|Monster Rancher Battle Card|
|Release date(s)||December 23, 1999|
|Game modes||Single player|
|Platform(s)||Game Boy Color|
Monster Rancher Battle Card (モンスターファームバトルカードGB?) is a handheld game released in North America on December 23, 1999, for the Nintendo Game Boy Color system. It is the first game in Tecmo's Monster Rancher Battle Card series, featuring a card game incorporating the popular characters from the Monster Rancher series. It was followed by Monster Rancher Battle Card: Episode II for the Sony PlayStation entertainment system which featured additional monsters.
In the beginning, you must choose a male or female character (Alf or Aya) and take a quiz. The answers will determine which team of three monster cards you shall recieve- the Power, Miracle, or Speed team. The object of the game henceforth is to battle your way through various temples to earn more Attack cards and Item/Effect cards. If you defeat the boss at the end of each temple, you recieve a disk to unlock at the Shrine back in town to recieve a new Monster card.
In battle, there will always be 3 monster cards on each side, and you are allowed 50 cards in your deck. The object of the battle is to defeat all of your enemy's monster cards before the enemy can defeat yours. Each monster card has different HP, depending on the monster. Attack cards are powered by Guts- the more powerful the attack, the more Guts it uses. In each turn you must have 5 cards in your hand. The more cards you discard at the end of the turn, the more Guts you will recieve for the next turn. Defense cards exist, in which your monster softens the attack power of the opponent's move, or dodges it completely. Item cards can make attacks more powerful, restore life, etc. Since you are allowed only 50 cards in your deck, you must choose Attack/Defense cards for each monster evenly, and Item and Effect cards wisely.
As you progress through the game, you can increase your Breeder level, making more cards and Temples available. At the league, you can wager cards in battle- the more rare the card you wager, the better your prize will be. In certain areas you can also trade items for cards- the more rare the item, the better the card. You will want to obtain as many different types of cards you can, and progressively make your deck better and better.
At some point in the game you can combine monster cards- for example, if you combined a Suezo and a Dino to make Melon Suezo, the new Melon Suezo could use both Suezo and Dino Attack cards.
Although the Monster Rancher series is known for the ability to import game content via CDs, Monster Rancher Battle Card has no equivalent functionality. Instead, the player takes a short "personality test" to determine his starting deck and then can win additional cards by defeating opponents as well as new monster cards by defeating dungeon bosses. While a code system is also in place, only a select few cards catering to a single monster along with some general support can be obtained through this method.
Each player's deck consists of three monster cards and an additional fifty attack/defense/support cards. Monster cards start in play, have HP, and a type (either ground or air). Attack are always specific to one monster breed, defense cards can be specific to one monster breed, and support cards. To use these cards, a player usually has to pay an activation cost in the form of a resource called "guts".
The actual card game with both players, each with their three monsters on the field, flipping a coin to determine which player has the choice of going first or second. Each player then draws five cards. A player's turn consists of (in the following order):
A) A draw phase: The active player draws until he has five cards in hand)
B) A general phase: The active player can attack or use support cards. At this time the defending player can use defense cards to counter an opponent's attack)
C) The discard phase: The active player can discard any number of cards from their hand. Those discarded cards become "guts", which can be used to pay for attacks.
A monster is killed when its HP reaches 0. A player loses when they have no monsters remaining or when they are unable to draw a card.
The game consists of a character traveling to dungeons to obtain sacred stones needed to generate new monster cards and fighting ranked battles to increase their level to unlock new dungeons. Each dungeon contains multiple randomly generated floors, invisible guardians that automatically challenge the player, normal NPCs that the player can challenge, and a boss. After achieving the maximum rank and completing all the dungeons, a new dungeon is discovered and after defeating its boss a player has the option of starting a new game+ during which his normal deck is locked until he reaches the final dungeon. There's no actual story or objectives beyond unlocking content.
The three starting decks are as follows:
Golem- Absurdly powerful monster with incredibly powerful attacks, which use up a lot of Guts.
Pixie- Fairly weak attacks, but have excellent effects such as depleting foe's Guts, attacking all monsters, cannot dodge, etc. Also, the fact that Pixie hovers makes her able to dodge certain attacks.
Naga- Powerful monster with many specialty attacks.
Tiger- An all-around monster who has the ability to combine some attacks.
Gali- Fairly weak attacks but with useful effects.
Suezo- Suezo is the master of attacks that sap enemy's Guts.
Hare- Has powerful attacks but can backfire if dodged.
Dino- Like Hare, its attacks are powerful, but risky.
Mocchi- Very weak attacks, but with various effects.