In the last five years, Bandai has established itself in the TCG marketplace. In a world where collectibles are at an all-time high, the timing couldn’t be better. The Dragon Ball Super Card Game was launched in 2017 and the Digimon Card Game in 2021, both of which were met with astounding success. While a new card game with a new intellectual property (IP) needs to create a fan base from scratch, these two well-established franchises had already 20+ years' worth of digital content and millions of fans worldwide. This recipe for success has led them to their next “sure thing.”
Introducing One Piece, a franchise known for its absurd length (not that the fans mind). Starting in 1999, Eiichiro Oda has created over a thousand manga chapters, surpassing many other giants in the Shonen Jump business. With a massive community and a wildly successful anime adaptation, further adapting One Piece to the tabletop was a guaranteed success.
After the four Starter Decks that introduced the various colors and mechanics of the game, ROMANCE DAWN is the first booster pack with new cards, rarities, mechanics, and illustrations. ROMANCE DAWN was released on 2 December 2022 and each booster pack has an MSRP of 4.50 €.
There are some obvious similarities between One Piece and Dragon Ball Super in their respective card games. Both use a Leader card that represents the player and is tied to a color of the game. Dragon Ball needed almost two years for the introduction of Dual Color Leaders, while One Piece starts its first booster pack with them.
After his previous iteration as a Red Leader, the main character Monkey D. Luffy is now a Red/Green Dual Color Leader which immediately means that his card pool doubles. Known for his aggressive style of fighting, Luffy is now a leader with 5000 [Power] that can untap a cost five or lower [Supernova] or [Straw Hat Crew] and give that character +1000 [Power] for the turn. To activate this ability, the player must tap 4 DON!!, the resource of the game. Adding Luffy’s aggressive tactics with multiple attacks is a perfect marriage.
On the opposite ship sails Kaido, the Blue/Purple Leader of the Animal Kingdom Pirates. Purple is a color specialized in manipulating DON!!, gaining resources, activating deadly skills, and controlling the board in the meantime. Note that in addition to being a resource, DON!! can be equipped to Characters and many can only activate their skills while equipped with a certain number of DON!! To activate his ability, Kaido needs at least one DON!! equipped and when one of the opposite characters is KO’d, the player may add one DON!! card and set it as active. Every card game is a game of resource management, so the more resources you can get, the better.
The main chase cards of the set are the two Secret Rares, a high rarity that usually packs a punch. Shanks is a 10000 [Power] Red Character with (in red’s fashion) Rush. These keywords mean that the card can attack the turn it is played, a common trend in aggressive decks in all games. Adding Rush to his ability that nullifies [Blocker] with 2000 [Power] or less, the opponent is going to have a hard time countering Shanks. On the other hand, Yamato is a Green Character with two different keywords, [Double Attack] and [Banish]. As the name suggests, Double Attack means that Yamato deals two damage. Normally each damage represents an extra card for the enemy, and that’s where Banish matters. An attack (or Double Attacks!) with the Banish keyword trashes the damage instead of it going to the opponent’s hand.
ROMANCE DAWN is the first chapter of many that are to come in One Piece Card Game. Whether you are a trading card game specialist or a brand new player, the simple mechanics of One Piece are for everyone. One thing’s sure: Bandai has plenty of material to work with in this amazing franchise.