The Bleach Trading Card Game is played with two people. Each player must have a total of at least sixty-one cards: a Guardian card, a sixty-card 'main deck' and a Side Deck consisting of a number of energy cards dictated by your Guardian card that will total twenty cards. There are two ways to win: reduce your opponent's Power (printed on their Guardian card) to zero, or if your opponent attempts to draw or discard a card from their deck and fails.
A standard player's turn in the game consists of three steps: The Resource Step, the Main Step and the End Step. The Resource Step has players drawing cards and putting Energy cards into play, the Main Step is where players can attack and play cards, and the End Step is a formal conclusion to the turn.
There are six different types of cards in the Bleach Trading Card Game:
- Guardian cards represent the personas of characters in the Bleach universe. Each Guardian has a Power rating that represents the total amount of damage they can take. Each Guardian also has a set of numbers on the left side of the card that represent how much of a particular Energy card that the Guardian can have in their energy deck. Finally, Guardians each have Effects that can be used as indicated on the card. (Effects that require a cost will have the requirements bolded)
- In addition to regular versions, there are also special Hi-Tech cards that are variants of the regular Guardian cards. In sets that include starter decks tese will be randomly inserted, in other sets they must be obtained though the Urahara Shop. 2 variations of most Hi-Techs exist with a limited few having 3 or possibly 4 (Normal, All have black variant; Set 1 all have Red Tint Variant; Ichigo, Renji, Yoruichi, and Toshiro each have Alt.Art variant.)
- Energy cards were the only cards that could be placed in the Side Deck up until the release of the Bankai Expansion, which now allows them to be switched with other cards at a 1 for 1 ratio. Energy cards are what players use to pay costs and play their cards. There are currently three kinds of Energy: Mind Energy, Body Energy and Spirit Energy.
- Character cards can represent anyone and anything from Bleach, whether it be Humans, Soul Reapers or Hollows. Character cards (and the three other types of cards) have a Cost that needs to be paid upon playing the card. Characters also have Traits, which are keywords that determine if specific abilities can be used. Some characters may also be labelled Non-Unique, which means you can have more than one copy in play at any time. The most important area of a Character card is the right side of the card. Each Character can have up to three Stats which they use to attack and inflict Power damage to the opponent. Some Characters may also have Effects. Characters have a White background.
- There are currently fifteen different Character traits: Good, Human, Male, Evil, Student, Soldier, Soul Reaper, Spirit, Hollow, Whole, Female, Quincy, Cute, Animal, and Bankai.
- There are currently six stats that Characters can use: AGI (Agility), FOR (Fortitude), INT (Intelligence), SPP (Spiritual Pressure), STR (Strength) and QCK (Quickness).
- Events have a number of varying abilities. Some Events may require you to have Characters with certain Traits in play in order to use them. New events were released in the Bankai Expansion that are listed as "Bankai" and attach to Guardians. Events have a Blue background.
- Items need to be equipped to Characters in order to be used, and can represent important items in the Bleach universe (such as Zanpakutō). Items may need to be equipped to a certain Character or someone with a certain Trait in order to use them. Items have a Red background.
- Battlegrounds represent locations in the Anime. They have a constant effect that can affect either one or all players. Battlegrounds have a green background.
Cards are returned from depleted (sideways) back to upright positions. The active player draws a card from their deck, then may choose whether to draw another card or place a card from their side deck in play, then may choose whether to draw yet another card or place another energy card into play.
The active player may play any card from his hand, use powers on cards in play, or attack with characters. These can be done in any order, as long as the player has the cards to do so.
- Using Powers: Certain cards have special powers listed on the cards. Along with the effect, it also states the cost(s) or times the effect can be used.
- Attacking: To attack, you must first choose a card to attack with, and then the stat which you will use. Once you decide that, your opponent must choose what card they choose to defend with. Both players then choose cards with which to boost the selected stat. You boost by discarding cards with the corresponding stat in the top right corner by the number in the top right corner of the card you are discarding. Both players then add up how high the stat selected by the attacker got, and compare the values. From there, three cases can occur:
1. The Attacker beats the Defender. The defender is destroyed and the defending guardian takes damage equal to the difference.
2. The Attacker ties the Defender. Both cards are destroyed. No damage is taken.
3. The Defender beats the Attacker. The attacking card is destroyed, but no damage is dealt.
- Playing Cards: Cards can be played by using energy cards stored on the field corresponding to the symbols of the cards on the left-hand side of the card. Different cards have different values for their use.
The formal end of a turn. Temporary effects are ended, and control is switched over to another player.
Card sets and release information
Demo decks can be found in issue #43 of Anime Insider and a video demo can be found on YouTube as well as the game's website. Cards are sold in 72-card preconstructed starter decks and 2 booster packs, 10-card booster packs, and 12-pack booster boxes. The releases are as follows:
- Premiere Set - Released May 2007: 250+ card set including Hi-Tech Guardian cards,
- Soul Society - Released August 2007: 110 card set + 10 card Soul Reaper Subset,
- Seireitei - Releases November 14th 2007: 110 card set + 10 card Soul Reaper Subset Contd.,
- Bankai - Released April 2008: 280+ card set including Hi-Tech Dual Guardian cards and Echo Autographed card series.
- Bounts - To be released July 2008: 195 cards (60 commons, 50 uncommons, 50 rares, 2 ultra rares, 10 echo autograph cards, 10 subset cards, and 13 promo cards).
The game ceased publication April 2009, just before the planned launch of its seventh expansion, Bleach Infiltration. This cancellation was attributed to the ongoing recession, which has heavily affected TCG sales.
The Japanese version of this game shares only a few things in common with the English version. One being, Bleach itself and the other is that every card has a boost power. Score Entertainment assures its fans that the English Bleach TCG is its own game; not a direct copy of the Japanese version.
- Official TCG Site
- Bleach Trading Card Game at BoardGameGeek
- Bleach TCG @ Top Tier Gaming - Forums, Previews and discussion for Bleach TCG. Database and Deckbuilder coming soon!
- BleachGaming - First fan website dedicated solely to the Bleach Trading Card Game.
- TCGplayer's Bleach Website - Card Database, Blogs, Videos and News
- Card Game Organizer | Online for Bleach: TCG