Chapter 2 of Learning Transformers
How to Play the Transformers TCG

Learning Transformers is a series of tutorial videos and blogs that teach the Transformers Trading Card Game. This game is the latest from Wizards of the Coast, and features battles between Autobots and Decepticons wrapped in the original, iconic 80s art style! This guide is updated continuously to provide the most current information.

The Transformers TCG is a game you can easily learn by watching others play! In the video below, we play through a game of Transformers and break down many of the rules along the way.

As you will see in the video, every game of Transformers is made up of multiple rounds. Each round, consists of a series of turns, alternating between each player. The flow of every turn is pretty simple:

  1. Draw a card.
  2. You may do each of the following once, in any order: flip a Transformer to bot or alt mode, play one action, play one upgrade.
  3. Perform an attack.
  4. If your opponent has any untapped Transformers, it is now their turn. If your opponent does not have any untapped Transformers, you continue performing attacks (not repeating steps 1-3) until all of your Transformers are tapped. Once every Transformer is tapped, both players untap all of their Transformers and it is now your opponents turn.

During an attack, the attacker and defender flip two cards from their deck. In the top right corner of every card is a number of pips that are either orange, blue, green, and grey. If you are attacking, you add one to your attack stat for every orange pip flipped, if you are defending, you add one for every blue pip, and the first grey that you flip lets you flip an additional two cards from the top of your deck.

If the attack total is greater than the defense total, damage is dealt to the defending Transformer equal to the difference. For example, if your base attack is 5 and you add 2 orange pips your total attack is 7. If the defending Transformer has an armor of 2 and flipped 2 blue pips, their total is 4. This would result in a total of 3 damage to the defending Transformer.

Once a Transformers has received damage equal to or greater than their health, they are defeated. Whenever only one player has Transformers on the table, they win the game!

A round ends whenever all Transformers are tapped. Whenever one player has tapped all of their Transformers, the other player gets to take one more turn. During this turn, they take the steps listed above with one exception. Instead of performing a single attack, they can now attack with every untapped Transformer!

It is worth noting that when you are performing an attack, you must attack a tapped Transformer if able. If all of your opponent’s Transformers are untapped or tapped, you choose who to attack.

One thing to notice is that Transformers is following in the footsteps of other more modern game systems in that it completely does away with resources. This streamlines the action and makes teaching much, much easier, but it can be confusing for players who are used to more traditional game design.

Two of the most relevant aspects of the system are 1) the abilities and stat lines associated with each side of a Transformer and 2) the rule that forces an attacker to choose his or her target from among tapped defenders.

Correctly timing when you flip and attack with certain Transformers based on their abilities and stats is one of the most critical things to master as you dive further into the game. This is a good thing – if transforming from vehicles to robots is not front and center, Transformers is not exactly living up to its promise!

Dictating your opponent’s attacks and spreading out their damage through careful consideration of the order in which you attack is another key facet of the game. There is a nice tension when evaluating your attacker options, as every attack leaves you more vulnerable for the rest of the turn. Do you launch a weaker attack in order to force your opponent to attack a tougher model? Or do you go all out with your best Transformer and leave it open to devastating counter attacks?

If this seems like a game you would enjoy, we cover everything you need to know to jump into the game in The Transformers TCG Buyers Guide!

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