Transformers Trading Card Game Brings Robots in Disguise to Tabletop Play

Wizards of the Coast's upcoming Transformers Trading Card Game should appeal to longtime fans of [...]

Wizards of the Coast's upcoming Transformers Trading Card Game should appeal to longtime fans of the franchise and to young gamers looking for a quick and fun collectible card game.

The maker of Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering has teamed up with the Transformers franchise to make a new kind of card game, one that utilizes the Transformers' ability to shift from robot to vehicles in an easy to play fashion. The game utilizes two kinds of cards - oversized double-sided cards that represent the various Transformers and a small deck of battle cards that provide the Transformers with upgrades and special attacks.

"We went back and looked at like the foundation of what would make a great trading card game for the Transformers IP," Transformers TCG brand manager Drew Nolasco told during an interview at Gen Con. "One of the things that we realized is Transformers is such a big IP, why don't we just make really big character cards?"

(Photo: Hasbro/Wizards of the Coast)

Each Transformers card utilizes art from the timeless Generations line, which features different Autobots and Decepticons from throughout the Transformers universe. Using the Generations line also allowed Wizards of the Coast to take a deep dive into Transformers history and pull out some surprising characters for their initial base set. One of the cards Nolasco showed off during our interview was Flamewar, an semi-obscure Decepticon that's part of the original Decepticon army.

Wizards of the Coast didn't just pull out random Transformers when creating the game. Each Transformers card reflects their abilities and place in Transformers lore. For instance, Flamewar's abilities reflect her Decepticon status and she can pass along her abilities to others.

"We can take the essence of that character and devise a card version of it that pulls something from that character's essential nature into the card," Nolasco said. "We've gone through and figured out what makes that character special, and then we've created a game version of that character that hits something essential about that character."

Gameplay is designed to be quick and easy to learn. Each Transformer card has a star value and players can build teams that has a value of 25 stars or less. The point of the game is easy to understand - you're simply trying to knock out your opponent's team. Each turn consists of playing up to one action card and upgrade card from the battle deck, flipping one Transformer card from mode to mode, and then making one attack. There's no mana or energy system - so players can make attacks right from the start.

Each Transformer card has an attack value and a defense value, which can be modified with various abilities and battle deck cards. When a player attacks, both players flip two cards from the top of their deck, which grants additional attack or defense boosts provided they have matching symbols with the Transformer card making or being attacks.

"The system is very easy to grow so even a youngster could rock it, and then layer in the strategic depth in how the parts interact with one another," Nolasco explained. This philosophy lets youngsters play the game at their level and it lets strategy gamers play the game at their level."

Creating an easy to understand system with multiple layers of strategy was important for another reason too. "One of the really intentional things is that Transformers fans, the first generation of Transformers fans, they're people my age and raising youngsters," Nolasco said. "And so this game is specifically designed for inter-generational play. It's designed so that adults can play with their children and have an experience and adults can play with adults and have an experience at that level and kids can play with kids and have that experience at that one. So it really hits that dual mode of understanding strategy."

Like many other modern tabletop games, the Transformers Trading Card Game will have a companion app, that allows players to build teams and keep track of damage. It's an optional app, but it should help players (especially younger ones) keep a handle on some of the nuances of the game.

The first wave of Transformers cards comes with an Autobot starter kit that contains Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Ironhide, and Red Alert, along with a pre-made 40 card battle deck. The Transformers Trading Card Game will also release a booster set that will include 40 additional Transformer cards and 81 battle cards. Notably, Optimus Prime and the other Transformers found in the Starter Set are not available in the boosters. Multiple expansions are also planned for the game.

Both the Autobots Starter Set and booster card packs will be released on September 28th.