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Game Review

Dragonball Z
Collectible Card Game

Ages 11 and up
Game © 2000 Score.
game packages

2+ Players30+ minutes


Act out the fighting seen in the Dragonball Z tv show.


Each player chooses which character they want to play. In the standard game, one player must choose to be a hero, and the other, a villain. The Hero goes first.

Turns flow in the following order:

  1. Draw 3 cards.

  2. Play non-combat cards.

  3. Raise the character's power (PUR) level

  4. Start combat (if you wish)

  5. Discard down to 1 card in your hand

  6. If you didn't enter combat, return the 1 top discard to the bottom your deck.

The most important phase of the game is Combat. When combat is started, the defender draws 3 cards. The attacker announces this/her attack, whether it is a physical or an energy attack, and the defender blocks it or takes damage. Then the defender is allowed to counter attack. The fight goes back and forth until neither player can attack (usually because they have no more cards in their hand.)

Damage is resolved 2 ways -- For a physical attack, the attacker's power is compared to the defender. Players then consult a chart to determine how many points od damage were inflicted. For each point, the defender's power level is reduced 1 step until it hits zero. After it is at zero, cards are discarded from the deck. Energy attacks automatically cause 2 discards unless the card says otherwise -- but they don't reduce the defender's power level.

The game ends when one player runs out of cards.

The primary way to increase your character's strength is through "anger." Many attacks raise the character's anger. The level of anger is monitored on the black sword counter -- when the level reaches 5, the character immediately raises his/her power to the next level (a second power card) and is at full power. Anger is a huge advantage when fighting, because it makes the charater a lot stronger to inflict more damage during Combat.

The second common way to win is to achieve the top power level for any character in the game. You cannot win this way, if your opponent can reach a higher level over all.

game in play -- Hero Goku

Winning Conditions:

  • Opponent runs out of cards

  • or
  • achieve top power level

  • or
  • capture all 7 dragonballs

game in play -- Villain Raditz

Our Opinion:

Thumbs Down!Both the Baroness and I are avid Dragonball Z fans. This game is, not surprisingly, trying to capitalize on the fanbase of the tv show.

All in all, the game plays just like an episode of the tv show. One character beats on the other for a while, then suddenly the other character gets angry enough to boost their power to the next level and then proceeds to pound the opponent back. Is it balanced? Not really -- but it is just like the tv show.

The cards themselves are illustrated with pictures from the show, but they don't do anything special artistically. A lot of investment would be required in order to have a "good" chance of consistently winning. Of course, the goal of this is to get you to buy cards -- not play better.

Certain cards are better to use than others, and any card that changes anger is a good one to play. We have played this several times and believe that raising your character's anger level quickly is probably the best strategy. The game isn't fun while you are getting pounded on, but it does feel good to strike back when you can.

We like the show, but the game isn't that great. Certain cards become too vague -- for instance as "Goku," I can play a card that raises "Gohan's" anger level even when "Gohan" isn't in the game. Should it affect "Goku" instead, since he played the card? The rules don't say -- and it doesn't make sense in most cases. Further, many cards are unavailable for the Villains to use (specifically most allies)-- but the Hero only misses out on a few.

The game has too many rules questions -- plus, in combat players must constantly refer to a chart in the rule book -- a poor game design choice for a card game. If the cards cannot specify the damage easily, then the game isn't written well. As we said before, this game matches the tv show -- but it isn't very balanced.

In short, don't buy this game unless you truly love Dragonball Z -- it has vague rules, limited appeal and if you watch the show, you'll know which characters will win in most fights.

Where to buy:

Any local toy or card collector store, we have seen some in Video stores, too -- Each starter deck costs about $10.

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