You guys remember how I made a blog post about a card game called Duel Masters and how Hasbro has rebranded it as "Kaijudo" for some reason and now has a TV show starring some kid with Shego's lips? Well, I went to my local hobby store this morning and bought myself the special pack they put out for the game to see what it's like. My impression is... mixed. While I am pleased that the shield system and other rules appear to be completely intact, there are still a few things I am not clear on and a couple of other things that bug me through my nostalgia goggles as a Duel Masters player.
Each one has a different half-deck, with the fire box holding a Fire/Nature deck and the Dark box holding a Darkness/Water deck.
I am a little peeved that there aren't any Light cards in here, since they were my favorites in Duel Masters. I wouldn't have a problem if it wasn't for the fact that they were the only tribe left out. Yellow just can't seem to catch a break.
Speaking of websites, there is also a code card in each box that supposedly unlocks something on there with a code which I will try later.
"Karak Necklace", which referenced an old Twix commercial). Might we see that sort of humor in Kaijudo?
There is one confusing thing, though. "Banish" is the new term for "Destroy" when a card is sent to the graveyard, as opposed to removed from play like in Magic.
But now we get into the things that I as a Duel Masters player find iffy. First of all, that nice little circle that marked Mana is gone for reasons unknown. There is still a big, empty spot where it could go and they were handy to help indicate that they were resources, similar to how the naming of every ability helps clarify things.
Also, the names seem to have been De-awesomeized a little. I keep hearing this character get called "Tatsurion, The Unchained", but in the game he's just "Tatsurion". Kind of a waste not awesomizing your main character's card title in a series with such enigmatic names as "The Immortal Baron Vorg" and "Hanusa, Radiance Elemental".
Another one is a card formerly called "Fire-Sweeper Burning Hellion" which one could get in every starter deck and also in foil form on the Duel Masters tour. The otherwise intact card has the more blah name "Pyro Trooper". Then again, this is a mild case; I can understand parents wouldn't want their own little hellions running around with cards sporting that kind of language. As long as they bring back "Super-Explosive Volcanodon" completely intact, name and all, I won't fret about it.
What I fret about is the juggling of names and abilities between cards. For example, "King Nautilus", the four-star holo in the Darkness/Water deck, is the same as the Duel Masters version in name alone; its cost, power and effect are all different. Not even its artwork is the same. King Ponitas has gotten a similar treatment, losing its fantastic deck-control ability in favor of becoming unblockable.
"Deadly Fighter Braid Claw" seems to have given up its mantle to something called "Blaze Belcher", the card with the "Hungry!" ability. In the case of Flametropus, it now has the cost, power and effect of Galsaur for some reason.
But by far the worst thing to happen in this card juggling is...
Look at what they did to poor Gatling Skyterror! What was once a cost 7, 7000 power double breaker that could attack untapped creatures is now a simple cost 3, pow 3000 mook. Shobu in the original series got so excited when he pulled the original Skyterror from a booster pack and now it has been reduced to such mediocrity...
Yes, they brought back some Duel Masters cards, but they have changed a lot of them, from the name to the power to the ability to the cost (Bronze Arm Tribe and Terror Pit have gotten a bump in cost), few have come through unchanged in some way. Forgive me for saying this, but smushing around old favorites like Gatling Skyterror or King Ponitas into inferior models doesn't seem like the best way to invite Duel Masters fans into Kaijudo; It makes the game seem like it wasn't all that careful with its legacy. My advice would be that, if they bring back any more older cards, unless they are the same or roughly the same (A bump in cost on a really good card like Aqua Hulcus isn't bad, changing the name is fine, too, as some made no sense) then just don't. There may not be many as many Duel Masters fans out there as Yugioh or Magic, but if there's one thing I know as a reviewer, it's that angry minority groups are often very loud. Duel Masters fans are a possible instant fanbase to this game, and I'd say you don't want to make them angry.
However, I noticed a lack of deck control and King Ponitas losing his deck control ability makes me worry that they might have taken deck control out of the game. Deck control is an important element in every successful game and Duel Masters certainly had it. The threat of its removal is a bit worrying.
The only redesign I have a real concern about is the lack of a mana spot on the base of each card as they actually helped the flow of the game and made it clear how much mana each card could generate. Like the ability text, it was a helpful reminder of what was going on.
Otherwise, the card game is a familiar and otherwise unchanged adaptation of the original; no silly additional rules or anything like that. Bring in a couple of the elements introduced later in Duel Masters, like Evolutions and Shield Repair, and we're in business.
Oh, and a Light-Civilization starter deck to make up for the lack of them here.
Well, now I gotta tackle the TV show and codes. The hobby store I bought these at is quite picky in what they will pick up and carry and the owner told me he was shown an episode and thought it wasn't bad, so I'll take a look at it. I'll also see what the codes reveal.
Until next time.