Cardfight!! Vanguard: The Brand New Card Game

By: Cristian N. Ramos Ramos

“Stand up! Vanguard!” On Sunday, April 12, 2012 at Warrior’s Hall, fifteen card players started their Cardfight!! Vanguard (CF Vanguard) ‘fights’ with this phrase in a trading card game (TCG) tournament. TCG tournaments are events commonly seen in the various card shops of Puerto Rico. Having a one-on-one match, each player would put their Vanguard unit in the ‘field’ and draw five cards. After deciding who would start, the first player would ‘ride’ a higher grade unit from his hand and call additional units of the same or lesser grade to ‘rear circle’ if desired. Unable to attack on the first turn, the first player’s turn ends and it is the second player’s turn to draw, ride, call rear units, and begin the attack process.

Players at Warrior’s Hall playing Cardfight!! Vanguard and other TCGs.

During the attack process, the defending player could ‘guard’ from the attacks with units from his hands, and units on the field with the ‘intercept’ skill. This phase of the game is the most fun, as it is where unexpected turns of events occur. If the attacking units hits the defending Vanguard, damage is dealt to the opponent and drive checks from the offensive Vanguard and damage checks will give more excitement to the match. If the player is lucky with the checks (looking at the top card of the deck), ‘triggers’ will be activated and give a boost to the units on the field giving the player the chance to deal more damage and have a quicker win, or the opposite. Also, if the trigger is a ‘heal’, one damage would be healed, thus giving the opportunity to survive another turn.

Another exciting feature of CF Vanguard is the skills and abilities of the units. The three skills,  ‘boost’, ‘twin drive’ check and ‘intercept’, would give more stats for units, more units for defense or calling, and additional defense, respectively. Abilities would do the same, plus giving the chance of searching for a specific unit in the deck, or performing more attacks in the same turn. Some abilities would be automatically activated, others are continuous, and others require the player to activate them. Finally, after going through several turns, the player that has six damage would lose the fight.

Cardfight!! Vanguard is a new TCG created by the entertainment company Bushiroad from Tokyo, Japan. This TCG was released in Japan in February 2011, a month after the airing of the anime of the same name, on which the game is based. The English version of the TCG was released internationally in December 2011, finally arriving to Puerto Rico between January and February of 2012. It was first available at Warrior’s Hall in Caguas, a TCG shop owned by Fernando Fernández, where the previous mentioned tournament took place on Sunday, April 29, 2012.

Christian Hernández (left) and Elías Medina (right) finishing a match during the tournament in Warrior’s Hall.

Being the first shop to have CF Vanguard available, and being listed as the only approved seller of CV Cardfight cards in Puerto Rico by the website Heart of the Cards, Warrior’s Hall has been in business for only a year and two months. It started out selling TCGs such as Yu-gi-oh, Magic The Gathering, and Pokémon. The shop hosts several tournaments and leagues throughout each week, except for Mondays when the shop is not open.

When CF Vanguard appeared in Puerto Rico, it already had its fans thanks to the anime. Over 80 people are playing the TCG, communicating and sharing the game through the first Puerto Rican CF Vanguard group on Facebook. In the group, the members get to know each other, sell and buy cards and discuss everything related to the game and to the anime. Besides Warrior’s Hall, a few other shops have also started to sell CF Vanguard. Among them are Gaming Zone in Bayamón and Barista Game Room in Aguada.

Another shop that will possibly have CF Vanguard available soon is the Skate Shop in San Germán, which also has a TCG area. According to José, the owner, CF Vanguard could be arriving around May 3, 2012 or the week after. The Skate Shop has sold Pokémon, Naruto, Magic The Gathering and Yu-gi-oh TCGs. However, Naruto was taken out and Magic The Gathering is heading in the same direction, José explained. He said the reason for this is that the quantity of players playing the TCG has decreased over time, in the case of Magic The Gathering, due to no new sets of cards being released. When asked about the future of CF Vanguard in his shop, he replied that it would depend on the amount of players of the TCG and the support they give to it. However, in his opinion, CF Vanguard will start to lose popularity when the anime is finished, giving the possibility for the game to stay for as long as the anime is airing.

A close up of one of the Cardfight!! Vanguard card. The artwork is one of the amazing and attractive feature of the TCG.

Thanks to information from José, a group of cardfighters was found in the University of Puerto Rico of Mayagüez (UPRM). It is a group of gamers who meet on the third floor of the Student Center. CF Vanguard was brought to most of these students by the student Gabriel, who lives in a town near Caguas. This group finds CF Vanguard to be a great game, as it is easy to understand and play, plus it is fun. They had spent several hours on a daily basis learning the game as they played. While they have been playing, some students passing by have been dragged in by the game and have gotten interested in it. That way, the community of CF Vanguard is growing in the UPRM.

In the Facebook group, members have been giving their opinion about CF Vanguard. They like it so much, that they even compare CF Vanguard with Yu-gi-oh. According to them, CF Vanguard is easier to play than Yu-gi-oh. Additionally, the CF Vanguard anime is more entertaining and delivers surprises to the viewer when the main characters playing do not always win. Each character has the same chance of winning due to the nature of play, which is also true for the TCG per se. Meanwhile, in the Yu-gi-oh anime the main character must always win the game to continue forward and carry out his mission or objective, which results in a boring and obvious development of the anime.

The last match between the tournament’s winner Eric Camacho (right) and Andrés Rodríguez (left) who finished in second place.

In an interview, Fernando, also known as FeFe by his costumers, gave his opinion about CF Vanguard. At Warrior’s Hall, the TCG has good support, and that is because the same players promote the game among themselves. With that support, a tournament or league of CF Vanguard could have from 14 to 20 participants. The booster packs and trial decks sell quickly, indicating to him that the game is good. Therefore, more tournaments are played if there are enough people to participate. About other card shops, FeFe thinks that if there are a good quantity of players buying the cards who also go to the shops to play, CF Vanguard could succeed and be sold for a good while. However, it will depend on the support that the players give the game. When asked if he sees growth in the future of CF Vanguard, not only in his shop, but in Puerto Rico in general, FeFe replied with confidence, “definitely.”


1 Comment

  1. skai said,

    July 20, 2012 at 12:00 am07

    nice report, very detailed and resourceful. i am proud to say i play at the shop you featured in your report.

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