In order to play the My Little Pony Collectible Card Game, each player will need the following cards:
- A Draw Deck consisting of at least 45 cards, with no more than three copies of a single card. The types of cards that can be included in a draw deck are Friends, Events, Resources and Troublemakers.
- A Problem Deck consisting of exactly ten Problem cards, with no more than two copies of a single Problem. At least one of these Problems must also contain the Starting Problem keyword.
- A Mane Character card; each player will start the game with their Mane Character in play.
This means that each player will need a bare minimum of 56 cards (45 + 10 + 1) in order to start playing.
When we say above that you can only have so many copies of a card in a deck (3 copies in a Draw Deck, 2 copies in a Problem Deck), we are referring to cards that share the exact same name. Here are two examples to help illustrate this requirement:
Example 1: Fluttershy, Animal Team and Fluttershy, Guidance Counselor are both Friend cards, and they both have a common word in both of their names (Fluttershy), but their names are not exact. Therefore, a player could have up to three copies of each card in their Draw Deck.
Example 2: On the left is a Nightmare Moon Troublemaker card that can be found in the Premiere set. On the right is a Nightmare Moon Troublemaker card that was released as a promotional card. Both of these cards have the exact same name; therefore, a player could only have up to three combined copies of these cards in their Draw Deck.
In addition to their cards, players will also need:
- Tokens, counters and/or dice that can be used to represent action tokens, exhausted characters, and more.
- Reference cards that can be acquired from starter decks or printed out on paper. These reference cards help to remind players what actions they can take and how many action tokens they receive at the top of their turn.
The Play Area, At A Glance
Home: One of the three areas that Friends can be played/moved to, and where Mane Characters start the game at.
Draw Deck: Where a player’s Draw Deck is located, from which they draw and flip cards.
Discard Pile: Where cards go when they have been dismissed or discarded from the player’s hand/draw deck.
Problem Deck: Where a player’s Problem Deck goes, and the only other area where Friends can be played/moved to.
Reference Cards: Where a player’s turn card and score slider card go.
Action Token Area: Where a player can keep track of how many action tokens they have available.
Starting A Game
- Place your reference cards on the right side or your play area, with the turn card on top of the score slider card such that the “0 points’ row is the only one visible.
- Place your Mane Character card in your Home, with the “Start" side face-up. (Mane Character cards have two sides, a “Start” side and a “Boosted” side, but they always start the game with their “Start” side face-up)
- Look through your Problem Deck, select one of your Problems with the Starting Problem keyword, and remove it from the Problem Deck. Shuffle the rest of the cards in the Problem Deck and place them face-down on the Problem Deck section of the play area, then place the Starting Problem face-up on top of the Problem Deck.
- Randomly determine which player will go first; a good practice is for the players to have a quick game of chance (dice-rolling, rock-paper-scissors, etc) and letting the winner decide who goes first. The player going first will not be allowed to draw a card at the beginning of their very first turn.
- Shuffle your Draw Deck, place the cards face-down on the Draw Deck section of the play area, and draw six cards. If you don’t like the cards you’ve drawn, you can shuffle them back into your Draw Deck and draw six new cards; this is called a mulligan, and each player can do this only once.
Now that we know what we need to play and how to set up the play area, we’re going to be following along with the first few turns in a fictional game between two players; our viewpoint character, John, will be using a Twilight Sparkle, Faithful Student and a Purple/Orange deck. His opponent, Mary, will be using a Rainbow Dash, Flier Extraordinaire and a Blue/White deck. Based on the results of a (fictional) coin toss, John will be going first.
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