Digimon CCG (for beginners): Rules
[Note: This article is not up-to-date. Check everything against
current erratas and rulings. More info and an update coming soon. Check
the home oage for more details on when.]
This is an article meant to introduce new players to the Digimon CCG
and help players from older Digimon card games to adapt to this one (as
this one is quite different from all before it). This article will
cover the rules of the game. An analysis of each type of card and a few
basic tips for using the cards (like timing and what type to use when,
and a few combos and stratagies) will be in another article, and yet
another article will follow later on giving different stratagies for
different deck combinations. Because of the way this game is made and
played, each deck may have a completely different set of stratagies and
combos to another deck with similar cards -It's up to each player to
customize (and/or create) their own deck and use stratagies and combos
that compliment it and work with it. A small tip on this is to make
sure your deck can be flexable with multiple stratagies and combos that
can be applied to more than a handful of situations.
Very Important: Read the rules of the game first. You can find these rules at www.digimonccg.com
or in the rule book that comes with a Starter box. I've typed the rules
out for the sake of having an easy reference, but if you've already
read the rules you can skip the bulk in the blue background (I will
refer to the rules in later articles, but will have the quote from the
rules there so you don't have to keep switching back and forth between
First, we will take a look at the rules as given in the rule book of a series 1 Starter.
There are 4 card types used in the Digimon Collectible Card Game.
Digimon Cards are what you and your opponent will use to battle one another.
A. Card Name
B. Card Number
C. Level. (Rookie, Champion, Ultimate, Mega). The Digimon level determines how the Digimon Digivolves.
D. Group. The Digimon are catagorized into different groups.
E. Special Effect. Each Digimon has a Special Effect that can be used
during a specific game phase. Unless otherwise stated, Digimon effects
can only be used while the Digimon is in the Attack Row.
Also unless otherise stated, according to Customer Support, a
Digimon's Special Effect has to be activated at the start of the Attack
Phase before any of your Digimon start an Attack. (The Special Effects
are also 'common-sense based', which means there aren't any 'lawyering
rules' about the Special Effects.)
F. Digivolution. Describes the Digimon's unique Digivolution.
G. Attack Number.
H. Defense Number.
I. Card Rarity.
Digi-Destined cards are used during an attack. They modify a Digimon's attack or defense.
A. Card Name.
B. Card Number.
C. Card Type.
D. Card Effect. The Card Effect will specify if the card modifies a Digimon's attack or defense.
E. Attack Numer.
F. Defense Number.
G. Card Rarity.
Digivolve Cards are used during the Digivolve phase. They make it easier for players to achieve a Digivolve.
A. Card Name.
B. Card Number.
C. Card Function.
D. Card Effect.
E. Card Rarity.
These cards can be played during all phases of the game (the card will specify when it can be played).
A. Card Name.
B. Card Number.
C. Phase When Card Can Be Played.
D. Card Effect.
E. Card Rarity.
A. Attack Row. Digimon cards are moved here when you want to attack. A maximum of 4 Digimon can be played in the Attack Row.
B. Digivolve Row. Digimon cards can be digivolved in this row. A maximum of 4 Digimon can be played in the Digivolve Row.
C. Online. A player's shuffled deck is placed face down here. Cards drawn into a player's hand are taken from the Online pile.
D. Offline. Discards are placed face up in this area.
>>Winning the Game<<
Each player begins the game with 0 Data Points. You win the game if you gain 7,500 Data Points.
Before beginning play, flip a coin or play rock-paper-scissors to determine who goes first.
Each player needs at least 50 cards in his deck to play. A Starter Deck can be used to start playing immediately.
Decks should be shuffled and each player must allow their opponent to
cut their Deck. The Decks are then placed face down in the Online area
of each player's playmat.
Each player draws 5 cards and each player starts the game with 0 Data Points.
The sentence "Each player needs at least 50 cards in his deck to
play." means that you have to have 50 or more cards in your deck -there
is technicaly no limit to how many cards you can have in your deck.
However, do not confuse this with how many copies of a card you can
have... You're Still only allowed 3 copies of any card in your deck and
only 1 copy of GigaPower cards...
Although the rules don't specificaly state this (for some strange
reason), it's important to note here that, unlike previous Digimon card
games, this game goes through every phase of the game within a single
player's turn. Then the player's turn ends and the next player goes
through every single phase of the game through her/his/it's turn, and
so on. If this isn't kept in mind, the game won't seem to make much
>>Order of Play<<
Both players take alternating turns until one player wins the game.
-1. Draw Phase-
At the start of your turn, you draw two cards from your deck.
Some cards have effects that are used during this phase.
-2. Bring Online Phase-
During this phase, a player can place up to 2 Rookie Digimon into his
Digivolve Row. It's important to note that ONLY Rookie Digimon can be
played during this phase. Digimon cards are played face-up in the
Digivolve Row. You can only have a maximum of 4 Digimon in the
Digivolve Row at the end of this phase. If you have more than 4 Digimon
in your Digivolve Row, you must Offline Digimon until only 4 remain.
Some cards have effects that are used during this phase.
-3. Digivolve Phase-
During this phase, a player can Digivolve up to 2 Digimon.
The Digivolve Requirements must be met.
The Digivolve order is:
ROOKIE digivolves into CHAMPION
CHAMPION digivolves into ULTIMATE
ULTIMATE digivolves into MEGA
Not to mention that Mega may occasionaly Digivolve to Mega too,
like Gallantmon to Gallantmon (Crimson Mode), and Champion may
occasionaly Digivolve to Champion, like Gatomon to Lynxmon... no, Megas
Digivolving to each other isn't realy possible in the Digimon universe
as Mega (known as 'Final' or 'Ultimate' in the Japanese card game) is
the highest level you get and Megas can only fuse or mode change, but
Customer Support *did* say that a few rules had to be broken to make
this game function (although I can see a way around it so that Megas
still don't Digivolve...). What I can't figure out is why Gatomon
Digivolves to another Champion when there are no Digi-Eggs or Armor
Digivolutions in this game so far... Lynxmon comes from Gatomon and
also comes from an Elecmon (Rookie level)...
To Digivolve a Digimon, you must already have a Digimon in play in a
space in your Digivolve Row on your playmat. Digimon can only be
digivolved in the Digivolve Row. You must Digivolve in the order
described above. The lower level Digimon is discarded face-up to your
Offline Pile and the new higher level Digimon is played in the same
space in the Digivolve Row.
There are some card effects and some Digimon that will allow you to digivolve your Digimon in a different manner.
You may only Digivolve a Digimon one level per turn.
Some cards have effects that can be used during this phase.
Some Rookie Digimons have the Digimon's "true" digivolution
requirements on the card. If you collect all 4 of the Digimon in a
"true" digivolution, play all 4 cards in an open space in your
Digivolve Row. You add 500 Data Points and the Mega level Digimon stays
in your Digivolve Row (the other 3 Digimon are discarded to your
Offline Pile). Your turn is over.
-4. Move Phase-
During this phase, a player can move up to 2 Digimon from his Digivolve Row to his Attack Row, and vise versa.
Customer Support has informed me that the order in which the
Digimon is moved is (1.) you may move up to 2 Digimon from the
Digivolve Row to the Attack Row (if you so desire), and only after that
(2.) you may move up to 2 Digimon from the Attack Row to the Digivolve
Row (if you so desire).
'Well, what's the point in pointing that out?', you ask?
If you have more than 2 Digimon in the Attack Row and you want to
move more than 1 Digimon to the Attack Row, moving all the Digimon
around will take a few turns, and that means having to be creative in
the way you do that so your Digimon don't get defeated... Makes the
game more... 'interesting'. : )
-5. Attack Phase-
The player who goes first cannot attack on the first turn.
During this phase, a player can choose to attack with any Digimon that
are in his Attack Row. Attacks are determined by compairing an
attacking Digimon's Attack # against a defending Digimon's Defense #.
Each Digimon in the Attack Row can attack once per turn. If you have
multiple Digimon, each of them can launch one attack during this Phase.
When you attack with a Digimon, you must pick one of your opponent's
Digimon as the target. If your opponent has no Digimon in his Attack
Row, you will be able to add Data Points directly.
Digimon attack one at a time, not simultaneously. Digimon in the Digivolve Row may not attack or be attacked.
Digi-Destined Cards can also be played during this phase.
Some cards have effects that are used during this Phase.
Compair the Attack number of the attacking Digimon with the Defense
number of the defending Digimon. Take into account any changes caused
by card effects.
Attack Number is Greater Than Defense Number
If the attacking Digimon's Attack number is greater than the defending
Digimon's Defense number: The attacking Digimon wins the fight. The
defending Digimon is discarded face-up to his player's Offline Pile.
The attacking player adds Data Points equal to the difference between
the Attack number and the Defense number.
Just a note... In the actual game itself, 'Discard' means 'send
from hand to the Offline Pile' and 'Offline' means 'send from the
playmat to the Offline Pile'. The 'playmat' in gameplay is a player's
Attack and Digivolve Rows -the Offline and Online Piles are not counted
as part of the Playmat.
Example: Turuiemon vs. Greymon
Player 1 has DM-022 Turuiemon in his Attack Row. Player 2 has DM-061
Greymon in his Attack Row. Player 1 has reached his Attack Phase.
Player 1 announces that Turuiemon is going to attack greymon. Player 1
announces that Turuiemon has an attack of 1,000. Player 2 announces
that Greymon has a defense of 900. Turuiemon's Attack number is greater
than Greymon's Defense number: 1,000 - 900 = 100. Greymon is discarded
to Player 2's Offline Pile. Player 1 adds 100 Data Points to his total.
Attack Number and Defense Number Are Equal
If the attacking Digimon's Attack number is equal to the defending Digimon's Defense number:
Both Digimon are discarded face-up to the Offline Pile.
Neither player adds any Data Points to their total.
For the record, when ever a card is Discarded or a Digimon is
Offlined, the card/Digimon goes to it's respective player's Offline
Pile -your cards should never go to an opponent's Offline Pile and an
opponent's cards should never go to your Offline Pile.
Example: Vikaralamon vs. Cerberusmon.
Player 1 has DM-029 Vikaralamon in his Attack Row. Player 2 has DM-084
Cerberusmon in his Attack Row. Player 1 has reached his Attack Phase.
Player 1 announces that Vikaralamon is going to attack Cerberusmon.
Player 1 announces that Vikaralamon has an attack of 1,500. Player 2
announces that Cerberusmon has a defense of 1,500.
Viakalamon's Attack number is equal to Cerberusmon's Defense number.
Both Vikaralamon and Cerberusmon are discarded to their player's
Offline Pile. Neither player adds any Data Points to their total.
Attack Number is Less Than Defense Number
If the attacking Digimon's Attack number is less than the defensing Digimon's Defense number.
The attacking Digimon loses the fight. The attacking Digimon is
discarded face-up to his player's Offline Pile. The defending player
adds Data Points equal to the difference between the Attack number and
the Defense number.
Example: Antylamon vs. Karatenmon
Player 1 has DM-032 Antylamon in his Attack Row. Player 2 has DM-065
Karatenmon in his Attack Row. Player 1 has reached his Attack Phase.
Player 1 announces that Antyalmon is going to attack Karatenmon. Player
1 announces that Antyalmon has an attack of 1,100. Player 2 announces
that Karatenmon has a defense of 1,300.
Antylamon's Attack number is less than Karatenmon's Defense number:
1,100 - 1,300 = -200. Antylamon is discarded to Player 1's Offline
Pile. Player 2 adds 200 Data Points to his total.
Opponent Has No Digimon in His Attack Row
If your opponent has no Digimon cards in his Attack Row, you can
attack him directly. You add your Digimon's Attack number to your Data
Continuing the Attack
Remember, each Digimon in the Attack Row can attack once per turn. A
Digimon in the Attack Row does not have to attack. When you no longer
want to attack with your Digimon or have attacked with all of the
Digimon in your Attack Row, announce to your opponent that your Attack
Phase is done.
-6. Discard Phase-
During this phase, a player can discard and replace up to 3 cards.
Some cards have effects that are used during this Phase.
The Digimon Collectible Card Game uses a "Last in, First out"system to
resolve effects that are triggered in response to other effects.
Players take turns playing cards that activate effects. Once both
players have passed, the effects resolve from last played to first
played. After being played, all cards are discarded to the owner's
Here it's important to note that the Digiqueue only applies to
interaction between the players. If you're, say, using Digi-Destined
Boost Attack cards to power up your Digimon before you attack, then
there's no interaction between you and another player. In that case,
the effects of the cards are resolved in the order the cards are
played, a card's effect resolving before the next card is played. This
also applies to when a player is playing Modify cards with no
interaction between the player and another player.
Once you've played the game a few times, it's time to build your own
custom deck! Increase the power of your deck with cards from the
There are a few simple rules to follow when building your deck.
Your deck must have 50 cards. We recommend having at least 30 Digimon cards in your deck.
Decks have to have *at least* 50 cards in it. There is no maximum
for the amount of cards you're allowed in your deck, although the more
cards you have in it the less the chances of drawing the cards you need
when you need them (this early in the game anyway...)
You can have up to 3 copies of any one card in your deck. Some cards
have GigaPower in their Card Effects text. You can only have 1 copy of
any specific GigaPower card in your deck.
For example, DV-003 D-Power Digivice has 'GigaPower' in its text box.
You can only have 1 copy of D-Power Digivice in your constructed deck.
Any different 'GigaPower' card can be in your deck (for example: DV-004
Q: My card reads 'Offline a Digimon'. What does that mean?
A: That means you remove a Digimon from the playmat to the Offline Pile.
Q: Can Digimon be Digivolved in the Attack Row.
A: No! Digimon can only be digivolved in the Digivolve Row.
Q: What happens if I run out of cards in my Online Pile?
A: Shuffle the cards in your Offline Pile and place them in your
Online Pile. There is no penalty for exhausting the cards in your
Q: Can I attack the same Digimon twice?
Q: Can I Digivolve from Rookie to Champion to Ultimate in the same turn?
A: No, you may only Digivolve a Digimon one level per turn, unless you use a Digivolve Card.
Q: Are Mythical Animal and Dark Animal different from the Animal group?
A: Yes, Mythical Animal, Dark Animal, and Animal are all different groups.
Q: Do Boost Attack and Boost Defense cards last for the entire turn?
For example, if I use a Boost Defense card when one of my Digimon is
attacked, does the bonus last for the whole turn or just for that
A: Digi-Destined and Digi-Modify cards are sent to the Offline
Pile immediately after use so they do not last the entire turn.
The exception to this is DD-020 Mimi because the wording on the
card states that the Boost Defense power is gives lasts until the end
of the turn.
You can find a card list somewhere else on this site or on the Products page of www.digimonccg.com .
This wasn't mentioned in the rules (because it was only suggested
to the Game Team after the game was released), but this game can be
played as a multiplayer game. I suggest 3-6 players only for
multiplayer because more than that can get rather confusing... Also,
it's not suggested that multiplayer be played through the internet
(through instant messengers and such) because that can be even more
confusing. If multiplayer is going to be used through the internet, a
special program for internet play should be made (which isn't exactly
These are the multiplayer rules -all the regular game rules apply unless stated otherwise:
1.) No player may attack on his/her/it's first turn. This keeps
the game fair. If a player has a Digimon on their playmat who's Special
Effect requires them to give up the Digimon's attack, then that Special
Effect can not be used on the first turn (because that Digimon would
not have an attack to give up).
2.) If you play a Digi-Modify card during another player's turn,
the Modify card effects that player (and that player only).
3.) If your Digimon is going to attack and it's Special Effect
effects the opposing player's Digimon (or Digimons, depending on
whether your Digimon's Special Effect effects just 1 of your opponent's
Digimon or all of them), the Special Effect only effects the opponent
you're going to attack.
4.) If you play a Modify card during your turn that effects the
opponent, you choose 1 opponent for the card to effect. You should
choose which opponent the card will effect when you play the card.
5.) If you're being attacked, your Digimon's Special Effect effects any opponent that's attacking you.
If I find any other rules need to be added, they will be added later.
Erick Reyes also gave a few suggestions:
"This is not official but other things you could do in multi-player:
1) Teams: You work together. You can't see each other's cards but you attack the same people.
2) Cooperative Teams: You can see each others cards and even use your Digi-Destined cards on your teammate's Digimon.
3) Free For All: You can attack anyone but a player cannot be attacked twice in a row.
4) Structured Attacks: You can only attack to the player on your right (or left)."
For a little modification to this... :
Each team must have the same number of players on it, for the
sake of fair play, unless all players agrees otherwise (the agreeing
otherwise thing may not be possible in tournaments...). The members of
a team work together but may not see the cards in eachother's hands or
Online Piles. Players may not attack each other or use card effects
against each other.
All Data Points gathered goes to the team pool. The amount of
Data Points needed to win depends on the amount of teams playing and
the number of members on each team. I suggest 7,500 Data Points per
player in the game should be the amount a team needs to reach to win.
All the rules for regular team play applies, except:
1.) Team players may see the cards in eachother's hands.
2.) A Digimon's Special Effect that adds Attack or Defense
power to another Digimon may be applied to any other Digimon on that
3.) You may use your Digi-Destined cards on a Digimon belonging to another team member.
4.) When you play a Digi-Modify card during an opponent's turn,
you may transfer the effects of the card from you and/or your Digimon
(depending on the effect of the card) to another member of your team or
his/her Digimon (again, depending on the effect of the card).
Example: If you play MD-018 Ice Arrow during an opponent's turn,
which stops the opponent from attacking you, you may transfer the
effect to another member of your team to that it prevents him/her from
being attacked by that opponent instead of you. If you transfer the
effects of a card to another member of your team and the card has a
requirement before it can be used, either you or the team member you're
transfering the card's effect to may fulfill the card's requirement.
Any cards you play still goes to your Offline Pile, not your teammates
Free For All:
You can attack any other player's Digimon, but a player can not
be attacked twice in a row. This simply means that if there's 4 players
in the game (yourself included), if you attack each one of them or
their Digimon with one of your Digimon, the player who goes after you
can't attack anyone except you (since you'd be the only person who
didn't get attacked on your turn). Since a player can't be attacked 2
turns in a row, for your own sake (unless you've got a good strategy)
you'd want to avoid attacking all the opponents on your turn because
that means you'd be the only one that can be attacked on the next
This also makes things interesting as to who can be attacked
when. Of course, unless the player that went before you didn't attack
at all, there would be a restriction on who you can attack (because a
player can't be attacked 2 turns in a row). This makes for a
high-strategy game and extremely smart gameplay since each player would
be against all the other players...
The first player to score 7,500 Data Points wins.
For a variation, you could start at 7,500 and subtract the
difference in power from your opponent's Data Points when your Digimon
wins an attack over that opponent's Digimon, and subtract Data Points
directly from your opponent when your Digimon gives a direct attack
(just the opposite of what's done in the rules at the moment, basicaly)
and play an elemination match where the last person still in the game
wins. Which type of Free For All match it is (First to reach 7,500 or
an Elimination match) should be discussed and agreed apon by all
players playing in the game before the game starts, for the sake of
A third variation is if the game starts out as a 'First to reach
7,500' until one player wins, and then turns into an 'Elimination
Match' to see who gets second place. In a case like that, the remaining
players don't start at 7,500 Data Points but rather at however many
Data Points they've already gotten in the game. All other Elimination
rules apply. This should also be discussed and agreed apon by all
players playing the game before the game starts.
You may only attack the player to your right or left, so the
players would have to be in a 'circle' of some sort (like who goes
first, second, third, ect. ). This won't work for only 3 players as
everyone can attack everyone else then, so you'd need 4 or more players
(but I still suggest no more than 6). This can also work for team play,
but it'd require 'creativity' as to what order the players take their
turns in for it to work effectively. Because of the 'left or right
only' restriction on attacking, you may want to try working with other
players you can't attack in order to win.
This can also be used in a 'First player/team to reach 7,500 Data
Points wins' and then turn into an 'Elimination Match' to see who comes
in second. Just remember that, with the second-place Elimination
method, all members of a team share a pool of Data Points, so any
mistakes a single player makes will effect the whole team. Also keep in
mind that if you're working with someone who you can't attack, that
person may turn into an opponent again with the elimination method as
players/teams get eliminated. (If a team's Data Points reaches 0, all
members of that team are eliminated since they share the same Data
Points, which would now be 0)
Keep in mind that none of the Multiplayer rules are official (at
least at this time), so Customer Support has no obligation to help you
if you come across any errors or anything like that. If you Do come
across errors or questions you need answers to, feel free to contact me
through this site or post your questions on the official Digimon CCG
message board in http://forums.digimonccg.com/showthread.php?t=81.
Enjoy! ^ ^