Greetings everyone! Some time ago I wrote an article about the differences between digital and “real life” card games. One of the main advantages of some digital CCG is the fact that they are free to play so you don’t have to spend hundreds of bucks to build a decent deck. Yu-gi-oh is one of those TCG’s, if you want to win. you have to constantly spend money trying to keep up with the meta. Fortunately, there are 2 solid ways ( known to me ) of playing Yu-gi-oh online, completely for free and without any limitations. Let me explain how to do it and then it’s up to you to decide which one to use.
Duelling Network is an online, unofficial Flash-based simulation of Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game. It was created by Christopher Salvarani on March 3, 2006 and officially released on May 17, 2011.
The biggest benefit of DN is its accessibility: you can play from any PC that has internet connection, no download required, just go to http://www.duelingnetwork.com, insert your username and password and you are ready to play.
There are 2 game modes here – unrated (normal) and rated. In unrated you are free to choose you opponent from the list, while rated will automatically pair you up with an opponent of similar skill. You can choose to play either a single or a match game (best of 3). You can also watch other people duel or play a traditional game in which all forbidden cards are limited.
Deck Constructor is well made, it features nice filter system and ( I think ) there is no limit on how many decks you can create.
In “My Profile” section you may choose your in-game avatar and card sleeves. Most of these become available once you win a certain number of games, either normal or rated.
Other menu sections are pretty self-explanatory, so let’s talk about gameplay. Sadly, while DN simplicity may seem like a good thing, it’s also its biggest flaw, in my opinion. Almost every in-game action must be executed manually: searching through your deck, sending cards to the graveyard, returning cards to your hand, adding / subtracting LP, even admitting your own defeat – everything. When a card effect is activated or monster is summoned you have to ask your opponent whether or not he has something to activate in chain (like in real life). Obviously that requires a decent knowledge of rules in order to determine how to resolve a certain in-game situation. In case of an argument you may call for an admin who will decide the outcome. All of that seems a bit awkward at the beginning, but once you play a couple of games you may find it even more practical than the “automatic” system, because you will be able to manipulate the game field as if you were playing in a real life.
Now let’s take a look at DN’s “automatic” counterpart. On the http://www.ygopro.co/ the simulator is described as follows:
YGOPRO is a free online dueling system made for playing Yu-Gi-Oh! duels. YGOPRO is fully automated. All card effects, life points, counters etc. are handled by the system.
Personally, I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered YGOPRO. After a year or so of playing on DN, not having to do all in-game activities manually felt great, almost like “Tag force” series on Playstation portable. What are YGOPRO pros? More game modes (vs AI, puzzle mode where you have to win in one turn in a given situation, tag duels), possibility of saving replays, no headaches with rulings, possibility of playing on different operating systems. What are cons? You have to download and update it first, you can’t keep using your decks on different devices without copying them, there are fewer players on YGOPRO, there is a time limit per turn and no room for mistakes. All other things are pretty similar to duelling network – ranked / unranked game modes, single or match, similar deck constructor.
In order to download YGOPRO, head to http://www.ygopro.co/Downloadmembers.aspx. After you’ve registered you’ll be able to download it for free for any OS. Keep in mind that it may take you more time to update it to the latest version. Like in DN you can customize certain in-game elements such as background, sleeves, music, but in order to do it, you’ll have to change some files. Check this FAQ for further info: http://www.ygopro.co/FAQ.aspx
Which one I like more? Neither of them, both are great. I prefer DN deck constructor, rating system and players, even though I spend more time playing YGOPRO. I usually go to DN when I want to try out some new decks, chat with people or just watch a game or two. When I’m trying to teach people how to play Yu-gi-oh I suggest them to install YGOPRO for obvious reasons. Now I’d really like to know – which one of those do you prefer?