Free Realms Trading Card Game How-To Guide

Danny "Ralsu" Gourley has what could be called an addictive personality. He resisted trying trading card games (TCGs) for years before finally succumbing to the madness. Now he's fallen in love with the TCG featured in Sony Online Entertainment's Free Realms. He's written a guide to help aspiring Card Duelists:

Trick cards are the magic powers of the TCG, which you play during the Go phase or when your opponent attacks you at the cost of Stars generated from your Inventory.

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You'll find
Ari's camp  just between the hills west of Crossroads.

Just as I did with MMO, I resisted entry into the world of
collectible trading card games (TCGs) because I feared
how much money I would spend when I inevitably became addicted. When I
finally gave Magic: The Gathering a go, my fears turned into reality.
The rest is history, but I have been hooked onTCGs ever since. The style="font-style: italic;">Free Realms TCG
duplicates
a tried and tested formula of card battles. You'll enjoy looking at the
art on your cards and reading the witty captions. You'll feel the
tension as you try to come back from a deficit to win. You can play a
digital version of the TCG in the gameor with actual cards in your
home.

Your journey as a Card Duelist in the href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/287">Free
Realms MMO begins by locating Ari the Fish in the hills
due west of the Sanctuary warpstone. She gives you the quest "Pick a
Card, any
Card," which sends you to visit href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/67512" target="_blank">Sam
Potts in Sanctuary to start your
training. Make sure Ari's quest is the active one in your tracker and
you can just follow the path to Sam.

Sam invites you to join her in a Free Realms TCG already in
progress. She'll walk you through the steps to try to
catch you up to speed, but things can get a little confusing that way.
 This How-To guide will help budding duelists learn the ropes
from beginning to end in six parts: TCG layout, Resource cards,
Creature cards, Trick cards, TCG gameplay, and winning and strategy.

TCG Layout

The Free Realms
TCG board is laid out in two halves. The top half is your opponent's
side of the board while the bottom half is yours. Each player has three
slots in which to play Creature cards for attacking. Below the
creature slots are cards won in battle.

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The player's hand is shown at the bottom of the screen. On the
right are the Inventory, Draw Pile (which is your current
hand), Discard Pile, Coins or
Stars, score, creent phase indicator, and the quit button.
Click on
the image above for a
larger view.

Resource Cards

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Resource
cards are the key to winning in any match.

Resource cards are a type of currency in the TCG. Players use
these
during the "Ready" phase to generate the Coins necessary to put
Creatures
on the board or the Stars needed to use a Trick played to your
Inventory. You get one Coin and one Star per turn for each card in your
Inventory.

Resource cards can have special abilities. Some will allow
players to spend Coins to get a benefit. Others can be discarded to
trigger an event in reaction to something that has happened in the
game, like if youÂ’re about to lose a creature during combat. Finally,
some Resources can be turned face down to bestow a benefit once per
game.

A Resource card that is face down in the Inventory still adds
to the Coins and Stars for that turn, but its ability cannot be used
again.
All Coins disappear at the end of the player's turn. Stars disappear at
the beginning of your next turn because they can be used to play Tricks
during the opponent's turn.

Resource cards often have extra benefits for Creatures of the
same element family.

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Creature
cards are your means to stike at the enemy.

Creature Cards

Creature cards are the warriors of the TCG, which you play
during the "Set" phase at the cost of Coins generated from your
Inventory and then use to attack during the "Go" phase. They have
several
components worth noting.

The top left corner shows the Coin cost to summon the
Creature. The name appears at the top. The element family of the
Creature is displayed in the top right.

target="_blank">Attack and defense appear on the
left side of the card. The attack power is in the starburst and defense
is in the shield. Any time one Creature attacks another, these
statistics come into play.

The center of the card features the illustration and the
bottom of the card explains any special abilities and href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/67507">power-ups
the creature might have.
The
very bottom of the card also displays the number and types of href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/67508" target="_blank">Gems
associated with the card. Gems are important during battles because
that can add to your attack or defense power and change the outcome of
a fight.

One special type of Creature card is a hero. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/67506" target="_blank">Hero
cards always come with special abilities that affect all
cards or activate under certain conditions. Heroes are usually very
strong and cost a lot of Coins to summon, but their special abilities
add a significant benefit to the player.

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Trick cards
provide an extra boost at just the right moment to ensure your victory.

Trick Cards

Trick cards are the magic powers of the TCG, which you play
during the Go phase or when your opponent attacks you at the cost of
Stars generated from your
Inventory.

The top left corner shows the Star cost to summon the
Creature. Tricks sometimes provide even greater boosts for Creatures of
the same element family.

Tricks are single use cards and go into the Discard Pile when
the turn ends.

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Hunting
occurs when your creature is across from an empty space on the board.

TCG Gameplay

Gameplay begins with each player dealing his hand. You may
choose to redeal one time. Reasons you might want to deal over
are because
your hand has no Resource cards or because your hand has no Creature
cards that cost only one Coin to play.

Once both players have a hand, the game consists of
turns
divided into three phases: Ready, Set, and Go.

During the Ready
phase, all target="_blank">zapped cards are restored, and the
player draws two cards. Your supply of Stars returns to zero until the
Set phase.

The Set
phase is when you send Resource cards to the Inventory and place
Creatures cards in the slots on the board.

You may place only one card in the Inventory per turn. Any
card will work, but Resource cards are the best choice because they can
be played from there and do not take Creatures or Tricks out of your
hand. If you have nothing else to play, it is usually better to give up
a Trick than to not get an extra card in your Inventory.

Once you have played a card to your Inventory, you will
receive one Coin for each card in the Inventory. The Coins can then be
spent to play Creature cards. You can play any combination of Creature
cards you have the Coins to summon, and you can replace one Creature
with another and dismiss the old one to the Discard Pile.

When the Go
phase begins, you can attack with any Creatures on the board. If your
Creature has no card opposite it on the board, you can Hunt. This means
you score a direct hit on your opponent and win one card.

When two Creatures face off, the attacking Creature's attack
power goes against the defending Creature's defense. Players may use
Tricks to boost their stats, and then each player flips a number of
cards equal to the number of cards won in that Creature slot throughout
the entire game to get Gems. The total number of Gems from all cards
you have flipped are added to your attack power when attacking and your
defense power when defending. Also, Gems can activate power-ups to make
your Creature stronger.

Some Creatures have abilities that cost Coins or require you
to discard them after your turn that can be activated during the Go
phase. After your turn is complete, your pool of Coins returns to zero
until your next Set phase. Any Creature that attacks or Resource that
is played is zapped, meaning it cannot be used again until after your
next Ready phase.

The outcome of attacking is determined after all Tricks are
played and cards are flipped. The possible outcomes are as follows:

  • Attacker
    has higher attack power than defender's defense power: defending
    Creature goes to Discard Pile and attacker wins a card for that slot
  • Attacker and defender have the same power: both Creatures
    go to their respective Discard Piles. No cards are awarded.
  • Defender
    has higher defense power than attacker's attack power: attacking
    Creature goes to Discard Pile. No cards are awarded.
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Win twelve
cards in battle to win the whole hand.

Winning and Strategy

The object of the TCG is to be the first player to win twelve
cards
in battle. The odds heavily favor aggressive players since cards can be
won only through attacking and never through defending. Still, it is
unwise to attack a Creature with six defense if your card only has one
attack power (unless you have a lot of Tricks ready).

Defending
is never optional, but you can use Tricks to your advantage as a
defender to defeat the attacking Creature. Once it is out of the way,
you'll be able to hunt with the Creature in that slot on your next turn.

While
some Creature cards have the ability to be zapped to save another
Creature already on the board, don't be too hasty to use this ability.
The attacker still wins a card for defeating your creature even if you
save it from being removed from the board, and your zapped Creature
will
not be able to attack in your next turn. It is best only to use this
special ability to save a hero or other very powerful Creature.

Finally, don't overlook
the power of Resource cards. Some allow you to draw extra cards into
your hand under certain conditions. One really powerful variety even
allows a Creature to hunt without zapping, which means that Creature
will be able to hunt twice in the same turn and win two cards. Just
beware of abilities that require you to move a Resource card to the
Discard Pile. Using these deplete the number of Coins and
Stars
available on your next turn and may make it hard to play a card you
need.

Parting Thoughts

This guide just gets you started on the path to becoming a
master Card Duelist. Don't get too coocky yet. Your starting deck will
be pretty weak, so you'll need to continue following quests to boost
your collection. When you're ready to take on other players, keep in
mind that it is possible to purchase digital booster packs. You'll need
to modify your deck often to prevent your strategy from becoming too
predictable. Good luck out there!


To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Free Realms Game Page.

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