Suikoden Card Stories 01 – An Introduction to Play

Card Stories Cover

Gensosuikoden Card Stories was a TCG (trading card game) designed and published by Konami between 2001 and 2004. Although a fundamentally sound TCG, its niche appeal as a piece of spin-off media, needless rule complications in later editions and the contraction of the Suikoden series’ media reach post-Suikoden III saw the game’s last additions (a kind of crummy Suikoden IV expansion) released in September 2004.

Over the past several weeks, I have been delving into translating and localising the cards for theoretical use by an English-reading audience. This is merely a hobby as there are many reasons why this game will not be played in English, modern Suikoden fandom size chief among them.

Still, as disparate efforts have been made on forums and social media over the use to communicate what Card Stories is, I thought I’d try and explain it as best I can here. That way, should I publish my localised cards you could, theoretically, use these blog posts and those cards to play this game.

WHAT IS SUIKODEN CARD STORIES

Suikoden Card Stories is a TCG, initially set against the backdrop of the second Suikoden titlei, where two players compete against each other for Victory Points (VP). The first player to win 5 VP wins the gameii.

You accomplish this through the use of your deck. Your deck holds 50 Suikoden Card Stories cards. These cards come in three types: Mission cards, Facility cards and Character cards.

Most cards have some form of text in the lower portion of the card that gives it a special effect. These effects may limit its use, benefit or hinder a player and so on.

Mission cards: Mission cards are a players main source of Victory Points. A player will play a Mission card they hope to clear, thus earning the VP listed on that card. However, there is a second, often higher, VP value listed that will be given to the opponent if the opponent manages to clear the card instead.

Facility cards: Facility cards confer bonuses to the player who clears it. These benefits can vary greatly, from increasing the number of cards the player can hold to boosting specific Character cards. For every 2 Facility cards cleared by a player, they also gain 1 VPiii. A Facility card can also be “blocked” by an opponent, in a similar manner to an opponent clearing a Mission. In this case, no VP or effects are awarded to any player.

Character cards: Character cards are used to contest the above two card types. A player will “deploy” Characters to Missions and Facilities as they see fit, hoping to clear their own and thwart their opponent’s. Character cards contain much more information than other cards but their three main stats are: ATK (Attack Power), MIL (Military Power) and CON (Construction Power). Mission cards are decided by either accumulated ATK or MIL, while Facility cards are decided by accumulated CON.

Character cards come in 5 different sub-classes and have other attributes. These will be discussed in later articles.

For now, let’s show an example turn of play from a fictional game of Suikoden Card Stories.

FICTIONAL GAME – PLAYER 1 – TURN 1

It is Player 1’s “Main Phase”. Eager to gain some early VP, Player 1 chooses to play the Mission card “Teresa Rescue” iv. As you can see in the below image, it has its Clear condition listed as “ATK 8/MIL 2000”. The card text below clarifies what this means; The player who plays this card decides which of the two Clear conditions is in play for this card. They choose “ATK 8”. The Mission “Teresa Rescue” is now active.

Activating the Mission card begins Player 1’s “Deployment Step”. During the “Deployment Step”, players deploy Character cards they hope will help fulfill the Clear condition.

example1-min

As Player 1 played the initial Mission card, control now passes to Player 2. They begin by deploying the Character card “Solon Jhee”. This card has an ATK value of 0. Player 2’s accumulated ATK on this Mission is 0 and control returns to Player 1.

Player's 2 first move is to play Solon Jhee.

Player 2’s first move is to play Solon Jhee.

Player 1 deploys the Character card “Flik”. This card has an ATK value of 3. Player 1’s accumulated ATK on this Mission is 3 and control returns to Player 2.

Player 1 deploys Flik.

Player 1 deploys Flik.

Player 2 deploys the Character card “Fuma”. This card also has an ATK value of 3. Both players are now tied at 3 ATK each. The Fuma card has an ability but Player 2 chooses not to use itv. Control returns to Player 1.

Player 2 deploys Fuma, evening the score.

Player 2 deploys Fuma, evening the score.

Player 1 deploys the Character card “Teresa”. This card has an ATK value of 0. The accumulated ATK value remain the same. However, Teresa’s card effect states that when deployed, the player who deployed her draws 1 card. They do so. Control returns to Player 2.

Player 1 deploys Teresa, earning them a valuable extra card.

Player 1 deploys Teresa, earning them a valuable extra card.

Player 2 deploys the Character card “Fu Su Lu”. This card has an ATK value of 4. Player 2 now has an ATK value of 7. If the next card they deploy to this Mission has an ATK value of 1 or more, they will clear the Mission. Control returns to Player 1.

Player 2 is one card away from victory after deploying Fu Su Lu.

Player 2 is one card away from victory after deploying Fu Su Lu.

Player 1 deploys the Character card “Viktor”, the card they drew with Teresa’s ability. This card has an ATK value of 4. Players 1 and 2 now both have an ATK value of 7. However, the first Character Player 1 played, “Flik”, has an ability that states “If Viktor is on your side of the mission: Gain 2 ATK.” This increases Flik’s ATK to 5 and Player 1’s accumulated ATK on this Mission to 9vi. Player 1 has met the clear condition. When a clear condition is met, the Mission is concluded immediatelyvii.

Player 1's Viktor appears to tie the score, but Flik's ability allows Player 1 to meet the Clear condition and clear the Mission.

Player 1’s Viktor appears to tie the score, but Flik’s ability allows Player 1 to meet the Clear condition and clear the Mission.

Player 1 must now choose one of their Character cards deployed on the Mission to be “Stationed” (or garrisoned, if you prefer). A stationed Character card is not only not in play but no Character card with that name can be deployed in the future by either playerviii. Player 1 chooses to station Flik. “Flik” is placed on top of “Teresa Rescue” and is set aside. Both players send their remaining Character cards that were deployed to their respective discard piles.

Finally, Player 1 gains 1 Victory Point for clearing the mission. If they had not drawn Viktor and Player 2 had cleared the Mission on their next turn, Player 2 would have gained 2 Victory Points as the Mission card states.

NO PLAY SCENARIO?

The “Deployment Step” listed above went very smoothly, almost as if it were written as a basic mechanical guide to the game. But sometimes things don’t go smoothly. So, I’ll quickly note what would have happened if the variables were different.

If Player 1 did not draw the Viktor card and had no Character cards to draw, they would skip their turn and Player 2 would continue to deploy Character cards until they met the clear condition or they too had no Character cards to deploy. Similarly, if Player 1 drew a Character card they could not play on this Mission but could on a second active Mission, they would not be able to do soix.

If both players skipped their turn, then the Mission is left unresolved and Player 1’s “Deployment Step” ends. Both players draw cards until their hands are full (“Replenish Phase”). Then it becomes Player 2’s “Main Phase”, where they can either play a Mission card, play a Facility card, continue the Mission card already in play or discard any number of cards from their hand. The first three would begin Player 2’s “Deployment Phase”, the last option (discarding) will lead to another “Replenish Phase” after which would come Player 1’s Main Phase again.

NEXT TIME

In my next post, I will take a closer look at Character cards, their sub-classes as well as rules regrading how and when they are deployed. I hope this wee article gets across the basic concept of how to play the game. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to share them and I’ll respond when I can.

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