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The mechanics of this game differ from Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game, because this game was being produced at the same time as the game was being transferred over from the manga, and the rules used here are some one of the original rules considered for the TCG. These differences are also contiguous with the PS2 game Yu-Gi-Oh! The Duelists of the Roses, but are not the same. The main differences are:
- All Monster Cards in this game are Normal Monster Cards.
- With the exception of Ritual Summons, you are not required to Tribute monsters to Normal Summon Level 5 or higher monsters (just like in the Duelist Kingdom arc of the anime).
- A card can placed either face-up or face-down, in either Attack or Defense Position. A monster can even be played in face-down Attack Position.
- The player cannot control the activation of his/her Trap Cards (almost akin to "implied" rules for Trap Cards in the second series anime). A Trap Card will activate as soon as its conditions for activation are met.
- A Main Deck must consist of exactly 40 cards.
- At the start of each player's turn, he/she draws from his or her Deck until his/her hand consists of five cards; if he/she cannot, the player loses the duel.
- The player must play at least one card to the field after drawing. This must consist of either a single card or a fusion/Equipment. After playing this card(s), the player cannot play any more cards from their hand for that turn.
- Cards can be "fused" in the hand without the card "Polymerization"; the player can fuse any amount of his/her cards together and in any order, but the chance of a "successful" fusion (where a new Monster, Spell or Trap Card is made, or when a monster is strengthened) depends on the cards that the player is fusing and the order of the cards used. Only two cards can be fused at once, so monsters that require three monsters to create (such as Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon or Gate Guardian) require a Ritual to be used instead.
- When any Spell or Trap Card is equipped with a monster that is not compatible, the Spell or Trap Card is discarded and the monster is unaffected.
- After a fusion, cards can only be played face-up, but you can still select Attack or Defense Position.
- Monster Cards must select one of two "Guardian Stars", which allow a monster to gain five hundred ATK and DEF points if it has chosen a superior alignment against its opposing card; these alignments are taken directly from cosmic bodies and are arranged as follows (> means "is superior to"):
- Mercury > Sun > Moon > Venus > Mercury
- Mars > Jupiter > Saturn > Uranus > Pluto > Neptune > Mars
The following example is used in the manual: "when "Gaia the Dragon Champion" (AP:2600) chooses Mercury and attacks "Blue-Eyes White Dragon" (AP:3000 and in attack position, with Sun as the alignment), "Gaia" has his AP increased to 3100, making it possible to defeat "Blue-Eyes White Dragon".
- The Guardian Stars selected represent the Attribute and the Type of the monster. In the 3-D battle sequence the attack the monster uses depends on the guardian star selected. For example when you summon Meteor B. Dragon you are given the choice of Sun or Mars. Choosing Mars will cause Meteor B. Dragon to use a Fire Attack and give it an attack bonus against Jupiter (typically plant-type) monsters. If the player chooses Sun instead, "Meteor B. Dragon" will use a Light Attack with an attack bonus against the Moon.
- Mercury typically represents Dark Spellcasters and Dark Warriors.
- Sun typically represents Light monsters, specially Fairies.
- Moon typically represents Dark monsters, specially Fiends and Zombies.
- Venus typically represents "Illusory" monsters (most of them are Spellcasters, Fiends or Fairies)
- Mars typically represents Fire monsters.
- Jupiter typically represents Forest creatures, such as Beasts, Beast-Warriors, Insects and Plants.
- Saturn typically represents Wind monsters
- Uranus typically represents Rock monsters and Earth Warriors.
- Pluto typically represents Machines and Thunder-type monsters.
- Neptune typically represents Water monsters.
- During the Battle Phase, after attacking and before damage is calculated, pressing square will take the player to a polygonic action battle screen.
- Cards that cannot be used at that time are darkened (once a monster has attacked, its card darkens.)
- Pressing start will end the player's turn.