Home > Special > Problem-Solving Card Text, Part 1: Reading the Cards of Tomorrow

Problem-Solving Card Text, Part 1: Reading the Cards of Tomorrow

May 20th, 2011

The Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG has too many rules.

Don’t get me wrong, the basic game rules are pretty simple. Everyone’s seen how they work from the TV series and the manga. The big problem is with rulings on specific cards. There are so many. So why is that, anyway?

Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG is a game designed to be played by everyone. Whether you’re in elementary, junior high, or high school; college, grad school, or law school; working for a living, playing with your kids, or playing with your nieces, nephews, or grandchildren… the game is designed so anyone can pick up some cards and start to play.

Because of this, we’ve always avoided making the cards sound too “technical.” If we write the cards in geekspeak so you need a user manual to decipher them, that’s not much fun. It would feel less like a game, and more like you’re taking a test or visiting the DMV.

So as much as we can, we’ve always written cards the same way that plain folks talk. And for a long time, it worked fine. But as we approach 10 years and almost 5,000 different cards, we’ve run into a problem: Using plain folks’ language limits the number of ways you can write things. There are only so many ways to say “Joey ate an apple,” after all.

But we have a lot of different apples, and eating each one needs to be described a different way. We wind up using the same phrases to describe cards that work slightly differently, and there isn’t enough available language to spell everything out in detail without taking up the entire card box.


Problem-Solving Card Text

The year 2011 marks 10 years of Yu-Gi-Oh! on TV in North America. As part of our 10th Anniversary celebrations, the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG will undergo its greatest text and rules retrofit ever. Starting in July 2011, all cards will be written with what we call Problem-Solving Card Text.

The new text took a while to work out, and we needed to wait until we had enough different kinds of cards and effects to look at as examples. The new text doesn’t just have to work for the cards we have now. It has to work for everything we make in the years ahead.

We had 3 main goals for the Problem-Solving Card Text:

1. The text needed to be precise.

2. The text still needed to be easy to read.

3. The text can’t sound like a textbook.

In other words, we needed a way to write cards in plain English, but at the same time inject so much exact science into the card that all the complicated rules could be fixed.

Not an easy task! But we finally managed to do it, and you’ll be seeing the results very soon.


Your Cards & You – The Future

So what does this mean for you?

Up until now, if you ran into a complicated card situation, this is what you had to do:

First: read the card.

Second: run to the web to find out how the card works and how to resolve the situation.

Third: assuming your specific situation was covered online, continue playing. Otherwise you need to write in and ask for an answer.


Doesn’t that seem kind of silly? Especially since the main point of the game is that each card tells you what it does.


From now on, here’s what you’ll do, instead:

First: read the card.

Second: apply logic and figure out the answer.

Third: continue playing.


Rules posted online will be limited to super-complicated and really weird situations. Imagine going down to a dozen pages of card rules, instead of a thousand. It could happen.

That still leaves the billions of cards we’ve already got in circulation, of course. For existing cards, as we reprint them in Decks, Turbo Packs, Duelist League, and other places, we will update their text to the Problem-Solving Card Text. Over time, rules questions about existing cards won’t just be answered. They will cease being questions in the first place.


What’s Next

In order to help everyone with this transition, we’ll be taking you through it one step at a time over the next few weeks. Every few days we’ll explain another part of how the Problem-Solving Card Text works. By the time the new cards start rolling out in July, you’ll be up-to-speed on how everything works!