is invested in the subject), so I’m going to separate things into Good Stuff So Far and Bad Stuff So Far.
Good Stuff So Far
Fun – Worth stating, as it’s pretty much the main reason to play a game, but it’s lots of fun. This is obviously subjective, but if you like card games in general you’ll probably like this. If I had to say what it plays like, I’d say it’s a cross between Cardfight Vanguard (pre-power creep) and Duel Masters.
Aesthetics – While some of the artwork may not be to my taste, the overall look of the cards is fantastic. Most importantly to me as a gamer, the relevant rules text is well-placed and easy to read.
Rules – The rules of the game are fairly straightforward. The double-sided rules sheet that comes with each starter deck does a good job of teaching the basic rules, but we really do need a few questions answering (more on this later).
Price – The starter decks are very reasonably priced (RRP is £11.99) considering they contain three copies (a playset) of all the starter deck exclusive cards. Booster packs (RRP £3.70) are about par for the course, so no real complaints there.
Not licensed – This is done by Square Enix themselves rather than licensed out to another company. This means that it won’t end prematurely due to contractual disputes. If I’m honest, I raise this point because I’m still pissed off about Warhammer 40,000 Conquest LCG being cancelled due to Games Workshop and Fantasy Flight Games parting ways (it was my favourite card game for the last couple of years).
Bad Stuff So Far
Availability – Whilst we haven’t had much of a problem here in the UK, I’m not so myopic that I don’t recognise the fact that our friends across the pond have had their release date pushed back. At time of writing, it still isn’t released in the US.
Comprehensive rulebook – The detailed rulebook hasn’t been released yet, so there are certain things that we are not totally sure of. To be honest, at the moment this isn’t really a deal-breaker, as we’re fairly certain of how things work, but it’d be nice to have the ‘proper’ rules available.
Organised play – Some shops will undoubtedly be running some introduction events, but as far as I’m aware, nothing has been announced for organised play. Hand-in-hand with events are also promotional items; something that many players and collectors covet. Again, this isn’t really a big issue (as the game hasn’t even been released for a week yet), but hopefully Square Enix (or their regional proxies) will have something in mind.
Accessories – This one is probably only annoying to me because I work in a game shop, but it seemed strange to me that they didn’t release card sleeves and playmats simultaneously with the cards. We don’t have an ETA for them yet, but look at them, they look really good! Would have been nice to pick them up along with my initial product.
Overall I’m really happy with the game so far and it seems to me it has a lot of potential. I realize of course that it has been released in Japan for several years now and that we’re kind of getting the second edition of it, but what does well in the east doesn’t always do well here in the west (but this has the Final Fantasy name on it, so I’m sure it’ll do fine).
Anyway, that’s all for now.