Follow TV Tropes


Tabletop Game / Bakugan

Go To
Bowling for cards. And you thought Chaos Orb was fun.

The Bakugan Collectible Card Game/Collectible Figure Game that is mostly known (Or unknown) for being the basis of the card game behind the beginning of the Bakugan anime.

It began with B1s/Battle Brawlers (which were slowly phased out due to being choking hazards) and replaced with B2s (Battle Brawlers), followed by B3s (New Vestroia, some of the first Gundalian Invaders sets also held the B3 logo).

The game was a state of limbo anywhere outside of Japan from 2012 to 2016, as the B5 sets are still being sold but nothing new has been announced while Japan had reset the namings style as Bakutech! and later Bakugan Armors instead of B#, the former due to the launch of the Bakutech Bakugan anime, while also introducing a ruleset called "Gachibaku".

In 2019, a reboot of the franchise called Bakugan: Battle Planet was released. A new anime produced by CTV and animated in Japan was created to promote the new toy line, which includes a significant redesign of the transforming marbles. The designs and details make them look more like the monsters they are meant to represent rather than the mostly stylized and semi-robotic aesthetic used for the older series. They also come in two varieties: Core and Ultra Bakugan. Core Bakugan are simpler and easier to transform with generally lower power ratings, while Ultra Bakugan are more complex and detailed with many having special abilities. The gameplay has also been largely reworked, using BakuCores instead of Gate Cards and optionally a fully developed TCG with players using decks of 40 cards to add complexity to the otherwise basis game. The basic B Power of a Bakugan can actually be the least important part of the game once the Core Bonus/Penalty and any cards played that turn are taken into account. The Battle Brawlers name still appears on packaging but in an ambiguous context.note 

Battle Brawlers Game Rules

Each player starts with three Bakugan, three gate Cards (Each of a Different Colour) and three ability cards. Optional are Bakugan Traps and Battle Gear. The object of the game is to get Bakugan to win Battles, therefore ‘winning’ that Gate Card. Battle ends when three gate cards are won by one person. The Battle begins in three phases.

Starting Battle Phases

  • Gate Card Set: Two players set down the Gate Cards face down on the battlefield.
  • Rolling: Players attempt to roll Bakugan onto the Gate Cards. If a player misses a roll, it is the other players turn.
  • Battle: When two opposing Bakugan stand on the same gate card, battle ensues. This is when Gate Bonuses are added to a Bakugan’s printed G-Levels and Ability Cards are usually used.

Players are then free to either set more Gate Cards or Roll Bakugan, or both. Rolling of Bakugan is required and once one is rolled it is put into the used pile until all three are used, at which it is returned to the unused pile. Ability Cards can only be used once unless stated so on the card, therefore putting them in the used pile permanently.

Battle Items

  • Bakugan: Bakugan are the creatures that participate in battle on gate cards. They have various G-Powers and are affected differently by Gate Cards depending on their attributes. Bakugan have Magnets in them that let them stand on Metal Gate Cards.
  • Gate Cards: Metal cards that let Bakugan stand. They offer two main things, Gate Bonuses, that raise G-Power and Effects.
    • Gold Gate Cards are based on specific Bakugan and Attributes, some offering random effects.
    • Silver Gate Cards offer G-Power Bonuses only.
    • Bronze Gate Cards are based on effects concerning G-Powers or having certain Bakugan in your Party.
  • Ability Cards: Cards that are not made of metal and are used as directed on the card. Offer various effects.
    • Red Ability Cards offer effects that depend on the attribute of the Bakugan.
    • Blue Ability Cards offer G-Power Bonuses.
    • Green Ability Cards offer effects that depend on how the battle situation.
  • Bakugan Traps: Released as part of the B3 New Vestroia set. Bakugan traps can be used during battle on Bakugan that have the same Attribute as them. They change a Bakugan’s Attribute to take advantage of Gate Bonuses.
  • Battle Gear: Released as part of the B4/Gundalian Invaders set. Are colored in the same manner as gate cards and provide Bakugan with slight G-Power boosts. Also look really cool.
  • Mechtogan and Mechtogan Activators: Mechtogan are Humongous Mecha and Mechtgan Activators are their special gate cards. They both sport the same colours as Gate Cards.
  • BakuNano: The replacement for Battle Gear in B5.


There are six attributes based on the elements. Each with its own unique style.

  • Pyrus: Heavy attacking but very vulnerable to counter-attacks.
  • Aquos: Going with the flow of the battle.
  • Ventus: Controlling the flow of battle.
  • Subterra: Stacking G-Powers to crush opponents, but very vulnerable to tricks.
  • Haos: Uses a strategy where lower-powered Bakugan can win with tricks that grant them victory instead.
  • Darkus: Based on tricking the opponent directly and deception.

Gachibaku Ruleset Rules

The rules are based on Battle Brawlers' rules. However, Ability Cards and other items affect G-Powers may not be used, and any text on Gate Cards, other than the bonuses, are disregarded.

At the start of the game, both players places 3 Gate Cards, forming 2 L shapes at the center of the field.Once the cards are placed, the game starts. Players can win by either getting 3 Gate Cards or by timeout, which happens once 15 sets are done, and determines the winner by how much Gate Cards the players own at the moment.

A turn of Gachibaku

  • Both players are given 10 seconds before each Bakugan rolls, used to process battles, activate Bakugan's abilities, or/and fold Bakugans.
  • Once the 10 second period ends, both players are to set a Bakugan on a designated zone. If they can't, they lose their rights to roll for this set.
  • After the Bakugan are set, there are 3 seconds before they are rolled.
  • Depending on where the Bakugan stands, a battle may happen. Its outcome is decided by the Gate Bonus, both Bakugan's printed G-Levels, and Bakugan abilities (if any). As mentioned above, the calculations are done during the 10 seconds period before both Bakugan are set.

Battle Planet Game Rules

Each player has three Bakugan and their associated Character Cards, 6 BakuCores (based on the requirements shown on the Character Cards), and optionally a 40 card deck of Ability Cards.


  • Each player selects three Bakugan and their Character Cards. Character cards are placed face down.
  • Each Bakugan has two BakuCore symbols on its card. Each player selects 6 BakuCores based on the symbols on the Character Card.
  • Both players take turns placing their BakuCores into the Hide Matrix with the Type symbol face-up.
    • The only rule is that each Core must be in full contact on at least one edge with another Core. It's recommended that they be clustered close together to make opening more likely, but this isn't necessary.
    • The player to go first can be decided however the players like, such as flipping a coin (or Core), rock-paper-scissors, etc. The last person to place their BakuCore is the first person to act during the current round if playing the TCG.
    • The winner of the previous round is the first to act during the next turn.
  • For TCG gameplay, both players draw 5 cards.

Basic Rules

  • Both players select one of their three Bakugan.
  • Both players count down from three and say "Let's Brawl" before rolling their Bakugan.
    • Bakugan can be rolled however the player wants but must be at least 2 card lengths (about 10 cm) from the Hide Matrix.
    • Small triangles are detailed into the surface of the Bakugan to show the best direction to roll. For Ultra Bakugan, this is usually the only direction to reliably roll them in due to hinges and exposed details that would get in the way otherwise.
  • Once both Bakugan stop rolling, the victor is determined based on the outcome of the roll.
    • If neither Bakugan opens with a BakuCore attached, both players reroll. This includes if a Bakugan opens but the Core doesn't stick.
    • If only one Bakugan opens, that player is the victor. The character card for the Bakugan is flipped face up.
    • If both open, the Character Cards for both are flipped face up and the BakuCores are removed and flipped over. Any effects the Core has are then applied to the Bakugan that picked it up. The victor is the Bakugan with the most B-power after Core effects are added. If there is a tie, the Bakugan with the higher Damage Power (represented by a striking fist) is the winner. If there is still a tie, both BakuCores are put back and rolled again.
    • If a Bakugan picks up more than one BakuCore, all of them are counted during battle calculations.
  • The victor then places their open Bakugan and the BakuCore on top of their Character Card. The other player puts any BakuCores their Bakugan picked up back into the Hide Matrix where it was originally located. The first to win three BakuCores wins the match.

TCG Rules

Deck building

  • Each deck may only have three copies of the same card.
  • All cards in a deck must be of the same Factions as the player's Bakugan. For example, a team of three Pyrus Bakugan can only have Pyrus cards in that deck.


  • Draw Phase: Both players may draw a card from the top of the deck. Players may pass on drawing.
  • Energy Phase: Both players may then place one card from their hand as Energy. Cards are placed face down vertically.
  • Roll Phase: Both players roll one of their Bakugan. It must be unopened and not sitting on its Character Card at the start of the turn.
  • Battle Phase:
    • The victor is determined the same way as a basic brawl, except if both players' Bakugan open. In this case, players may then spend any Charged Energy they have (turn any horizontal Energy Cards vertically) to activate an Ability Card to modify B-power. The victor is whoever has the highest B-Power, unless another effect that alters the victory condition is in play.
    • The last person to place a BakuCore during the first round, or the one who won the most recent round, has priority when playing cards. Priority shifts when the player passes, either by choice or being unable to activate any more cards.
    • The Energy Cost of activating a card is noted with a lightning bolt and a number, which is how many Energy Cards must be spent to activate it. If the player does not have enough Charged Energy Cards to activate any abilities, they must pass.
    • If there is a tie in B-Power after all this, both players flip over the top card of their deck. The one with the highest Energy Cost is the victor, and both cards are discarded. This step is repeated until a victor is determined or one or both players run out of cards.
    • The victor places their open Bakugan and any collected BakuCore on its character card. The opponent returns their Cores to the Matrix and closes their Bakugan before placing it on its card.
  • Victory Phase: Once a victor is determined, both players can spend Energy to play Ability Cards that modify Damage Points.
    • If the victor has three open Bakugan during the Victory Phase, the damage counters on all three Bakugan, all BakuCores they've collected, and any modification made by Ability Cards are added up. Once the Damage Phase is complete, all three Bakugan are closed and their BakuCores placed back in the matrix.
  • Damage Phase: The opponent discards cards from the top of their deck equal to the number of damage points. The winner is determined when the victor of a battle makes the other player discard while no cards are left in the deck. However, players don't lose during the Draw Phase if they have no cards since drawing is optional.
  • End Phase: All Uncharged (vertical) cards are Charged (turned horizontally). If all three Bakugan are currently on top of their Character Cards, they are removed and can be played again.

TCG Card Types

  • Character Cards: Have a black back and are selected separately from the Deck. They include the B-Power, required BakuCores, and base Damage Points. Some Character Cards also have special abilities, such as gaining more B-Power from specific BakuCores or reducing damage from certain opponent factions.
  • Action: Performs an immediate action, such as increasing B-power or Damage Points. Discarded once used.
  • Hero: Usually have abilities based on prior events of the current turn, such as the number of cards played. Stays on the field for the remainder of the current match.
  • Flip: Can only be activated when flipped from the Deck into the discard pile as damage. The player can choose to add them to the currently resolving chain of effects.
  • Evo: Replaces the Character Card during B-power and Damage calculations. Can only be applied to the Character Card shown in the picture next to the "Evo" label, and only for the same type and Faction of Bakugan (e.g., an Aurelus Evo card with Ultra in its name can only evolve an Aurelus Character Card with Ultra in its name).
  • Modifiers:
    • DoubleStrike: denoted by two small strike symbols; inflicts double damage during the Damage Phase.
    • ShadowStrike: An S with a sword through it means a Bakugan with this effect can't have its B-power or Damage Points reduced.
    • FrostStrike: A 6 pointed snowflake makes any Flip cards cost one additional Energy to activate for each point of FrostStrike applied to the attacking Bakugan.


  • Pyrus: Heavy attacking but very vulnerable to counter-attacks.
  • Aquos: Going with the flow of the battle.
  • Ventus: Controlling the flow of battle.
  • Haos: Uses a strategy where lower-powered Bakugan can win with tricks that grant them victory instead.
  • Darkus: Based on tricking the opponent directly and deception.
  • Aurelus: Replaces Subterra. Has Character Cards with high base B-Power but no abilites, and has no Ability Cards besides Evo forms.
  • Diamond: Not so much a faction on its own as a super-powered form. Diamond Bakugan have high B-Power and can be either Evo forms of regular Bakugan or special rare toys made with transluscent plastic.

BakuCore types

  • Normal Fist: Mostly affects Damage
  • Flaming Fist: Stronger affects on Damage and may include Modifiers.
  • Normal Shield: Mostly affects B-power
  • Magic Shield: Stronger affects on B-power and may include Modifiers.
  • Helix: Can affect either Damage and B-power, or both.
  • Trap: Not a type in and of itself, but can by any of the 5 other types that reduces B-power or Damage. Typically used in the hopes the opponent lands on one.

The game provides examples of

  • Bribing Your Way to Victory:
    • Averted with Bakugan, just trying this in the big leagues will get you a Lowest G-Power Wins gate cards played on you.
    • Not averted with cards, Battle Gear and Traps.
  • CCG Importance Dissonance: Averted, as all Bakugan are (somewhat) useful. While their base G-Power or B-Power may not be great, the right mix of Gate and Ability Cards can turn this to a player's advantage.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Pyrus (Red), Aquos (Blue), Ventus (Green), Subterra (Tan), Haos (Grey) and Darkus (Black)
  • Crossover: There was a short series of packs that pit classic Bakugan against Marvel Comics characters, who were retools of preexisting characters, such as Wolverine being a retool of Taylean.
  • Elemental Powers:
  • Expansion Pack: B1 (Battle Brawlers) was followed by B2 (More Battle Brawlers, but bigger bakugan due to the fact that the originals were choking hazards), B3 (New Vestroia and the first Gundalian Invaders sets), then B4 (New Gundalian Invaders) and finally B5.
  • Loads and Loads of Rules:
    • Initially averted, with the game being intentionally kept simple with two players only having three Bakugan, three Gate Cards, and three Ability cards. But with Traps and Battle Gear the rules get more complicated with timing becoming more important. Then BakuNano, Battle Suits, Combining Bakugan, and other additions that were obviously thought of as cool toy ideas rather than game mechanics were introduced.
    • Largely averted with Battle Planet. The Basic Rules only require three Bakugan, their character cards, and their required BakuCores. Even the TCG Rules simplify things by making any Ability Card playable as Energy and the same energy being usable by all Factions, unlike many Trading Card Games. However, it can appear this way at first due to the official rules having rather thorough explanations of every step of the game.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: The B2, B3 and B4 sets try to fixed the initial uselessness of Ventus. B3 made them too powerful, but B4 seems to have fixed it.
  • Power Creep: In the United States, the top G-Power would jump roughly 200g's or more per year, requiring the purchase of the newer Bakugan to remain competitive. However, this also worked the other way, as strategies that ran on low-power Bakugan also became more effective as the power gap increased.
  • Power Levels: The entire point of the game.
  • Promotional Powerless Piece of Garbage: Gold Fear Ripper who is just shinier than Baku-Flips.
  • Rule of Three:
    • Battle Brawlers: Bakugan, Ability Cards and Gate Cards and the Phases of Battle.
    • Battle Planet: The number of Bakugan each player uses, the number of BakuCores needed to win a basic brawl, and the number of Bakugan that need to be open for a Team Attack.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Battle Gear, BakuNano and Mechtogan.
  • Serious Business: Obviously.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: Sonicanon
  • Some Dexterity Required: Particularly in the Battle Planet toyline but sometimes in the original as well. Some Bakugan require a lot of finesse to properly transform back once opened.
  • Tournament Play: Both in Real Life (Bakucon) and online as an MMORPG (Bakugan Dimensions)

The Mons themselves provide examples of:

  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Webam, a spider, and Mantanoid, a praying mantis.
  • Evolution Powerup: Several Bakugan can reach these by getting a high enough G Power to match the Attack Leles G Power:
    • Drago has a few, accessible only by a specific form (Like Neo to Cyclone)
    • Ingram to Cosmic Ingram
    • Certain Special Evolution can be this to any Bakugan who reaches a certain power level.
    • Diamond Bakugan and Evo Ability Cards in Battle Planet.
  • Badass Cape: Normal Percival
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus:
    • The Dragonoid series from Delta/Neo onwards.
    • The Helios series as well, apart from Viper Helios.
  • Darker and Edgier: Subterra Form Dual Elfin wears a serious expression and horns.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: To form Maxus Helios, you have to plug a cylindrical object coming from another Bakugan into his lower back.
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: In one! Angelo and Diablo Preyas.
  • Kraken and Leviathan:
    • Battle Brawlers: Krakenoid is named after the Kraken but modeled after Leviathan and more common dragons.
    • Battle Planet:Krakelios and Serpenteze, respectively. Both are naturally Aquos Bakugan.
  • Lighter and Softer: Ventus Form Dual Elfin has a goofy expression and is just plain cute.
  • Little Miss Badass/Badass Adorable: The Elfin series
  • Magical Girl: the Elfin series. Minx Elfin takes the cake though.
  • Meaningful Name: Hydranoid, among many many others.
  • Monster Clown: The Brontes series take this and run with it.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Most evolutions, for example Master Ingram and Alpha Percival.