This article contains the details of the Gameplay of the card game, Bakugan.
Gameplay consists of placing down metal Gate Cards then rolling the Bakugan onto the cards where they spring open when the magnet inside the Bakugan hit the metal inside the Gate Card. When opposing Bakugan Stand on the same card the gate opens and a "battle" occurs with the winner determined by the highest G-power total. Players may also play Ability cards before or after they roll or during a battle to affect the outcome. During a battle you may place a Trap Bakugan that matches your brawling Bakugan's Attribute on the Gate card to change your Bakugan's Attribute to one printed on the inside of the Trap or place a Bakugan Battle Gear to increase the Bakugan's G-Power and/or add additional abilities to the original Bakugan based upon its Attribute.
Players start with three Bakugan (any three), three Gate Cards (one of each color: gold, silver, copper), three Ability Cards (one of each color: red, green, blue) and at option, any combination of up to two Bakugan Traps and/or Bakugan Battle Gear (one Trap and one Battle Gear, two Traps or two Battle Gears). Remember the Gate Card text always take over the rules of the regular rule (example of Gate Card text: The Bakugan with the lowest G-power win the battle). The winner of a battle is the Bakugan with the highest G-power. The winner of the game is the first player to capture three Gate Cards.
As noted above, with the addition of new Bakugan Battle Gear, the number of Bakugan Traps allowed per player has been increased from one to two so that players may use both a Bakugan Trap and a Bakugan Battle Gear in a single game.
Longer games can be played by doubling the amount of cards, Bakugan, Traps, Battle Gear and the amount of Gates captured (six) needed to win. This is known as the "Big Game Rules" in the reference texts.
In the anime the game is re-focused to defeating the opponent's Bakugan to increase the dramatic effect. In season 1 each player starts with up to three Bakugan. If a Bakugan is defeated it cannot be used again (unless a Bakugan's special ability says otherwise). Once a player could no longer play any Bakugan that player loses. Missing when throwing is also absent in the anime.
Toward the end of the first season, a battle simply starts with throwing a Bakugan, and Gate Cards are entirely optional and thrown under the Bakugan during a battle; when a Gate Card is set, it is opened immediately, and turns invisible when it is thrown. Only one Gate Card is in the field at a time. For Abilities that involve moving your Bakugan to another card, the Bakugan are instead moved off the card, thus rendering them unaffected.
In all seasons but the first, the rules are completely different. Bakugan could be reused (leaving most, if not all, players to use just one Bakugan) but a life gauge was now used. The life gauge starts at 500; this number drains according to how many Gs the player's Bakugan loses a round by. If this difference is more than 500, the losing Bakugan is kept by the other player. If the points are drained in smaller increments, the player loses but does not lose their Bakugan. Additionally, only one Gate Card is on the field at a time and, unlike Season 1, the card becomes invisible (bar a glowing border colored according to the attribute of whoever threw it) upon being thrown, then grows until the border is off-screen. Additionally, Ability Cards can be reused and there is no rule as to how many can be used. However, to balance the game, the general rule (though there have been exceptions) is that each one can only be used once per round.
Video Game Rules
In Bakugan Battle Brawlers (Video Game), the rules are more or less the same as they are in real life. The most significant differences lie in the arenas in order to adapt the game to a video game setting. Bakugan can be manually steered around the arena, where they can also pick up G-Power boosts and Hyper Ability Cards, which give certain disadvantages to the opponent when your Bakugan stands, such as losing G-Power when they get within close proximity. These cards are power-ups and do not contribute to the 3 Gate Card or 3 Ability Card limits. In addition, Bakugan can be thrown into standing Bakugan on Gate Cards, causing the opposing Bakugan to lose G-Power. In rare cases, the Bakugan can be knocked off the Gate Card completely, resulting in a Critical K.O., which is equivalent to defeating the opponent's Bakugan and winning the Gate Card. Ability Card effects are now extremely simplified; all of them give simple G-Power boosts instead of allowing a re-roll, etc. Gate Cards can now be set at any time, as in the anime, whereas this is not allowed by the official rules of the real game. Double Stands also now allow for the player to choose whether they want to move the Bakugan to another card or simply take the card.
The final battle in the first video game plays somewhat differently; players take turns placing one Gate Card at a time and only use their partner Bakugan, similar to the battles from late Season 1 onwards in the anime.
In Bakugan: Defenders of the Core, Bakugan is a fighting game. Rolling and standing Bakugan is not a major part of gameplay. G-Power is absent, replaced by a health bar. The battles take place on large free-roaming 3D maps in various real locations, each with different effects. Each attribute has an advantage over one attribute and a disadvantage towards another. The objective of each battle varies; most often, it involves defeating an army of Traps and enemy Bakugan, as well as destroying Vexos Crystals. Most battles in story mode also involve defending Landmarks, cultural buildings in the respective area that the battle is taking place in. If a Landmark is destroyed, the player loses the battle. Holograms, which have attributes like Bakugan, can be placed as decoys. Bakugan can attack in four major ways: weak attacks, which are fast and allow for easy combos; strong attacks, which are more powerful than weak attacks but have more ending lag and thus are not easy to deal combos with; shooting, which allows for long-distance combos; and Ability Cards. Each Bakugan has a different set of Ability Cards; Green cards raise defenses and the like, blue cards allow for long combos, and red cards unleash strong attacks that deal heavy damage. When the Resistance Bakugan evolve, their Ability Card arsenal changes entirely. Each Bakugan has four Abilities, two of which can be used per battle. After an Ability is used, it must be recharged over time to be reused. Power ups can be found on the battlefield, which increase speed, attack, defense, replenish health, and the like. Gate Cards play a minimal role in the game; if a pickup resembling a Gate Card is found and picked up by a Bakugan, the Gate Card is opened and unleashes an effect depending on the attribute of the Bakugan who picked up the power up.
In Bakugan: Rise of the Resistance, the game plays out like a Tower Defense game. The "tower" is a Bakugan DNA replicator, which has a health system. When its health is depleted by waves of enemy Bakugan, it explodes and you lose the battle. The player may pick one of the six Bakugan from the second half of New Vestroia and control them. These Bakugan can attack with simple button commands. The primary gameplay mechanic is placing Bakugan in certain spaces to attack enemies travelling on the path. Each support Bakugan has different attacks and ranges. Bakugan are placed by collecting DNA and spending it to place Bakugan. Enemy Bakugan are sent out in waves and follow a fixed path on a 2D map. They do not attack your Bakugan directly, instead doing varying amounts of damage to the replicator. Gate Gards can be purchased on Eva's ship and are single-use only, but remain in effect for the entirety of the battle. They cause varying effects, such as causing opponents of certain attributes to take more damage or do less damage to the replicator. Traps take the place of Ability Cards. They are charged up similarly to the Ability Cards in Defenders of the Core and unleash varying effects, such as slowing down opponents or dealing damage to them.