How To Play Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG: A Beginners Guide - Gathering Games

How To Play Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG: A Beginners Guide

Yu-Gi-Oh! has claimed the hearts of millions around the world, be it in the anime form or the trading card game, it truly is a collectors dream. So whether you’re a seasoned veteran to the game or a newcomer wanting to get involved, at Gathering Games we’re here to help! The following is a basic guide on how the structure of the Yu-Gi-Oh! Game is played, of course there is much much more depth to be explored, but as a beginners guide it will give you the low-down.

Understand the Yu-Gi-Oh! Basics

Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG has been an immensely popular card game way back since 1999 in Japan or 2002, when it was introduced to the western world, if you’re into trading cards, this is one at Gathering Games we fully recommend you get on to!

Unlike certain other trading card games, Yu-Gi-Oh! is one of the best TCG around, in our humble opinion, due to the immense detail in the cards and sometimes simplicity of the game.

The goal of Yu-Gi-Oh! is to reduce your opponent's Life Points to zero by using various Monster, Spell, and Trap cards strategically. Each player starts with 8,000 Life Points, and the game ends when one player reaches zero.

Familiarise Yourself with the Cards

Yu-Gi-Oh! cards are divided into three main types: Monster cards, Spell cards, and Trap cards. Monster cards are the core of the game, representing creatures that duelists summon to battle each other. Spell cards provide various effects and abilities, while Trap cards are used to disrupt your opponent's strategies.

Learn the Turn Structure

A typical turn consists of six phases: Draw Phase, Standby Phase, Main Phase 1, Battle Phase, Main Phase 2, and End Phase. Understanding each phase will help you plan your moves strategically and maximise your resources.

Deck Construction

Build your deck with at least 40 cards, following the game's rules. Each deck must have a balanced mix of Monster, Spell, and Trap cards. You can create a themed deck or combine different card types to suit your play style.

Understanding Card Types

There are various types of Monster cards, including Normal, Effect, Ritual, Fusion, Synchro, Xyz, Pendulum, and Link. Each card type has specific rules and summoning methods. Take time to familiarise yourself with these card types to better utilise their abilities.


Summoning monsters is a crucial aspect of the game. Normal Summoning allows you to place a monster in Attack or Defence position, while Special Summoning involves using specific card effects to bring powerful creatures onto the field.

Spell and Trap Cards

Spell and Trap cards add depth to the game, allowing you to cast spells, activate effects, or set traps for your opponent. Timing and strategic placement of these cards can turn the tide of a duel.

Duelling Etiquette

Respect your opponent and follow proper duelling etiquette. Communicate clearly, ask for permission before touching your opponent's cards, and maintain a friendly and fair environment.

Practice and Improve

Yu-Gi-Oh! is a game of skill and strategy, so practise regularly to hone your skills. Participate in local tournaments or join online communities to test your deck, learn new strategies, and meet fellow duelists.

Stay Updated

As the game evolves, new cards, rules, and mechanics are introduced. Stay updated with the latest rulebooks, card releases, and official tournaments to ensure you're playing with the most recent rules.

At Gathering Games we completely love everything Yu-Gi-Oh! from collecting & trading to playing. So check out our vast collection of Yu-Gi-Oh! trading cards in the forms of our Core Set Boosters, Collectors Sets & Structure Decks.