Disclaimer: Firstly I just want to say I am inexperienced in the recent versions of the game and am definitely not an expert nor professional YGO gamer that is why I wanted to write this piece on the game for others like me (a.k.a. YGO TCG Noobs).
I remember back in 2004 when the animated TV series first aired on SABC, the popularity of the show grew exponentially in a few months everyone had the cards and were playing (you know a show is popular when they start selling pirated cards and random merchandise at the intersections) even though the market was flooded with badly spelt cheap knock-offs, kids were still spending up to R300 on a deck. Besides wanting to collect the cards the storyline of the TV show was gripping, every episode introduced new cards and players. Each player had a style to the way they arranged their deck (e.g. mostly spell cards or mainly magic monsters).
The TV show was basically about Yugi, a kid who could hear voices of a pharaoh in his head and an even crazier hairstyle, yeah whenever he did something weird… pharaoh did it. After deciding not to seek psychiatric help from the local Japanese mental hospital, he embraces the spirit within him after unlocking the millennium puzzle and discovers a world where each player uses cards to “duel” each other in a mock battle of fantasy “monsters”.
He also has a side called Dark Yugi… once again this child is not suffering from mental illness. Whenever Yugi or one of his friends is threatened by those with darkness in their hearts, this “Dark Yugi” shows himself and challenges them to dangerous Shadow Games which reveals the true nature of someone’s heart, the losers of these contests often being subjected to a dark punishment called a Penalty Game. Okay… on a lighter less demonic note there’s also the early card game, most of you will remember these monster summoning cards Blue-Eyes White Dragon, the God cards and Yugi’s top monster at the time, Exodia which was such a mission to collect as you needed 5 cards/ body parts.
The series actually started in 1998 but only reached our shores in 2004. Before the TV. series was a Japanese manga and anime series about gaming created by Kazuki Takahashi (Studio Dice), and the inspiration for the trading card game of the same title originally was to violent and was toned down for western audiences. It was serialised in Shueisha’s Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine between September 30, 1996 and March 8, 2004. Most South African anime fans really have the SABC to thank for the copious amounts of anime even though it was dubbed, still from 1990 – 2009 the SABC has supplied us with a lot of anime, not sure if these series were the cheapest to license for screening on local television or if there are staff at the SABC who really love anime and wanted to spread the joy by passing these shows off under kids cartoons. Well thank you SABC as this has spawn a formidable fan base in S.A , the game is still carrying on today spurred on by updated spin-offs of the original TV show and game such as:
After the success of Yu-Gi-Oh both on television and merchandise other genres such as duel masters, beyblade, and bakugan jumped on the band wagon with this excellent marketing strategy flogging parents who had to buy in early at the height of its popularity and before puberty and the craze dies down, only the original Yu-Gi-Oh has stood the test of time and managed to stay popular, this game has definitely earned a place in the SA tabletop gaming industry, the game even had an awesome looking stand at this year’s rAge expo. I find it hard to believe there’s even a forbidden list/ blacklist of cards. Well Konami is responsible for the production of the cards. First the OCG (Japanese version) gets their cards and months later the TCG (other global regions) gets an English version. So cards are exclusive only for OCG or TCG. They really just make up whatever they want. Then it is released for players to use. When they see a trend been set. Example, they released a card called “Change of Heart”, years ago. It states that you can take control of your opponent’s monster for a turn. Everyone had 3 of these cards in their deck and it was a game changer because one would wait for the opponent to summon his/her strongest monster then take the “Change of Heart” card and attack. Most of the time it’s likely you would win the game with this strategy and so it was semi limited to two cards per deck. As it was still too strong it got limited to 1 per deck and now its forbidden so you can’t use it in tournaments at all. Now in TCG and OCG there are 3 formats. Advanced for tournaments and traditional so the game is easier and less cards are forbidden so it’s more about luck and casual where anything goes. Very basically you get 8000 life points and then summon monsters to attack, the game varies with the use of spell, trap and fusion cards. Obviously once your life is zero you then lose, Game over.
I spoke to ArÉ van Zyl (event/tournament administrator) Staff member of local retailer Outer Limits in Pretoria and a table top gamer who mentioned the game is constantly growing in popularity especially when new animated shows air on TV. It seems the show really compliments the trading card game and breathes new life into it every few years. ArÉ is also involved in an annual contest called the Battle City Tournament. Not only do they sell a lot of decks but the cards itself become sought after based on their rarity, the most expensive card he’s seen sold online was Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack for the rand equivalent of R1400. He says the average ages of his Yu-Gi-Oh TCG customers range from 13 to 30 years. Anyone looking for advice on deck selection and contest are welcome to contact him via the Facebook site. The average starter deck is R 150 with 40 cards which includes a rule book, there are also booster packs with 9 cards inside, these cost R50 but is totally worth it as these contain the more sought after cards.
Registration and deck checks: 8 – 9am
Start of Play: 9am
Cost: R 100 per person
Location: Outer Limits Pta, 1115 Burnett Street, Hatfield, Hatfield square, Shop 4a. Pretoria.
First 50 pre-registration will receive 1 x 2012 Premium Collection Tin for participation.
Other prizes: Booster prizes will be added to the prize pool based on participation. Playmats, carry cases and other promotional prizes will also be up for grabs. The winner will also receive a 2013 Battle City Tournament Champion Trophy.
I also interviewed a local collector and big fan of the both game and TV show to get some more insight. Q and A with Liam Reddy (YGO Collector/Player):
1. When did you start collecting and what made you start collecting?
I first started collecting Yu-Gi-Oh! Cards when I was at the tender age of 6, like most kids at that age I was very easily influenced by whatever I saw on TV. I remember watching the first season of Yugiyoh or back then we commonly referred to it as duel monsters, I fell in love with the iconic monster called “The Blue-Eyes White Dragon” its majestic, ferocious and ruthless power made me feel that if I had that card I would be the greatest duelist, just like Yugi (the main protagonist in the TV animation). I was in quite the predicament as a 6 year old because I did not know who to choose between Yugi and Kaiba (the main antagonist in the animated series) eventually I stuck on the path with the Blue-eyes; Kaiba. Ever since that fateful day if you will, I have never stopped collecting Yugiyoh cards.
2. Do you like the animated TV show as well, and does it supplement what is going on in the direction of the board game?
Yugioh is more of a strategic card game, rather than a board game. Yes I do like the Yugioh animated series a lot. Starting from the original series up until Yugioh GX after that the series started to become really childish, I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve aged or if the producers saw a new target market in the next generation of duelists. However the Anime series introduced me to the card game and it truly does co-inside with the actual game. The strategy behind the game gives you a somewhat “thrill” of not knowing what to expect and the outcome of the duel is truly within “The heart of the cards”.
3. How popular would you say this game is in South Africa?
The game has not really been that popular after 2007 because people stopped playing Yugioh when the South African broadcasting commission (SABC) stopped airing the anime. However there is a select few of us die hard Yugioh fans who do exist in this TCG world of dominance lead by magic and Pokémon. This makes me happy because Yugioh truly was the original card game. I am glad to say that in Durban there is quite a few of us fans who meet on a weekly basis to indulge ourselves in our guilty pleasure that is Yugioh. We meet and have tourneys which have a prize of a booster pack of the latest set for each round you make it through. This satisfies us and keeps us entertained yet also prepares us for any upcoming official tournaments. The Yugioh community in Durban does seem to be expanding vastly and this is good news because it means more competition.
4. What is your favorite card or cards and why?
My favorite cards are probably The Blue-Eyes White Dragons and their support cards because they exert complete dominance over your opponent. I have 3 Ghost rare BEWD which are the highest rarities of the card available to the public. Second to that it has to be the mighty Stardust Dragon.
5. Where do shop for most of you cards in your collection?
For a while Durban hasn’t had a dedicated cards shop, other than toy r us, but even then they only sold a booster box or 2. Then came along “The Unseen Shoppe” they opened in 2011 and have been providing the Yu-Gi-Oh community with the latest card sets and decks. I also do a lot of shopping online at www.yugiohmint.com I find this site really reliable and their shipping is faster than most sites, their prices are also pretty reasonable.
6. How much would you estimate your collection worth and what other merchandise would you like collecting from the franchise?
My collection. I have been collecting Yugioh cards ever since I was a young kid so I have cards in my inventory that date back to the original Yugioh series right up to the latest card set. I have many extremely rare and hard to come by cards including a limited edition short print of Dark magician girl. Due to the extensive inventory and value of my cards I can confidently estimate my collection to be R13000 but sentimentally priceless! I do have other ygo merchandise such as sleeves for the cards, deck boxes, card folders, ygo collectible TV cards and monster action figures.
7. What other card based games do you collect?
I’ve always been biased towards ygo but recently my younger brother got me into the tcg- Pokemon and I must admit, it’s quite fun and easy to play.
8. Do you also play these games electronically on consoles or online?
I play Yugioh online on Dueling network. It’s a great alternative to playing the usual crowd because you connect with random people from around the world to duel and you never know what to expect.
9. What tips would you advise other collectors interested in Yugiyoh on maintenance of deck, deck selection and tournaments?
When it comes to the maintenance of your deck I suggest using ultra-pro card sleeves, they’re extremely durable and also look really nice. Always choose tourney’s you know you stand a chance in and give it your all and make sure you run a versatile deck.
10. What is the most valuable card/s in Yugiyoh based on how rare and cost?
Some of my most valuable cards are: Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack, Number 11: Big Eye, Stardust Dragon, Black-Rose Dragon, Star, Scrap Dragon and Thought Ruler Archfiend.
11. What is the most power attack card in Yugiyoh?
It’s not about the power of a card, but more its effect than anything but the most powerful card is Malefic Truth Dragon with an ATK of 5000 and DEF of 5000.
12. What is the weirdest/strangest card in Yugiyoh?
For me Jinzo has to be the weirdest because of the way he looks and the fact that he looks like some evil doctor who tortures his victims.
Anyone who likes tabletop gaming, card based dueling should look at Yu-Gi-Oh TCG, Guiness Book of records has rated it The best-selling trading card game (Yu-Gi-Oh! by Konami Digital Entertainment Co., Ltd. (Japan)), which has sold 25,175,567,833 cards globally since 1999 as of 31 March 2011. There are also numerous South African Facebook pages with 1000’s of followers either into the cosplay, TV show, card game or online game.
Hopefully I peaked your curiosity to give it a try and not to be too intimidated by advanced players any player can be taken down with simple intuition and luck, it’s rare to find such success in live gaming genre in an era of online gaming. I hear there is going to be Yu-Gi-Oh! range released on Heroclix.
Special thanks to Teron Morgan, ArÉ van Zyl and Liam Reddy
Information used in article sourced from:
Wikipedia.com and guinnessworldrecords.com
http://yugiohprices.com/top_50 eBay Guides but updated several times at YuGiOhCardGuide.com.http://outerlimitspta.co.za/?p=262
Picture of rAge stand: