The Dragon Ball Z card game is a very complex game involving the collectible Dragon Ball Z cards. The game was designed to reflect the anime TV show as accurately as possible. It has Heroes and Villains facing off against one another, building strength, fighting each other and trying to capture all seven of the Dragon Balls. There are even multiple ways to win the game. The rules are complex, but some basics will help you begin playing for the first time.
All players select a Main Personality they will play in the game. They then remove all personality cards from their decks, discard all of those not related to their Main Personality and place their personality cards face up on the table in the order of the cards' levels. There should be at least three Personality level cards for a basic game, plus a promotional fourth level card if it was collected. The players announce the highest level of their personality; if any player is claiming a favorite fighting style advantage (a "Tokui-Waza"), they announce it now. They then set the power stage on their lowest level Personality card at five stages higher than zero, using the Scouter. After shuffling their decks, they set their Warrior Sword counters to zero and start the game.
The Hero player goes first in the game. The players draw three cards from their deck on their turns. They may activate non-combat cards (including Ally cards) at this time by placing them face up on the table, and then they can play them if they choose. After following the instructions on a non-combat card, they must discard that card unless it's a Drill or Dragon Ball card or the card says otherwise. They then power up their main personality and Allies, which is tracked on the scouter; a Main Personality powers up the number of stages equal to its Power Up Rating, while Allies power up one stage. Players can now choose to attack at this time or end their turn. At the end of a turn, each player discards all but one card from his hand; if he didn't attack, one of those discards goes back into the deck at the bottom. The player to the left of the Hero player goes next.
Power stages and anger can cause a player to increase in level. The Scourer tracks power stages and the Warrior Sword counter tracks anger. Power stages increase with each turn, while card effects can raise anger. Whenever the power stages exceed the highest of the current level or the anger reaches five, the Personality moves up to the next level. The Warrior Sword (anger) is always reset to zero after leveling up. If a Personality leveled up from anger, the power stage moves up to the highest stage of the new level. Players generally keep track of their levels by laying the current Personality level card face up, with the other levels face down below it.
When a player chooses to attack an opponent, the player being attacked (defender) draws three cards. You can attack a player by playing a combat card from your hand, using a face-up non-combat card if it benefits an attack, using a power from your Main Personality card or discarding a card from your hand to activate a Final Physical Attack. The defender can try to block the attack with a combat card from her hand, a face-up non-combat card or a Personality card power. Damage taken by the defender can result in any of three things: reducing power stages, reducing anger and/or discarding cards from the deck. The defender can now choose to fight back, becoming the attacker (all of the rules apply). Combat continues until both players pass on attacking; at this point the original attacker's turn ends.
You can win the game by outlasting the other players, who are eliminated when all cards in their deck are discarded. You can also win by raising your main Personality to its highest level; however, if any player's highest level is higher than that of the others in the game, only that player can win this way. The other way to win is by capturing all seven Dragon Ball cards and placing them all face up in front of you. You can take a Dragon Ball card from a player if your attack caused the player to discard five cards from the deck. Certain Allies can also capture a Dragon Ball by attacking a Main Personality that results in discarding one card; they can take the Dragon Ball instead of forcing the discard. There are also capture cards that allow a player to capture a Dragon Ball.