The Transformers TCG has been on shelves since 2018 and as you know we here at Game Hype love all things gaming. Being an 80’s child, I of course grew up with the robots in disguise, So, when Hasbro offered to send us some Transformers TCG goodies I naturally Rolled Out. Now, this isn’t a learn to play article, if you want to learn how to play the game you can download the companion app here or grab a starter deck and give it a blast. This article is essentially my thoughts of the game to see if it’s a TCG worth your time. 

If you know me at all, you know that I’m a sucker for a good TCG but as they tend not to be the cheapest of hobbies out there, it takes something extra to convince me to partake when a new one hits the shelves. So with the 3rd set of Transformers TCG almost upon us I anxiously awaited the starter decks and boosters arrival.

The valiant Leader of the Autobots.

Like most TCG’s you can begin with starter decks (usually pre-built decks that get you off to a great start) and buy booster packs to collect cards of different rarities with a wide range of game-changing abilities, it almost goes without saying, but I said it anyway just incase this is your first TCG.
Well, Transformers TCG certainly has the nostalgia factor down for sure. However, that’s not what excited the TCG nerd in me, after all, if it’s Transformers I want, I could pull out the G1 DVDs or watch the Bumblebee movie for the 76th time. 

Now, we’ve no doubt all played TCG’s and waited in vain to draw that one creature or forward we need to start dishing out the pain and with the luck of the draw they don’t appear. What separates Transformers from other TCGs is that your damage dealing units (The Transformers, obviously) start the game on the board! Each Transformer (The actual cards for the characters are oversized and foil which gives the game a nice visual flair missing from most TCGs) has a star value attached to it, this is basically an indication of how powerful that character is. Your teams star value can’t exceed 25 stars, depending on the team you build you could have a huge team of bots at you command or in some cases just the one, as is the case with the Autobot Titan Metroplex.

When building your team you can do the unthinkable, you can mix Autobots and Decepticons, I’ll admit, when first reading this I didn’t like it, however, that soon changed when I realised that I could reunite Starscream and Skyfire. While it may sound odd it’s actually great, player freedom is fantastic and restricting the teams you can build would be daft, especially seeing as Cybertron wasn’t always at war and transformers cannon is wonderfully complex and contradictory anyway. Each character is of course a Transformer and as such, well, it transforms. Characters have two modes, one on each side of the card. It’s Bot-mode and Alt-mode, a characters Stats (Attack, defence, health) and ability differ depending on which mode they are in. Each turn you can ‘Transform’ or flip a character. 

The best Transformer of all time!

So, that’s your team sorted, now, what TCG is a TCG without a deck. Your deck consists of 40 ‘Battle Cards’. These cards fall into two categories, Action cards that have an immediate effect on the battle and Upgrade cards. Upgrades can be better weapons, armour to utility cards that add interesting and varied effects. My inclination was of course to start tearing into booster packs and find the true leader of the Decepticons, Starscream! However, seeing as I’d never played a game of Transformers TCG I decided to begin with the games Starter Set and draft in a friend of the site Lee to help me out. 

Armed with a Transformers Autobot Starter Deck each. Each starter deck contains: 4 Transformers, a 40 card battle deck, damage counters and a rules reference sheet.(A single starter deck can be used by two players sharing the contents but honestly, it’s best to just grab one each, especially seeing as at the time of writing several different start decks are available.) Lee and I got to grips with the game. 

My team of Autobots consisted of Bumblebee (Brave Warrior), Red Alert (Security Chief), Ironhide (Veteran Autobot) and of course Optimus Prime (Autobot Leader). Now, the reason for the bracketed text is that more than one version of each character exists in the game, you can have as many different versions of character on your team as you like (within the star limit), but not the same version more than once. All the characters added up to a full 25 stars and we were ready to go.

I can’t remember why I disliked him so much as a child.

I took the first turn which has some slight differences to the normal sequence of play, and decided attack Bumblebee immediately, for no other reason than not liking him as a child, upon commencing an attack one of the Transformers TCG unique game mechanics takes place. The attacking player flips to the top two cards of their deck (it’s usually a minimum of 2 but can be changed through different cards and abilities). Now, when attacking, you flip the cards from the top of your deck and for as many orange symbols you flip, you boost your characters attack damage by that amount, your opponent then does the same, looking to reveal blue symbols to boost their characters defence. The difference is worked out and damage if any is applied. After damage is dealt, the cards flipped in this manner are discarded or ‘Scrapped’ and are placed into the scrap pile. Now, flipping cards from your deck is a sure fire way to lose by deck out…right? 

Wrong, Once you’ve discarded or ‘scrapped’ your deck you simply take the scrap pile, shuffle it and once again it becomes your deck. I absolutely love this as apart from a brief White/Blue Magic the Gathering ‘mill’ deck that I dabbled with many moons ago, I despise ‘Mill’ decks. For those of you somewhat new to TCGs, the majority of TCGs require you to draw cards and the start of your turn, if at any time you’re unable to draw a card, you lose the game. The aim of a mill deck is to force your opponent to discard as many cards as possible to eventually force them to ‘deck out’. The main reason I hate ‘Mill’ decks is that you’re not actually playing the game, just rushing an opponent through a deck and not experiencing most of whatever that particular TCG has to offer.  Each Transformer has a set amount of health, once your character has 0 health it’s Knocked Out and is removed from the battlefield, once all your opponents’ Transformers are KO’d you win the game. 

Due to the relatively huge amount of damage being dealt out and the myriad of special rules with the Transformers trading card game battles tend to be brutal and quick affairs. This can seem rather jarring at first, especially if you normally run control decks. Once, we’d adjusted to the pace of the game and gotten to grips with the games core mechanics we decided to crack some booster open, and yes, that’s when the hunt for Starscream began. Upon cracking the packs open and reading through the varied battle cards and how they’d relate to the impressive range of characters in the initial set I began to get a sense of the depth of the Transformers trading card game. 

To the cynical Transformers Trading Card Game may seem like a nostalgic cash grab but while nostalgia is certainly an added bonus for the game, it’s the blisteringly paced gameplay that will keep you coming back to battle fellow Transfans. With the Transformers TCG Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast (yes, those wizards, of D&D and MTG fame) have made a game that’s more than meets the eye at an initial glance. The Transformers universe is staggeringly huge and even with the spoilers I’ve for Booster Wave 3 (Siege) there’s still so much more for Wizards and Hasbro to explore within this game. I’d recommend Transformers the trading card game to players of all levels and TCG experience. It’s still early days of yet, so the game doesn’t have the same complexity as say Magic The Gathering but that doesn’t stop it from being a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

TCG fans…Roll Out!