First up before I get into anything about the game and my thoughts, I have to state *AHEM*. This Transformers TCG product was supplied by Wizards of the coast, Double Jump Communications, and Hasbro. This doesn’t change my perception, thoughts or feeling on the overall product or influence any of the points I am going to discuss below.
Okay, we good? Yeah, We’re good. This game is aimed SQUARELY at kids (GET OFF MY LAWN) and Hobbyists. This product was not and is not intended for any of you/us hardcore card game players. There is a MASSIVELY HIGH degree of randomness in the game, and that will drive some people NUTS.
The Transformers 2-Player Starter Sets contain 4 Foil Transformer Character Cards (Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Ironhide and Red Alert), some terrible flimsy damage counters (that are somewhat perforated) and 40 Battle Cards. They have zero randomness (each should be EXACTLY the same) and there is currently ONLY Autobots. That means if you want to play as the bad guys, prepare to open your wallet.
Speaking of potentially expensive, there are four total rarities in the game, battle cards come in Rare, Uncommon and Common. While the Transformers oversize character cards (yes, these come in oversize looking boosters!) come in FOUR rarities. Common, Uncommon, Rare (one in… ahem….”MOST” booster packs) and two SUPER RARE cards, one in every 79 booster packs. Look, this was to be expected, this isn’t any worse than any other TCG. I’m just surprised it’s only two of them and not four.
I HIT YOU IN THE METAL FOR 4
The combat mechanics are fairly basic, for sure. But surprisingly fun instead of unplayable trash. And believe me, that’s high praise coming from a 25 year TCG veteran. I have played a LOT of junk. You see, when you “battle” against one of your opponent’s Transformers, you have to turn over the top two cards of your deck. Any orange squares on the top right of the card that is revealed add to your attack score, each white square is a critical, and means you may overturn two MORE cards and add any orange to your attack score. You then add your transformer’s attack value to this and that is your damage output for the attack. Your opponent now overturns two cards and any blue squares add to their blue defense value on their defending transformer. Any unblocked damage goes through to your attack target.
The other battle cards (Upgrades and Actions) all add flavour and fun to the battle while not making a massive focus on optimized decks. to be honest, part of me feels this game is actually fairly refreshing and it’s nice to play a casual fun game as opposed to something like Magic: the Gathering. the flow of the game lasts long enough to keep both players committed and aware, and games don’t last too long and wear out their welcome.
WE HAVE LOST THE ALL SPARK
With the good, there is the “what the?”. As I was saying above, I have no idea why you would bring out a two-player starter deck that has ONLY Autobot characters in it. I think this is a poor decision as I think back to my childhood and all I can think of is the eternal struggle of the Autobots vs the Decepticons and how badly childhood me would want BOTH factions in this to chop and change. But I guess that’s where the money comes from, right?
The decision to make the character cards foil on one side and have ZERO other foils in the set also feels like a pretty MASSIVE misstep. You want hobbyists to buy up the game in droves? Wizards, you know HOW to sell product. Foils of all the cards. This makes a HIGHLY collectible sub-set. I understand the reasoning for having no super rare battle cards if you want children to play the game, but you made the game high luck.
That means that even the kids aren’t going to care THAT much about “super rare cards” needing to be in the deck, but instead, they could have either played with them or used them as trade fodder for other cards. Super rare cards in foil? THAT’S how you sell to hobbyists when you don’t have that hook, they only need a single set of cards to make a complete set. Who is going to be cracking this product in droves?
The card stock is fairly good, though as we saw from the starter deck, the foiling process is still pulling the card and making the card bend. After the many years and products Wizards has produced, I just don’t understand why this is still a constant talking point with their card games.
There is no tournament series for this game. Period. And THIS makes me sadder than anything, even Pokemon when it was produced for CHILDREN by Wizards of the Coast, had tournaments. First up it was just a mall tour with some neat promos and prizes. And yet, Transformers doesn’t have that at all. Hasbro has no plans for tournaments, and this means the visibility will be minimal unless they decide to start dropping events for the game at major conventions to give away promos.
YOU WILL NEVER WIN, MEGATRON
This game is casual fun, not intended for hardcore TCG players. Children will enjoy the game as it’s flashy and fun enough for a good few plays. The lack of an opposing force starter is disappointing, however, I guess that’s part of the money machine. Buy, consume, build. I don’t think Hasbro TRUELY know what “hobbyists” will spend money on. The gameplay is fun and I certainly enjoyed myself enough to want to find other folks who have it (that are around my age though….) to play a few games in between EDH games.
However, I am concerned at the fact that the rares are “usually one per booster” and reading on Reddit that rares are, in fact, closer to one in TEN booster packs.
THE TRANSFORMERS TCG IS OUT NOW! SEE YOU LOCAL TRADING CARD RETAILER FOR MORE INFORMATION ON LOCAL PRICING AND VISIT HASBRO HERE.