The Digi-Battle Digimon Card Game is a relic of the past and it’s long been forgotten by most people.
The first reaction most people have when they hear about Digi-Battle is, “Digimon had a card game?” In fact, Digimon had two card games, and Digi-Battle was its first attempt. And you definitely won’t find people playing this obscure card game at your local game store.
A brief history of the Digi-Battle Card Game
Digi-Battle was released in 2000 and it was quickly discontinued in 2001 (it didn’t have a successful run at all). The game had potential and the cards looked amazing, but it was a little ahead of its time being released shortly after the Pokmeon TCG and before Yu-Gi-Oh even reached North America. Card games hadn’t reached their peak popularity quite yet.
During its short lifespan, Digi-Battle released 5 starter sets and 6 booster sets. It’s pretty easy to find cards for the first starter set and booster set, but anything released after that is incredibly hard to find and very expensive.
The obscurity of the card game’s later sets might be explained by a change in licensing. Shortly after Digi-Battle’s launch, Upper Deck’s licensing contract with Bandai expired, allowing Bandai to take complete control over the game.
In retrospect, this fallout was probably the nail in Digi-Battle’s coffin because Upper Deck had enormous potential.
At the time, Upper Deck was struggling to compete against Wizards of the Coast’s Pokemon TCG, and hobbyists reported that Upper Deck failed to make adequate relationships with local game stores. Meanwhile, Pokemon players were coming together to play at stores to earn promo cards. Upper Deck simply wasn’t as experienced with trading card games as Wizards of the Coast.
However, Upper Deck went on to help create the TCG giant known as Yu-Gi-Oh. Could Digi-Battle have been as big as Yu-Gi-Oh given enough time under Upper Deck’s management? (Note: the Upper-Deck and Konami relationship didn’t end well either, but that’s another story…)
With Bandai in control, Digi-Battle took on a completely different look, including the back of the cards, which is never a good change for a card game.
Fortunately, you can take a look at the card designs for yourself. An old Digimon fan website (which hasn’t been updated in years) made scans of the Digi-Battle cards, but the quality is what you’d expect from the 2000s.
The anatomy of a Digi-Battle card
I’m going to try my best to teach you how to play this obscure card game, but first you need to understand the different parts of a Digi-Battle card. But don’t worry, it’s pretty easy to get the hang of.
There are three types of cards: Digimon, Digivolve, and Power Blast.
The Digimon card is the most complicated. You’ll need to learn two main concepts: score and type. I’ve created a handy guide using Veedramon as an example:
A Digimon’s type is located in the top left corner — red, green, or yellow — which determines how much damage your enemy will do to you.
You can determine how much power you’re outputting by checking the power section in the bottom left corner. For example, if you’re battling a Digimon with the red type, check the number next to the red icon. We’ll go over how power is used later.
Near the top under the Digimon’s level (Rookie, Champion, Ultimate, or Mega), is the Digivolve requirements. Some cards can Digivolve from multiple different Digimon and the requirements for Digivolving from those cards may vary. Some cards require you to discard or “Offline” cards from your deck or “Online” pile. Other cards might require special cards.
The score yield at the bottom of the card denotes how many points you’ll get for defeating a Digimon of a certain level. For example, if you’ve defeated a Rookie Digimon, check your score section to see how many points you’ll receive. As a general rule, you’ll get more points for attacking Digimon that are higher level than you.
The “more info” section provides more details about the Digimon, including special abilities like Fly or Dig. Certain Power Blast cards may lower the power of Digimon with certain special abilities.
The next two cards types are pretty simple. The Digivolve cards are used during the Digivolve Phase (we’ll discuss phases in a bit), and the Power Blast cards are used in the Battle Phase.
There aren’t any weird technical terms on these cards besides the word “Duel.” In this game, “Duel” is a fancy word for Battle Phase. Other than that, simply follow the steps on these cards, and you’ll be good to go.
How to play the Digi-Battle card game
Now that you understand the mumbo jumbo on the cards themselves, it’s time for you to use them in action! If you don’t have a 30-card deck to use, click here to learn how to build a deck.
To help you understand the rules of the Digi-Battle card game, I put together a play mat that illustrates where you should be placing your cards.
There are three phases to the Digi-Battle card game: 1) Digivolve, 2) Duel/Battle, and 3) Regroup.
Phase 1a: Set Up
Before you really start the Digivolve Phase, you first need to set up the game.
Determine how many points each player needs to win the game. Typically, this number is 1,000.
To start out, each player must search their 30-card deck for a Rookie Digimon and place it face-down in the Duel Zone.
Each player then shuffles the remaining cards and places their deck in the Online Zone. Draw 10 cards for your beginning hand.
After each player drew their hand, each player must flip their Digimon face-up.
Phase 1b: Digivolve
Both players review their hand. If there is a Digimon that can Digivolve from their current Digimon, each player may place that Digimon in the Digivolve Zone face-down. Check the Digivolve requirements on the next-level card to be sure.
Then, flip a coin to decide who goes first.
The player that goes first reveals the Digimon in their Digivolve Zone. If that player can fulfill the Digivolve requirements, that player puts their next-level Digimon face-up on top of their current Digimon in the Duel Zone and then fulfills the Digivolve requirements.
Then the second player has the opportunity to Digivolve.
If either player cannot Digivolve, they may pass.
You may Digivolve once per Digivolve Phase. After each player has Digivolved or passed, the Digivolve phase is over and the Duel/Battle Phase commences.
Phase 2: Duel/Battle Phase
The second phase the Digi-Battle card game is where the action happens.
Whoever won the coin flip in the Digivolve Phase starts off by playing any Power Blast cards in the Power Port, if applicable.
Players take turns playing one Power Blast card each until one player passes. Then, the remaining player can continue playing Power Blast cards until they decide to finish.
Next, players calculate how much power their Digimon has. Check your opponent’s type — red, green, or yellow — and match it with the corresponding attack on your own Digimon.
Add up additional power gained from Power Blast cards.
Whoever has more power wins the Battle Phase. Check your opponent’s Digimon level — Rookie, Champion, Ultimate, and Mega — and give yourself points based on the corresponding level on your Digimon’s score section near the bottom of the card.
All Power Blast cards are sent to Offline. The loser’s Digimon cards except their Rookie are sent to Offline.
If there is a tie, no points are scored and both players keep their Digimon in the Duel Zone.
Whoever won will go first next turn.
Phase 3: Regroup
This phase is essentially resetting or “regrouping” for the next battle.
Both players may Offline any cards from their hand and then draw cards from their Online until they have 10 cards in their hand.
If there are no more cards left in Online, send ALL cards on your side of the field Offline, except for your Rookie Digimon. Then shuffle the pile and place it face down in the Online Zone as your new deck, then draw the rest of your cards. This is done at any time your Online goes down to zero.
You may also change your Rookie, but it gets a little confusing here. Here’s the official text from the rules:
At this point, players have the option of changing their Rookie (if they have one showing on the Duel Zone). To set up a change, place the new Rookie face down on top of the old Rookie. (The old Rookie remains under the new Rookie.) If you have a Champion card with the Requirements to Digivolve your new Rookie to the next level, place it face down on the Digivolve Zone. When it’s your turn to Digivolve, you’ll turn over both the new Rookie and the Champion in the Digivolve Zone, and you’ll send the old Rookie Offline.”
How to build a Digi-Battle deck
Now that you know the rules of the Digi-Battle card game, you’ll have a better understanding of what cards ought to be in a proper Digi-Battle deck.
Here’s an example deck (courtesy of The Digi-Zone) to give you a better idea of what a Digi-Battle deck looks like:
Rookies: Agumon and Gabumon
Champions: Greymon, Garurumon, Tyrannomon, FlareRizamon, and Gorillamon
Ultimates: MetalGreymon, and WereGarurumon
Megas: WarGreymon, MetalGarurumon, Omnimon, and Machinedramon
Digivolve: Crest Tag, Digivice Yellow, Digivice Red & Yellow, Digivice Vaccine, and Ultra Digivolve
Power Blast: Bomb Dive, Crest of Courage, Crest of Sincerity, Digi-O, Green Power Bean, Evil Chip, Golden Shield, Option Eater, Platinum Sword, Red Power Bean, Resist Downgrade, and Yellow Power Bean
One thing you might have noticed is that this deck only uses two Rookies — but that’s perfectly fine. The beauty of Digimon is that they can Digivolve from multiple different cards.
For example, Gorillamon can Digivolve from either Agumon or Gabumon, which is extremely helpful. That means if you draw Gorillamon, you won’t have to worry about not having the proper Rookie.
A good Digi-Battle deck will have Digivolution paths that are intertwined to make your Digivolution options as open as possible.
I recommend building a deck by finding a few Mega cards that have similar Digivolve requirements and then work your way down the line to one or two Rookies.
But don’t go too overboard on Digimon cards because your deck will need plenty of Power Blast options as well.
With a deck built, you should be all set to play the Digi-Battle card game! Well, kind of…
There are a lot of weird little intricacies with the rules that are still being debated today within the small Digi-Battle community. The game didn’t have a lot of development and it was quickly abandoned, so it’s not surprising that the rules can be a bit unclear at times.
Even if you don’t play the Digi-Battle card game, it’s still fun to collect the cards.
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