Universal Fighting System

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Universal Fighting System
Designer(s) Ryan Miller
Publisher(s) Jasco Games
Players 2
Age range 13 and up
Playing time 10-30 minutes
Random chance Some

The Universal Fighting System (UFS) is a collectible card game originally designed by Sabertooth Games in 2006, and later sold to Fantasy Flight Games in 2008. In 2010, it was again sold to Jasco Games, who have been designing and publishing the game ever since.

Games of UFS represent a fight between two characters in hand-to-hand combat. Characters are drawn from original properties as well as a number of licensed ones, such as Mega Man, The King of Fighters XIII and Darkstalkers. The sets are cross-compatible - cards from multiple licenses can be included in the same deck, and characters from different universes may face each other in a match.

Gameplay[edit]

Players begin a game of UFS with a character card in play. This is the character they have chosen to fight as. A player's character determines their hand size, starting vitality, and grants unique abilities which a deck is typically built to make use of. The primary objective of the game is to reduce the opponent's vitality to 0.

Unlike most CCGs, a game of UFS does not involve monsters or other creatures. Damage is dealt by playing attack cards, which the opponent will have an opportunity to try to block with a card from their hand. An attack has different properties such as speed (how hard it is to block), the damage it will deal, and a zone that the opponent's block must match to stop all of the damage. Attacks also have various abilities on them, and may be enhanced by abilities on other cards.

A second major departure from other CCGs is that the costing system in UFS is not static. In order to play a card in UFS, players must pass what is called a "control check". This entails discarding the top card of one's deck, and comparing its control value (in the lower right) to the difficulty of the card he or she is trying to play. If the control is greater than or equal to the difficulty needed, the card is played at no cost. Otherwise, the player must "commit" (turn sideways) a number of foundation cards (the second major card type) equal to the difference, or else the card fails to be played and is discarded.

During a turn, each card attempted gets +1 difficulty for each card before it, and the turn player may continue trying to play cards until one of them fails (failing a card ends the turn). So, the cost of a card can vary from zero to several resources, depending on when it is played during a turn and the value of the control check.

Players draw cards up to their character's hand size at the start of each turn, so the typical turn of UFS involves around 3 to 5 cards played by the turn player, plus some number of blocks by the opponent if attacks were played.

Between the sheer number of cards played, (nearly all of which have an ability or two) the risk-reward decisions inherent in the control check system, and the unknown nature of what blocks or attacks the opponent might have, UFS is higher in complexity than most other CCGs, and the skill-luck balance leans more strongly towards skill.

Deck Construction[edit]

A UFS deck consists of a minimum of 60 cards (including the character), and no more than four copies of a given card may be in a deck. Due to the large number of cards drawn during a typical game, it is common for decks to exceed the 60 card minimum in order to increase the variety of cards available.

Deckbuilding in UFS is restricted by the resource symbol system. Each card typically has 3 symbols on it representing various elements or concepts. When playing cards during a turn, there must be a symbol that is on every card played, and also on the player's character. Therefore, it is normal when deckbuilding to choose a symbol on the character, and include in the deck only cards that have that symbol.

Card Types[edit]

There are five different card types in UFS, indicated by the color of their border and other traits:

  • Characters - A card representing the combatant a player is fighting as. This is the centerpiece of a deck.
  • Attacks - Attacks have an orange border. They represent punches, kicks, weapon strikes, and other moves used to deal damage to the opponent.
  • Foundations - Foundations have a grey border. They represent a character's training and background, and are the primary resource used to help play cards successfully.
  • Assets - Assets have a green border. They represent locations or objects, and provide abilities more powerful than those on foundations.
  • Actions - Actions have a blue border. They represent various manuevers and generate effects upon being played, allowing the player to use abilities that were held secret in their hand.

Card sets and products[edit]

Each license has an abbreviation used in the set number to indicate which universe the set is from. These abbreviations are:

Under Sabertooth Games and early on under Fantasy Flight Games, sets were released very rapidly, and were poorly balanced. Release frequency was slowed by FFG in 2009. In the beginning of its time under Jasco Games, UFS releases were slow due to printing issues and the building up of a new company, but they have recently returned to releasing a set every 3 to 5 months.

Universal Fighting System card sets
Set ID & Name Release Date Set Size Starter Deck Characters Booster Characters
PA: Penny Arcade Battle Box February 2006 45 Gabe, Tycho (none; fixed set)
SF01: Street Fighter April 2006 143 Chun Li, Dhalsim, Ken, Ryu Chun Li, Dhalsim, Ken, Ryu, Sagat, Zangief
SC01: Soulcalibur III April 2006 143 Astaroth, Nightmare, Taki, Voldo Astaroth, Cassandra, Mitsurugi, Nightmare, Taki, Voldo
SF02: World Warriors July 2006 126 (none; boosters only) Balrog, Blanka, E. Honda, Guile, M. Bison, Vega
SC02: A Tale of Swords & Souls July 2006 126 (none; boosters only) Ivy, Kilik, Raphael, Setsuka, Tira, Zasalamel
SCBP: Siegfried vs. Sophitia Battle Box November 2006 44 Siegfried, Sophitia (none; fixed set)
SF03: The Next Level December 2006 90 (none; boosters only) Akuma, Cammy, Dudley, Fei Long
SNK01: SNK Playmore December 2006 144 Haohmaru, Mai, Terry, Ukyo Alba, Athena, Charlotte, Galford, Gaira, Hanzo, Iori, Kyo, Lien, Nagase, Nakoruru, Yoshitora
SF04: The Dark Path February 2007 144 Chun-Li, Ryu, T. Hawk, Twelve Adon, Charlie, Chun-Li, Rose, Ryu, Sakura, T. Hawk, Twelve
SC03: Soul Arena February 2007 144 Abyss, Cervantes, Lizardman, Yoshimitsu Abyss, Cervantes, Lizardman, Mitsurugi, Taki, Talim, Rock, Yoshimitsu
SF05: Extreme Rivals May 2007 90 (none; boosters only) Cody, Dee Jay, Ibuki, Ken, R. Mika
SC04: Blades of Fury May 2007 90 (none; boosters only) Maxi, Nightmare, Tira, Xianghua, Yun-seong
SFBP: Ryu vs. Akuma Battle Pack July 2007 44 Akuma, Ryu (none; fixed set)
SC05: Higher Calibur August 2007 99 (none; boosters only) Astaroth, Cassandra, Cervantes, Ivy, Seong Mi-na, Voldo
SNK02: Fortune & Glory August 2007 99 (none; boosters only) Billy, Genjuro, Jubei, K', Luise, Mai, Nightmare Geese, Sankuro, Seth, Tam Tam, Ukyo
SF06: Fight for the Future November 2007 99 (none; boosters only) Alex, Cammy, Chun-Li, Dhalsim, Gen, Gill, Guile
DS01: Darkstalkers November 2007 126 (none; boosters only) B.B. Hood, Bishamon, Demitri, Donovan, Felicia, J. Talbain, Lilith, Lord Raptor, Morrigan, Pyron, Q-Bee, Rikuo, Sasquatch, Victor
SF07: Domination February 2008 144 Akuma, Ken, Sagat, Sakura Blanka, Dan, Guy, Karin, M. Bison, Ryu, Sean, Yang, Yun, Zangief
SNK03: The Cutting Edge February 2008 144 Haohmaru, Mai, Rock Howard, Yoshitora B. Jenet, Galford, Iori, Kula, Kyo, Kyoshiro, Nagase, Ninon, Rera, Yumeji,
SF08: Deadly Ground June 2008 99 (none; boosters only) Adon, Cammy, Charlie, E. Honda, Fei Long, Ibuki, Juli, Juni, Makoto, Rose, Vega
DS02: Realm of Midnight June 2008 99 (none; boosters only) Anakaris, Bishamon, Demitri, Donovan, Felicia, Hsien-Ko, Huitzil, J. Talbain, Jedah, Morrigan, Victor
WH: Warhammer Online September 2008 54 Karl Franz, Tchar'zanek (none; fixed set)
SC06: Flash of the Blades September 2008 99 (none; boosters only) Kilik, Lizardman, Mitsurugi, Raphael, Seong Mi-na, Setsuka, Siegfried, Sophitia, Taki, Talim, Zasalamel
SNK04: The King of Fighters 2006 September 2008 99 (none; boosters only) Alba, Chae, Fio, Hanzo, Jivatma, Leona, Maxima, Mignon, Soiree, Terry, Yuri
SF09: Warrior's Dream December 2008 99 (none; boosters only) Alex, Balrog, Chun Li, Dhalsim, Elena, Guile, Hugo, M. Bison, R. Mika, Remy, T. Hawk
SNK05: Flames of Fame December 2008 99 (none; boosters only) Basara, Billy, Gaira, Kazuki, Kim, Nakoruru, Nightmare Geese, Ralf, Rock Howard, Sogetsu, Terry
SCIV01: Soulcalibur IV April 2009 144 Cervantes, Ivy, Nightmare, Siegfried Algol, Astaroth, Hilde, Tira
SW01: ShadoWar April 2009 144 Astrid, Ragnar, Yi Shan, Zi Mei Lu Chen, Rashotep, Temujin, Zhao Daiyu
T601 - Tekken 6 August 2009 99 (none;boosters only) Christie Montiero, Kazuya Mishima, King, Nina Williams, Paul Phoenix
SCIV02: Quest of Souls November 2009 99 (none; boosters only) Amy, Mistsurugi, Taki, Yoshimitsu, Xianghua
RH01: Red Horizon December 2010 99 (none;boosters only) Eva, Kaden, Lily, Miska, Nehtali, Reese
RH02: Tides of Vengeance February 2012 176 Nehtali, Satoshi, Vincent Grey, Vespera Alice, Allahra, Gabrek, Kaden, Omniel, Syrithe Super Skull Man 33, Zoey
KoF01: King of Fighters XIII Prize Set August 2012 40 (none;boosters only) Clark, Mature, Mr. Karate, Saiki, Shen, Vice
KoF02: King of Fighters XIII July 2013 108 (none; boosters only) Andy, Joe, Terry, Clark, Leona, Ralf, King, Mai, Yuri, Iori, Mature, Vice
KOF03: Ruler of Time October 2013 108 (none; boosters only) Benimaru, Duo, Elisabeth, Goro, Hwa, K′, Kim, Kula, Maxima, Raiden, Shen
KOF04: NeoMax January 2014 108 (none; boosters only) Ash, Athena, Chin, Iori, K′, Kyo, Mai, Robert, Ryo, Sie, Takuma, Terry
MM01: Mega Man Collector's Tins April 2014 75 Mega Man, Proto Man Bomb Man, Cut Man, Elec Man, Fire Man, Guts Man, Ice Man
DS04: Darkstalkers Collector's Tins September 2014 77 Lilith, Morrigan Anakaris, Donovan, Huitzil, Q-Bee, Sasquatch, Victor
MM02: Rise of the Masters Winter 2015 (estimated) 144 Mega Man, Dr. Wily Gemini Man, Magnet Man, Metal Man, Proto Man, Skull Man
DS05: Warriors of the Night Spring 2015 (estimated) 144 Felicia, J. Talbain not announced
RH03: The East is Burning Red Summer 2015 (estimated) 144 not announced not announced

Card rarity and distribution[edit]

Each card has rarity information printed along the bottom to indicate how common it is. The rarity was previously denoted by the number of small dots appearing at the bottom of the card, according to the following legend. More recently, the dots have been replaced by the relevant letter.

or C Common
•• or UC Uncommon
••• (non-foil) or SE Starter deck exclusive
••• (foil) or R Rare
•••• or UR Ultra Rare or Promotional (dots only)
P Promotional
~ Reprint (Battle Packs only)

Starter decks under Jasco Games are fixed, with around half the deck being "starter exclusive" cards that do not appear in booster packs.

In each 10-card booster pack, there are 6 commons and 3 uncommons, with the remaining card being either rare or ultra-rare. Roughly 1 out of every 4 packs contains an ultra-rare.

All rares and ultra-rares were foiled, up until Tekken 6 when this practice was stopped. Foiled cards returned with the release of The King of Fighters XIII, all ultra-rare cards (but not rares) have been foiled since.

Set rotation[edit]

As with most CCGs, UFS rotates sets out of its standard format to keep it fresh and to avoid requiring new players to have to get much older cards. Typically, a UFS set will be legal in Standard for about 3 years. Sets are currently rotated in groups, but Jasco has indicated that they will eventually rotate one major set at a time.

The current sets legal in Standard are:

  • RH01: Red Horizon (expected to rotate Spring 2015)
  • RH02: Tides of Vengeance (expected to rotate Spring 2015)
  • KoF01: King of Fighters XIII Prize Packs (expected to rotate Spring 2015)
  • KoF02: King of Fighters XIII
  • KoF03: Ruler of Time
  • KoF04: NeoMax
  • MM01: Mega Man Collector's Tins
  • DS03: Darkstalkers Collector's Tins

Organized Play[edit]

UFS holds National Championships for the USA and UK each year, and in some years one in Canada. There is also a UFS World Championship held every year at Gencon.

Aside from those events, there is a second tier of major events called PTCs (standing for Pro Tour Circuit). Despite the name, these events (as well as National and World Championships) do not require qualification - anybody with a legal deck can enter.

PTCs are held sporadically throughout the year in various locations, typically local hobby shops that have some of the larger UFS playerbases. The prize for a PTC is a plane voucher to be used to travel to a National or World Championships, and a first round bye to be used at one such event.

Aside from Standard, formats such as Teams Standard (3 versus 3), Extended (cards from 2008, and later 2009 on) and Legacy (all sets) have been supported to varying degrees at the National and World Championship level.

Legacy was supported from 2010 through early 2014, but has been dropped due to time constraints and the extreme barrier to entry. Extended (allowing cards from 2008 on) was supported at the World Championships in 2010 and 2011, but was dropped due to being an incredibly negative play experience. It is expected to return, allowing cards from 2009 on, at some point in 2015.

Starting with King of Fighters XIII, sets of UFS have been structured to allow for drafting to be a feasible format. Players draft using 6 packs, and build 40 card decks. After the draft, they may select any character card from the set to use as their starting character. The only special gameplay rules are that mulligans are shuffled into the deck, and only 3 cards are removed from the game upon cycling.

The Coolest Prize in Gaming[edit]

As the prize for its National and World Championships, UFS offers what they call The Coolest Prize in Gaming. The winner gets to be turned into a tournament legal promotional character card, which they have a hand in helping design.

Team champions receive asset cards, while Legacy and Extended winners receive foundation and actions cards respectively. The latter two formats have not always been supported. The following tables list the winners of the various Standard and Teams events:

UFS Standard Champions
Year Canadian National Champion UK National Champion US National Champion World Champion
2006 (not held) (not held) Wes 'Flawless' Victory Matt Kohls
2007 Jacky Tang Scott Mence James Hata Andrew Olexa
2008 Jonathan Herr JJ Omar Chavez James Hata
2009 Kirk Polka Joe Hill Mike Lowe Paul Bittner
2010 (not held) (not held) Ben Shoemaker Andrew Olexa
2011 (not held) Jack Lambourne (not held) Keenan Meadows
2012 Phil Birch Mike Hardiman Garett Brett Paul Bittner
2013 Kevin Broberg Garett Brett Tim Keefe Jeremy Ray
2014 (not held) TBD Dave Wagoner Keith Disbro
UFS Team Champions
Year Canadian National Team Champions UK National Team Champions US National Team Champions World Team Champions
2007 (not held) Pigeon Games Fantasy Shop Kings Games
2008 (not held) Patriot Games Voltron Kitten Force Voltron Kitten Force
2009 (not held) (not held) UFS House UFS House
2010 (not held) (not held) Zealot Rush (not held)
2011 (not held) Team Traybake (not held) Lion Stance
2012 Millenium Games and Hobbies Team Traybake Nailed It!!! Surprise! It's the Boss
2013 (not held) Team Clark n' B*tches Voltron Kitten Force Voltron Kitten Force
2014 (not held) TBD Lion Stance Team Tapout

References[edit]

External links[edit]