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Video Game / Monster Rancher Battle Card Game

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"The age of Monster Rancher continues...
As monster battles began to grow in popularity, kids soon realized that their smaller size made them unable to handle monsters in the same way as adults, and flocked to a certain game that suited their style. This game was safe and popular, and allowed kids to increase their knowledge of monsters. It is said that from among the game's many players emerged many fine card breeders.
The game was known as Battle Card..."
— Game Boy Color intro

There is a Pokémon card game. There is a Digimon card game. Why would Monster Rancher lose this possibility?

While different from the previously named card games, "Monster Rancher Card Game" managed to capture pretty well the fighting system Monster Rancher games are known for. Of course, there is no breeding simulation included, but the system is still very faithful to the original games.

The rules are the following:

  • Before the match the player has to select 3 monsters. Those are the monsters he is going to use from the begging to the ending of the match.
  • Each player has a 50 cards deck, which can be divided in three types: Offensive cards, Defensive cards and Help cards.
    • Offensive and Defensive cards are designed to a single kind of monster. (with some exceptions)
    • Offensive cards are only used during your turn. To active the offensive card you must have the corresponding monster, and that monster can't be exhausted. After using an Offensive card, the monster gets exhausted.
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    • Defensive cards are only used during your opponent turns, when he/she decides to use a card against you. They work as a defense measure allowing you to do things like "Block" or "Evade".
    • Help cards can be used during your turn, and they don't require a special monster to be activated. For those familiar with Pokémon, they are the Trainer card.
  • The cards mentioned above can only be used by spending your GUTS. The only exception are the 0 GUTS cards, which are usually weaker.
  • At the end of your turn, you have a GUTS step, in which you can discard cards. For each card discarded, you gain 1 GUTS.
  • At the beginning of your turn, you draw as many cards you need until you have 5 cards in your hand.
  • The match ends when one trainers' three monsters are defeated (most likely by offensive cards) or one trainer is decked out.

Sadly, the hard copies of the game never made it out of Japan. So far, only two games exist: Monster Rancher Battle Card Game for the Game Boy and Monster Rancher Battle Card Game Episode II for the PlayStation. Though a Monster Rancher CCG was released, it used a different system altogether and had more to do with the anime than the games.

Exploration and story progress in the former is very similar to the Game Boy Pokémon Trading Card Game for the Game Boy Color, while the latter is more like the original Monster Rancher games, with a calendar and scheduled fights.

The Game Boy game also has gained some notoriety for its infamous awful translation.

This game provides examples of:

  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: Some opponents in Episode II forego defense cards completely in favor of heavy attacks every other turn. In spite of this strategy's simplicity, it works surprisingly well.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Strong attacks require lots of GUTS, so that means you have to discard many cards in order for them to work and avoid using other cards since they would consume your GUTS. Using a couple of high-cost cards is risky since you can get decked out and have to be open to your enemies' attacks. Defensive cards generally cost 1 or 2 GUTS at the most, so if your opponent happens to have a card to evade you, they spend ~2 cards to negate ~5 of yours.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: The Game Boy game is infamous for this. It's harder to find properly translated lines.
  • Boring, but Practical: Low GUTS attacks. You can use plenty of them to kill one monster. Then, 3 vs 2 is a lot easier to win. Just keep spamming them.
  • Bonus Boss: The monsters in the Paradise of Monsters have mixed-breed cards, which use one monster's attack cards and another card's defense cards. Big Blue, a Golem/Tiger, can now dodge everything while hitting very hard.
  • But Thou Must!: After completing the Game Boy game for the first time, you can decline Tim's offer to start over and continue collecting cards, but there's absolutely nothing else that can be done by that point.
  • Cherry Tapping: Much like the main series, getting a lot of small hits in is generally a better strategy than saving up for a large hit, as it only takes one card to dodge an attack.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard:
    • The opponent will often go after the monster with no defense cards, suggesting it can see the player's cards. This is an otherwise illegal move without Suezo's "Scouting" card.
    • The Descendents in the Game Boy game have mixed-breed monsters, which you can't get until much later. The very last Monster you get will be Big Blue, a Golem/Tiger.
  • Continuity Cameo: Practically everyone from the first two main games appear as opponents in Episode II, along with plenty of new faces.
  • Continuity Nod: One of the items in the Game Boy game is a pair of skates, Genki's weapon of choice in the anime.
  • Crippling Overspecialization:
    • Golem, who has plentiful attack cards, no Dodge cards, and no way to defend against INT attacks.
    • In the Game Boy game, Gali's techniques are too costly to be of much use; even his dodging takes 3 GUTs.
  • Distressed Damsel: Colt is trapped in the Paradise of Monsters, and it's up to the player to rescue her.
  • Escort Mission: In the GB game, there are sidequests where you have to find someone in a dungeon and bring them back to the exit.
  • Exact Words: Isabella of the Blue Wolves uses this when you first duel her. After playing a game with her Monster Card Mew, she says that she didn't say she'd be betting the card on the duel. She tries to pull this again in your second duel with her, but the other members tell her to give it up.
  • Expy: Cue, for Colt. She even dislikes her full name, Curie.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: If you don't have all of the Monster Cards before the mandatory Phoenix Cup, even if you win in every fight Pabs will lose against the final opponent, forcing you to come back when you do get all of the Monster Cards.
  • Fragile Speedster: Pixie, Hare, and Tiger have only 6 health but a lot of dodging cards.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: In the Game Boy game, Hare's Computing skill crashes the game if it's the only card in the hand. Using it requires you to discard a card, so the game hangs endlessly.
  • Glass Cannon: Mew has only 6 health, but has powerful attacks.
  • Gradual Grinder:
    • The leader of the BCB has a Pixie with every dodge card, making hitting him at all much harder than it should be.
    • Plants are this sort of Monster. They have a lot of HP and their strategy is based around making opponents lose GUTs.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: The Game Boy game takes place in one. After Final Boss Tim is defeated, he sends the player on a mission to collect all the cards, a task that necessitates time travel to exhaust all possibilities.
  • Guide Dang It!: There is absolutely nothing to indicate that there's anything after getting the Master Rank in GB. You have to fight Holly/Colt once more to unlock The Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
  • I Choose to Stay: Colt chooses to stay in the Paradise of Monsters for a while so she can learn from them more and play cards.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: Mocchi and Suezo have 7 health and well-rounded attacks and defense cards.
  • Kid-Appeal Character: Alice and Toy are young kids who play Battle Card as well.
  • Last Lousy Point: Unlocking Big Blue in the GBC game and Moo in the PS1 game requires you to get 1 of every other card first, including mixed-breed monsters.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Zilla and Dragon have 10 health and many powerful attack cards.
  • MacGuffin: The Phoenix card, only obtainable after you have every other Monster Card. It only has 4 HP, the lowest in the game.
  • Mighty Glacier: Golem, who has no dodge cards at all and can only block POW moves.
  • Mirror Match: Miller and Ellie both use your own decks against you. You can win easily by removing all the attack cards and stalling til they deck out.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Juras, the BCB drummer. He even gets a lovingly detailed portrait of his killer abs.
  • No Final Boss for You: When completing the Game Boy game after the first playthrough, the game will skip right over Tim's battle and start over once again.
  • Oddball in the Series: A Monster Rancher game that has no simulation.
  • Player Personality Quiz: Both games have a quiz that determines your starting Monsters and deck.
  • Precocious Crush: Ellie has a really obvious crush on the player.
  • Roguelike: Dungeons in the Game Boy game play out like this. Pathways are randomly-generated, and treasure is guarded by invisible monsters. You can see the monsters with an item.
  • Schrödinger's Cast: If you pick the boy character in the GB game, you occasionally run into Holly. If you pick the girl, you run into Colt.
  • She's a Man in Japan: Penny became male in the English release due to her crush on the female Cocochino, though the translation does hint at the original version with both characters asking you not to tell anyone.
  • Stone Wall: Most monsters with 10 HP, such as Zilla, Dragon, and Plant.
  • Squishy Wizard: Pixie, but man can she dodge things.
  • A Tragedy of Impulsiveness: The entire story in Episode II could have been avoided if Colt had held onto the plate, which would enable her to teleport back.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Juras, the BCB drummer, who uses a team of Zilla, Golem, and Monol. He teaches players that dodging is a necessity, as his cards have high GUT requirements but very heavy attacks. His team is also made up of Stone Walls, so Cherry Tapping is less effective than it would be.
  • You Will Not Evade Me: Some attacks cannot be blocked, while others cannot be dodged.


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