The X-Men Trading Card Game was a Collectible Card Game released in 2000 as part of the merchandizing blitz coinciding with the release of the highly successful X-Men movie. It was a joint venture between Marvel Comics, Wizards of the Coast (who also did Magic: The Gathering) and 20th Century Fox.
In terms of gameplay, one player played as the X-Men, and the other played as the villains. Point values for individual characters were based on their mutant powers, hit points and ratings in three areas (fighting, energy and "X-factor"). "Lightning" and power-up cards could be used to prevent damage and increasing the stats of characters. The object was to defeat two members of the other player's team. Mission cards were used to launch attacks against an opponent's characters, and dice (included) were rolled to determine the amount of damage.
Marvel provided the art for the cards and promotional material, while Wizards obviously handled the rules and game-playing system, and Fox had the final say on what the characters looked like. Since the game was based on the movie, the characters would all appear in card art as they did in the film. This also went for characters yet to be introduced into the X-Men movie universe; Marvel artists designed "movie" versions of them exclusively for the game.
The initial promotional cards for the game featured no artwork at all, but merely the movie actors posing in their costumes. The actual game was first released as a two-player starter set featuring a play mat, cards of all the X-Men and Magneto's Mutant Brotherhood in the first films, and a one-issue tie-in comic book, X-Men: The Movie Special, which served as a sequel to the film (and was later rendered non-canon by the released of X2: X-Men United). Booster packs followed, but neither they nor the starter set sold very well.
Provides examples of:
- Adaptational Attractiveness: While nobody would call Famke Janssen, Halle Berry and Anna Paquin "unattractive," Marvel's art for their character cards definitely, uh, turns up the sex appeal. With Jean and Storm, the tops of their uniforms are unzipped to show some cleavage, and while Rogue is still fully covered, her skin-tight X-Man outfit, which she didn't wear in the film, really accentuates her attributes, and she's been made considerably, uh, bustier.
- Adaptation Name Change: Mr. Sinister is just called "Sinister," without the "Mister."
- Atop a Mountain of Corpses: As per his Adaptational Badass depiction in the film, Toad's character card art depicts him sitting on a big pile of human (or mutant) skulls.
- Badass Longcoat: Sinister is shown wearing one on his card instead of his usual outfit, along with a Classy Cane.
- BFG: The mutant depicted on the "Crossfire" card art wields an enormous gun on his card art.
- The Brute: Sabretooth and Juggernaut. Sabretooth is portrated as stronger than Juggnernaut, with a fighting power of 9 vs. Juggernaut's 8, but both have 10 HP.
- Consulting Mister Puppet: On his card, Mojo has finger puppets of the X-Men. He's eating the Professor X one, grinning his Slasher Smile.
- Enemy Rising Behind: The "Blood Feud" mission card shows Wolverine doing what he does best (i.e. breaking stuff), unaware that Magneto is rising up behind him in the background and preparing to attack him.
- Feelies: As noted, the starter set came with a unique comic book, X-Men: The Movie Special.
- Humongous Mecha: The Sentinels, although they look nothing like they did in any previous incarnations, nor even how the movies would eventually portray them.
- Jack-of-All-Stats: Psylocke, insofar as one can be this with "1" in every stat, but she's one of the most evenly matched characters nevertheless.
- Ms. Fanservice: Jean Grey, who is posed on her card art like she's in a shampoo commercial; a sexy pose and pouty expression while she runs her fingers through her hair, and the top of her outfit unzipped almost to her belly button.
- Muscles Are Meaningless: Toad, despite his small size in comparison to his larger Brotherhood comrades, has a pretty impressive fighting power of 7. Weak compared to Sabretooth's 9 and Juggernaut's 8, but still higher than Wolverine's 4. And he's got 10 HP!
- Reaching Towards the Audience: Magneto's pose on his character card depicts him reaching with one hand, as though in an attempt to reach out of the card and grab the player.
- Second Person Attack: Angel's card art depicts him flying forwards with his fist filling the picture. May also overlap with Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You.
- Toyless Toyline Character: While it's a game and not toyline, the Acolytes definitely count. They were featured in prominent roles as enemies in the comic book released with the starter set, but were never made into cards. They were going to be, but the game's Troubled Production ensured the expansion set they were intended for was never released. The end result is a trio of villains featured in the game's tie-in material, but not the game itself. See What Could Have Been and Troubled Production.
- Unskilled, but Strong: Wolverine has 0 energy, but 4 fighting power and 9-10 HP depending on the card.
- Weak, but Skilled: Jean. She has a fighting power of 0 but a 3 energy, compared to Wolverine's 4 fighting and 0 energy. Despite being physically weak, she has 8 HP.
- Likewise, Professor X also has a 0 fighting power but a 2 energy. His X-factor is higher than Jean's, too (5 vs. 1). His regular card has HP of 9, though, making him weaker than Magneto but just as tough as Wolverine. His holo foil card is slightly tougher, with 10 HP, identical to Magneto.
- Weapon of Mass Destruction: A few of the villain side's attack cards involve these. Apparently, because Magneto created the "mutant-making machine" in the movie, Wizards (or Marvel or whoever) decided that his "thing" in the card game would be creating evil machines and robots and such.