Transformers Trading Card Game
A trading card game themed in the Transformers franchise. Soft released in July 2018 at Gen-con and San Diego Comic-con where the exclusive Decepticon (bad guy) starter set could be purchased, later released for the general public in September 2018 with the Autobot (good guy) starter set and the Metroplex (big good guy that turns into a fucking city) theme deck could be purchased.
The game is generally considered a fairly successful new game, designed to be fast paced enough that multiple sessions can be played in succession and garnering very positive reviews on tabletop gaming websites.
Wave 1 consists of the basics of the game as well as non-Combiner teams, and predictably Wave 2 which is called "Rise of the Combiners" centers around Combiners with the added surprise of Triple Changers.
There's no limit to how many character cards you can pack into a deck, instead relying on a "star value" assigned to each card with your standard game being set at a maximum of 25 stars, with no repeats of characters of the same name. The rest of a deck are any combination of "Battle Cards" to a minimum of 40 and only 3 repeats allowed of any given card.
Each character has two forms, and you flip the card over to transform them. Some characters come in teams and can combine into a large and powerful character. The game uses Tap mechanics for indicating which cards still have actions. You begin the game with three Battle Cards and draw an additional one each turn. Each turn you may transform one of your characters, play one upgrade card, and play one action card. Upgrades come in three categories, and if you play one on a character who already has an upgrade of that type it replaces the old one.
To attack, you choose one of your characters and Tap them then choose one of your opponent's Tapped characters. If none are Tapped you can choose any of them to be your target. Then both players flip two cards from their Battle Card decks; if any of those cards have a white icon then that player draws and additional two (but no more than those two). All orange icons are added to the attacker's attack, all blue icons are added to the defender's defense. After subtracting the defense from the attack, the defender takes the result as damage.
If the defending player has any Untapped characters the attacker's turn then ends. Otherwise the attacker keeps attacking until all their own characters are Tapped. All Battle Cards used for combat are discarded, and all characters on both sides are put in the Untapped state.
The game ends when all characters are knocked out. When the Battle Card deck runs out the discard pile is reshuffled and put back into play as the deck again.
Your choice of Autobot or Decepticon doesn't really matter, the rules don't forbid mixing factions although some upgrades are only for specific sides.
A Combiner is a special single character card which is made up of multiple individual characters. As one would imagine, the Combiner results from arranging the cards together on their alt mode. Obviously if one component character is knocked out, you can't form a Combiner anymore (technically in the original cartoon they got it to work but were crippled by having only one arm, in subsequent media it hasn't worked since they need to link minds). Triple Changers are special characters who have two different alt modes on the back of their card.
As the game is still in its infancy there's not a lot of complex strategy to be had yet, although deckbuilding falls into three general philosophies; building a deck around a few heavy-hitters requires upgrades to favor them and your choices should orient towards an even mix of attack and defense. A deck with a fair amount of characters should be selected in favor of high defense cards, and a deck full of as many characters as you can pack in will need strong attacks to punch through the enemy.
Currently the meta favors the Insecticon combos, and the Metroplex deck is fairly competitive straight out of the box.