Universal Fighting System
|Playing time||10–30 minutes|
The Universal Fighting System (UFS) is a collectible card game designed by Jasco Games.
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.
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.
UFS has multiple formats, they are standard, turbo, extended, legacy, draft, and sealed.
A UFS deck for standard, extended, and legacy 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. For turbo, a deck consists of exactly 41 cards (including the character) with the same restrictions of no more than four copies of a given card. Draft and sealed are a play environment where the card pool to build a deck from is a set of random booster packs. The minimum deck size for draft and sealed is the same as turbo except that a deck can have more than four copies of any given card.
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.
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 maneuvers and generate effects upon being played, allowing the player to use abilities that were held secret in their hand.
Card sets and products
Each license has an abbreviation used in the set number to indicate which universe the set is from. These abbreviations are:
- PA – Penny Arcade
- SF – Street Fighter
- SC – Soulcalibur III
- SNK – SNK Playmore (The King of Fighters 2006 and Samurai Shodown V)
- DS – Darkstalkers
- WH – Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning
- SW – ShadoWar (original property)
- SCIV – Soulcalibur IV
- T6 – Tekken 6
- RH – Red Horizon (original property)
- KoF – The King of Fighters XIII
- MM – Mega Man
- IN – World of Indines
- CPS - Capcom Platinum Series
- MK - Mortal Kombat
- CB - Cowboy Bebop
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.
|Set ID & Name||Release Date||Publisher||Set Size||Starter Deck Characters||Booster Characters|
|PA: Penny Arcade Battle Box||February 2006||Sabertooth Games||45||Gabe, Tycho||(none; fixed set)|
|SF01: Street Fighter||April 2006||Sabertooth Games||143||Chun Li, Dhalsim, Ken, Ryu||Chun Li, Dhalsim, Ken, Ryu, Sagat, Zangief|
|SC01: Soulcalibur III||April 2006||Sabertooth Games||143||Astaroth, Nightmare, Taki, Voldo||Astaroth, Cassandra, Mitsurugi, Nightmare, Taki, Voldo|
|SF02: World Warriors||July 2006||Sabertooth Games||126||(none; boosters only)||Balrog, Blanka, E. Honda, Guile, M. Bison, Vega|
|SC02: A Tale of Swords & Souls||July 2006||Sabertooth Games||126||(none; boosters only)||Ivy, Kilik, Raphael, Setsuka, Tira, Zasalamel|
|SCBP: Siegfried vs. Sophitia Battle Box||November 2006||Sabertooth Games||44||Siegfried, Sophitia||(none; fixed set)|
|SF03: The Next Level||December 2006||Sabertooth Games||90||(none; boosters only)||Akuma, Cammy, Dudley, Fei Long|
|SNK01: SNK Playmore||December 2006||Sabertooth Games||144||Haohmaru, Mai, Terry, Ukyo||Alba, Athena, Charlotte, Galford, Gaira, Hanzo, Iori, Kyo, Lien, Nagase, Nakoruru, Yoshitora|
|SF04: The Dark Path||February 2007||Sabertooth Games||144||Chun-Li, Ryu, T. Hawk, Twelve||Adon, Charlie, Chun-Li, Rose, Ryu, Sakura, T. Hawk, Twelve|
|SC03: Soul Arena||February 2007||Sabertooth Games||144||Abyss, Cervantes, Lizardman, Yoshimitsu||Abyss, Cervantes, Lizardman, Mitsurugi, Taki, Talim, Rock, Yoshimitsu|
|SF05: Extreme Rivals||May 2007||Sabertooth Games||90||(none; boosters only)||Cody, Dee Jay, Ibuki, Ken, R. Mika|
|SC04: Blades of Fury||May 2007||Sabertooth Games||90||(none; boosters only)||Maxi, Nightmare, Tira, Xianghua, Yun-seong|
|SFBP: Ryu vs. Akuma Battle Pack||July 2007||Sabertooth Games||44||Akuma, Ryu||(none; fixed set)|
|SC05: Higher Calibur||August 2007||Sabertooth Games||99||(none; boosters only)||Astaroth, Cassandra, Cervantes, Ivy, Seong Mi-na, Voldo|
|SNK02: Fortune & Glory||August 2007||Sabertooth Games||99||(none; boosters only)||Billy, Genjuro, Jubei, K', Luise, Mai, Nightmare Geese, Sankuro, Seth, Tam Tam, Ukyo|
|SF06: Fight for the Future||November 2007||Sabertooth Games||99||(none; boosters only)||Alex, Cammy, Chun-Li, Dhalsim, Gen, Gill, Guile|
|DS01: Darkstalkers||November 2007||Sabertooth Games||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||Sabertooth Games||144||Akuma, Ken, Sagat, Sakura||Blanka, Dan, Guy, Karin, M. Bison, Ryu, Sean, Yang, Yun, Zangief|
|SNK03: The Cutting Edge||February 2008||Sabertooth Games||144||Haohmaru, Mai, Rock Howard, Yoshitora||B. Jenet, Galford, Iori, Kula, Kyo, Kyoshiro, Nagase, Ninon, Rera, Yumeji,|
|SF08: Deadly Ground||June 2008||Fantasy Flight Games||99||(none; boosters only)||Adon, Cammy, Charlie, E. Honda, Fei Long, Ibuki, Juli, Juni, Makoto, Rose, Vega|
|DS02: Realm of Midnight||June 2008||Fantasy Flight Games||99||(none; boosters only)||Anakaris, Bishamon, Demitri, Donovan, Felicia, Hsien-Ko, Huitzil, J. Talbain, Jedah, Morrigan, Victor|
|WH: Warhammer Online||September 2008||Fantasy Flight Games||54||Karl Franz, Tchar'zanek||(none; fixed set)|
|SC06: Flash of the Blades||September 2008||Fantasy Flight Games||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||Fantasy Flight Games||99||(none; boosters only)||Alba, Chae, Fio, Hanzo, Jivatma, Leona, Maxima, Mignon, Soiree, Terry, Yuri|
|SF09: Warrior's Dream||December 2008||Fantasy Flight Games||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||Fantasy Flight Games||99||(none; boosters only)||Basara, Billy, Gaira, Kazuki, Kim, Nakoruru, Nightmare Geese, Ralf, Rock Howard, Sogetsu, Terry|
|SCIV01: Soulcalibur IV||April 2009||Fantasy Flight Games||144||Cervantes, Ivy, Nightmare, Siegfried||Algol, Astaroth, Hilde, Tira|
|SW01: ShadoWar||April 2009||Fantasy Flight Games||144||Astrid, Ragnar, Yi Shan, Zi Mei||Lu Chen, Rashotep, Temujin, Zhao Daiyu|
|T601 - Tekken 6||August 2009||Fantasy Flight Games||99||(none;boosters only)||Christie Montiero, Kazuya Mishima, King, Nina Williams, Paul Phoenix|
|SCIV02: Quest of Souls||November 2009||Fantasy Flight Games||99||(none; boosters only)||Amy, Mistsurugi, Taki, Yoshimitsu, Xianghua|
|RH01: Red Horizon||December 2010||Jasco Games||99||(none;boosters only)||Eva, Kaden, Lily, Miska, Nehtali, Reese|
|RH02: Tides of Vengeance||February 2012||Jasco Games||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||Jasco Games||40||(none;boosters only)||Clark, Mature, Mr. Karate, Saiki, Shen, Vice|
|KoF02: King of Fighters XIII||July 2013||Jasco Games||108||(none; boosters only)||Andy, Joe, Terry, Clark, Leona, Ralf, King, Mai, Yuri, Iori, Mature, Vice|
|KOF03: Ruler of Time||October 2013||Jasco Games||108||(none; boosters only)||Benimaru, Duo, Elisabeth, Goro, Hwa, K′, Kim, Kula, Maxima, Raiden, Shen|
|KOF04: NeoMax||January 2014||Jasco Games||108||(none; boosters only)||Ash, Athena, Chin, Iori, K′, Kyo, Mai, Robert, Ryo, Sie, Takuma, Terry|
|MM01: Mega Man Collector's Tins||April 2014||Jasco Games||75||Mega Man, Proto Man||Bomb Man, Cut Man, Elec Man, Fire Man, Guts Man, Ice Man|
|DS01: Darkstalkers Collector's Tins||September 2014||Jasco Games||77||Lilith, Morrigan||Anakaris, Donovan, Huitzil, Q-Bee, Sasquatch, Victor|
|MM02: Rise of the Masters||April 2015||Jasco Games||144||Mega Man, Dr. Wily||Air Man, Crash Man, Dr. Cossack, Gemini Man, Magnet Man, Metal Man, Pharaoh Man, Proto Man, Quick Man, Ring Man, Skull Man, Snake Man|
|DS02: Warriors of the Night||July 2015||Jasco Games||144||Felicia, J. Talbain||B.B. Hood, Bishamon, Demitri, Felicia, Hsien-Ko, J. Talbain, Jedah, Lord Raptor|
|IN01: World of Indines||May 2016||Jasco Games||99||Eligor, Runika, Hikaru, Cadenza, Khadath, Cherri, Shektur, Tatsumi||(none; fixed set)|
|MM03: Battle for Power||August 2016||Jasco Games||108||(none; boosters only)||Bass, Dr. Wily, Gyro Man, Knight Man, Mega Man, Napalm Man, Slash Man, Sword Man, Tengu Man, Tomahawk Man, Turbo Man, Yamato Man|
|RH03: Blood Omen||November 2016||Jasco Games||162||(none; boosters only)||Alice, Bælkhor, Gabrek, Heidi, Lily, Mei Lien, Miska, Morathi, Nehtali, Reese, Sasha, Satoshi, Sevastian, Ulrik, Vincent Grey|
|SF01: Street Fighter||June 2017||Jasco Games||189||Ryu, Chun-Li||Akuma, Balrog, Blanka, Cammy, Dee Jay, Dhalsim, E. Honda, Fei Long, Guile, Juri, Ken, M. Bison, Sagat, Sakura, T. Hawk, Vega, Zangief|
|CPS01: Capcom Platinum Series||November 2017||Jasco Games||246||(none; boosters only - all cards are foil)||Bubble Man, Drill Man, Plant Man, Shadow Man, Sheep Man, Splash Woman, Stone Man, Wood Man, Demitri, Gemini Man, Huitzil, Napalm Man, Skull Man|
|CB01: Cowboy Bebop||January 2018||Jasco Games||145||Spike, Vicious||Asimov and Katerina, Edward and Ein, Faye, Jet, Mad Pierrot, Spike, Twinkle Murdock|
|MK01: Mortal Kombat X||July 2018||Jasco Games||189||Sub-Zero, Scorpion||Cassie Cage, D'Vorah, Ermac, Erron Black, Goro, Jacqui Briggs, Johnny Cage, Kitana, Kotal Kahn, Kung Jin, Liu Kang, Mileena, Quan Chi, Raiden, Reptile, Takeda|
|SFDS01: Street Fighter vs Darkstalkers||TBA||Jasco Games||TBA||TBA||TBA|
Card rarity and distribution
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)|
|~||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 have been foiled since and with the release of MM02: Rise of the Masters all rares have also been foiled.
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 rotated one major set at a time with each new release.
The current sets legal in Standard are:
- KoF03: Ruler of Time
- KoF04: NeoMax
- MM01: Mega Man Collector's Tins
- DS01: Darkstalkers Collector's Tins
- MM02: Rise of the Masters
- DS02: Warriors of the Night
- INO01: World of Indines
- Tri Swords Promos
- Champion III Promos
- MM03: Battle for Power
- RH03: Blood Omen
- SF01: Street Fighter
- Champion IV Promos
The current sets legal in Turbo are:
- INO01: World of Indines
- MM03: Battle for Power
- RH03: Blood Omen
- SF01: Street Fighter
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 in Las Vegas.
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.
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 at some point.
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
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:
|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)||Garett Brett||Dave Wagoner||Keith Disbro|
|2015||(Not held)||Garett Brett||Ben Shoemaker||Garett Brett|
|2016||(Not held)||Grant Padley||Phil Birch||Garett Brett|
|2017||(Not held)||Kevin Broberg||Daniel Hughes||Tim Keefe|
|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)||Squishy Wizards||Lion Stance||Team Tapout|
|2015||(Not held)||TBD||Rochester CCG||Lion Stance|
|2016||(Not held)||Team 2 Chumps and Dave||Caught Rod Handed||Rochester CCG Presents: Canadian Heel Turn|
|2017||(Not held)||Team The PG Beard, The Baddie and The Big Guy||Team Fiddlestix||Black Bear Diner|
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