Each player takes control of a generic character, with the available characters representign four of MapleStory's classes: Warrior, Magician, Thief, and Bowman (there are no Pirate character cards). You fight against other generic characters to earn Experience Points and the game's cash equivalent, which are used to level up and buy new cards, respectively. When you play the game for the first time, you get to choose whether you want a Warrior/Magician, Warrior/Thief, or Warrior/Bowman deck; which one you choose effects which cards are in your starting deck and which two basic character cards you get (Sherman comes with all three choices; Magician gives you Maya, Thief gives you Ivan, and Bowman gives you Nixie).
Adding depth not in most CCGs, you can to sacrifice a card from your hand at the start of each turn to "level up", increasing your level by 10 and giving you another ability. Each card (apart from character cards) has two sections of text: one in the middle of the card, and one on the bottom. The upper one is the effect when the card is used normally, while the lower one is the ability you gain when you use the card to level up; leveling up places the card used to level up beneath your character card and every other card you've already used to level up, so that only the ability can be seen. To actually use the ability, however, you have to meet certain requirements in addition to leveling up with the card. If it has a 50 and three red gems to left of the ability, for example, you have to have reached level 50 (used five cards to level up), and at least three of the cards used to level up need to be red cards. To be able to use any cards, you need to level up and have the right abilities; you even need to level up once or twice (depending on your character) to be able to draw a card. Most of your character abilities can be used once per turn, going from top to bottom; abilities which have a picture of a lightning bolt instead of having requirements, however, can only be used on the turn they're played. Your level is equal to ten times the number of cards below your character card; even cards with single-use abilities increase your level, and remain below your character for the rest of the game. (Confused yet?) This adds another level of strategy not found in other CCGs.
In addition to the four different classes, cards can also have one of four different types. There are Monster cards, Tactics (magic and special attacks), Items (equipment), and the aforementioned character cards (which can't be used in decks, and of which you can only have one in use at a time; you can't change your character card during a match). In addition, each card has its own level, which is used in conjunction with your abilities to determine which cards you can use during each turn; also, to play a card of a certain colour, you have to have used at least one card of the same colour to level up.
The "Spawn" ability lets you summon monsters, "Think Fast" lets you use tactics, "Equip" lets you use items, and "Sneak" (an ability found on some Thief cards) lets you play any card, as long as you have one ability (or "gem") of the same colour as it under your character and the Sneak ability's level is high enough. Also, in addition to the ability's name, it usually includes a number (or X), which determines which of the applicable card type can be used via that ability. Spawn 30, for example, only allows you to summon monsters level 30 and below, while Spawn 120 lets you summon monsters level 120 and below; if an ability has an X instead of a number, that means you can play cards whose level is equal to or below your level (a level 30 character with Think Fast X can play level 30 or below Tactics, for example).
The eight character cards available are the Warriors Sherman (a Swordsman) and Starblade (a Fighter), the Magicians Maya (a Magician) and Stormwind (an Ice/Lightning Mage), the Thieves Ivan (a Rogue) and Nightclaw (a Bandit), and the Bowmen Nixie (an Archer) and Skyhawk (a Sniper); the first is the basic character card of that class, while the second is a rare, stronger card. Each character card has a different base HP and different abilities, and each of the four classes has a different specialty. Everyone has Quest (your basic card draw) and two other abilities, one of which does damage and one of which is related to your class' specialty: Warriors have high health and specialise in Spawning monsters, Magicians have low health and specialise in "Tactics" (White Magic, Black Magic, and skills), Thieves have above-average health and specialise in equipment, and Bowmen have below-average health and specialise in damage-dealing character abilities.
Wiki Magic, please.
This spinoff provides examples of:
- Collectible Card Game
- Colour Coded Elements: Warrior cards are blue, Magician cards are red, Thief cards are black, and Bowman cards are green.
- Eyepatch of Power: Ivan
- Fighter, Mage, Thief: And Bowman. See the above and Player Character.
- Glass Cannon: some monsters have high attack but low HP, allowing them to be easily taken out.
- Healing Potion: The single-use healing character ability "Drink Potion" heals you by an amount equal to your level after the card is played; due to this, the 10 levels gained from using the card to level up are included in the amount of health restored.
- Magikarp Power: The Krappy monster has 60 attack and 30 HP, but can't attack on the turn it's played. If it can survive to your next turn, you can get off a powerful attack with it, but it'll likely die quickly. It even looks a little like a Magikarp!
- Player Character: You can choose from eight character cards, two per class, to act as your character; the four classes available are Warrior, Magician, Thief, and Bowman, with only the Pirate class unavailable. This determines your starting HP and first three abilities.
- Rain of Arrows: The Bowman-class Tactic card "Rain of Arrows", natch!
- "Having fun is Serious Business" is the game's tag line
- Squishy Wizard: Maya and Stormwind
- Status Buff: the Magician-type Tactic card "Meditation" increases the damage done by your next damage-dealing character ability or monster attack by 40. If used to level up, its character ability "Assist" acts as a permanent Status Buff which increases the damage done by the next damaging character ability below it or the next monster attack by 10.
- Summon Magic (called "Spawning"), with no chance of turning against you.