What's Eric Playing?

#117 – Millennium Blades

Base price: $80.
2 – 4 players.
Play time: ~ 2 hours. Setup takes a while, too.
BGG Link
Buy on Amazon! (via What’s Eric Playing?)

It’s finally time. I’ve been waiting to review this game for pretty much a year or something, and I finally have played it enough that I think I have cohesive points I can make. Get hyped. Even better, it’s my Bloggiversary on July 11th, so I’m also going to be doing a giveaway of some other games I’ve enjoyed. Check it out here!

Note: Some photos may contain parts of the game from the expansion. Who even knows.

Millennium Blades is a “CCG simulator”, or a game about the act of buying, collecting, and playing a collectible card game like Yu-Gi-Oh, Magic: The Gathering, or the Pokemon Trading Card Game. In it, you play as a character who dreams of becoming the Millennium Blades World Champion, but starts out with just a starter deck and a few booster packs. Along the way, you’ll build a deck, trade with friends, fuse cards, compete in tournaments, score promos, buy cards, sell cards, construct a collection, and much more. In fact, you’ll probably do all of that more than once. Is your Millennium Blades star on the rise?



So, uh, bear with me. This will take you a long time.

If it’s your first time playing, you’ll notice that there are a bunch of Millennium Dollars:

And a bunch of stickers. This is for you to wrap the money like the bank teller you always dreamed you’d be. You’ll want to use 10 Millennium Dollars in each stack.

I’ll give you some time to do that. In fact, I’d recommend doing that long before you play the game, because it took me a few hours.

Once you’ve done that, you’ll want to give each player a double-sided player board, preferably on the Deck Area side:

Generally, unless it’s your first game, you’ll start with the Deckbuilding Phase / Side.

Next, put the Store and Aftermarket Boards in the center of the table:

This is where you’ll buy and sell cards, and more! Now, for the fun parts. You’ll notice that there are a nearly-uncountable number of cards:

You’ll want to get them into a somewhat playable state. First, take the Core Set:

Then, pick five Expansion Sets:

Four Premium Sets:

Three Master Sets:

Two Bronze Promos:

Two Silver Promos:

And one Gold Promo Set:

Set the promos aside, for now, and shuffle the Core, Expansion, Premium, and Master sets into one massive deck. Now, shuffle the Type and Element Metagame card sets:

Set those on the Aftermarket Board. Also, put a set of Bronze, Silver, and Gold Promos on the Aftermarket Board. You’ll keep an extra set of Bronze and Silver Promos as prizes for the Tournaments.

Now, give each player a Starter Deck (or let them choose):

Also give them a Character card and the six Friendship cards corresponding to them:

If you’re playing with two players, you won’t use any Friendship cards. Sad! Maybe the real friends were nobody, all along.

Give each player Sell Markers:

Give each player three cards off the top of the Store Deck, and you should be about ready to begin!

Well that’s almost everything. If you wanna make things weird, you can also throw in a Venue card, which adds in extra rules for the game:

Maybe don’t do that in your first game?


So, the game’s broken down into multiple phases: usually three Deckbuilding Phases and three Tournament Phases. There are some nuances to each of these, so I’ll cover them as we get through them.

Essentially, Millennium Blades is a game of collecting Victory Points in four ways:

Whoever can collect the most, wins! In a two-player game, this is a bit different — the winner is just whichever player wins two tournaments first. I’ll cover the minor differences this causes as we cover them.

That said, if it’s your first game, as previously stated, you might want to do the Pre-Release Tournament instead. This skips the first Deckbuilding Phase and launches straight into a tournament with lower stakes. During the Pre-Release:

If you do this, skip the final deckbuilding and tournament rounds at the end of the game.

If not, let’s start with Deckbuilding.


So, if you’re going to go to the tournament, you need the right deck to win. Thankfully, your local store carries a lot of great cards that you can buy, and they’ll happily buy cards from you as well. You can also turn cards into promotional cards via the Millennium Blades Rewards Program or something. There’s even more options, so let’s just get right to it. Before we do, I should note that there are three types of cards, generally:

Those are Singles, Accessories, and Deck Boxes. These are important to keep in mind for the entire game. Generally, they have a title, and then from top to bottom they have:

All Singles will have Elements and Types (generally), but not all Deck Boxes or Accessories will. These will be important to keep in mind as you build your deck.

When the Deckbuilding Phases begin, you will always do the following:

  1. Make sure your player board is on the Deckbuilding side, and put all your cards into a stack on the “Binder” section.
  2. Give each player 30 Millennium Dollars as income.
  3. Each player draws 6 cards from the top of the Store deck. Do not look at these until time starts.
  4. Fill the empty Market with 9 cards from the top of the Store deck, face-down. These are booster packs that are available to buy.
    • You might be wondering why there is only one card in each booster pack. That’s because in Millennium Blades, common and uncommon cards are abstracted out into the deck box cards, and booster packs are the single rare (or better) card that’s left.
  5. Make sure all players have the correct number of sell markers. See Setup for the counts.
  6. Discard any Metagame cards that are face-up and reveal a new Elemental Metagame card.

The deckbuilding phase is going to take place over 20 real-time minutes. But before you set those timers, it’ll be split into three rounds. During each of those rounds, you can usually do the following actions as often as you are able:

Let’s cover each in turn. Before we do, there is one extremely important rule that I should mention:

Don’t be a jerk about the timer.

This just means that you should give people a bit of a grace period at the end of each phase, and you should feel free to pause the timer if people need some rules explained. That said, if a player has, for instance, forgotten to use their player power during the Deckbuilding Phase, that’s just an error. It happens, but you might need to move on.

Build Your Deck

Alright, so, you have certain rules for the tournament: your deck must be (unless otherwise stated), 8 Singles, 1 Deck Box, and 2 Accessories. If you’re over in any of those categories, you must randomly discard until you get to the right number in that category. Don’t do that.

You can only have one copy of a card in your deck. Again, unless otherwise stated.

You’ll usually only play 6 cards, so keep the other 2 in case something bad happens. You can, at any point in the Deckbuilding Phase, add or trade or remove cards to/from your deck. Just make sure your deck is ready when time runs out.

Make a Collection

Collections are a set of 2-8 cards that have a matching symbol, either of a specific Type or a specific Element. In order to be part of a collection, though, they must all have a different Star Rating. You can put cards in a stack on your collection area, and they’ll score points at the end of the Deckbuilding Phase. Keep in mind, though, that any cards added to your collection will be removed from the game when the Deckbuilding Phase ends. You can’t play with these cards, they need to be kept in mint condition!

Generally, you score Victory Points for cards in your collection:

You can only make one collection per Deckbuilding Phase. If you are playing a two-player game, you may make two collections: one Type (same type, different Star Ratings) and one Element (same element, different Star Ratings) collection. Instead of points, you earn 10 RP per card in your collection at the next Tournament.

Buy a Booster Pack

For this one, pick any card in the Store (or the top card of the Store Deck) and pay the cost (the number in the top-right corner) to take the card. You may now flip it over and see what you got!

You refill that spot immediately, and if the Store Deck runs out of cards, shuffle the discard pile to create a new Store Deck.

Sell a Card to the Aftermarket

For this one, you can sell cards to the aftermarket, where they might get bought by other players. To do this, place a card you want to sell and a Sell Marker into the Aftermarket, and immediately take X Millennium Dollars, where X is the card’s Star Rating. You don’t have to wait for the card to sell to get your money, but you do use a Sell Marker. If you have no more Sell Markers, you cannot sell more cards. 

Note that there is no limit to the size of the Aftermarket during the Deckbuilding Phase.

Note also that in the third round of the Deckbuilding Phase, the Aftermarket stops accepting cards for sale. Focus on building your deck, instead.

Buy a Card from the Aftermarket

Just pick a card from the Aftermarket and pay X Millennium Dollars to the bank, where X is the card’s Star Rating. The Sell Marker on the card goes back to its owner, which is also nice for them.

Fuse Cards

If you have a lot of trash cards, you can trade them in for powerful promotional cards. Do this by choosing a type of Fusion, and then removing the required number of cards from the game. No getting them back, kiddos.

Note two things:

Trade Cards

Time to make some friends! You can trade with other players at any time by bypassing the Aftermarket. The thing is, though, you’re too interested in friendship to take advantage of anyone, so all trades must be equal value trades. This solves so many problems I have with trading, as well.

You can trade the following:

So, for instance, if I want to trade a 6-Star card, the other player can give me a 4-Star card and 2 Millennium Dollars.

Sometimes a trade is clearly more beneficial for one side than another. When this is the case, you can give the other player one of those Friendship Cards you got at the start of the game:

These are worth points at the end of the game. You can only score up to 6 points via any single player’s Friendship cards. Friendship cards have no explicit value, so they can be included in trades at no additional cost.

The Deckbuilding Phase: Rounds

Alright, you know what you can do, so here’s how the Phase works:

Once you’ve done that, move on to the Tournament!


So, you’re here. It’s time to d-d-d-d-d-definitely start playing some cards. Unlike the Deckbuilding Phase, which is real-time, the Tournament is turn-based, so you can get that heart rate down. Everything is gonna be okay.

Start by having every player flip their Player Board to the Tournament Side. They should put their Deck Box and Accessories in the specified areas and make sure they have the correct numbers of all other cards: 8 Singles, 2 Accessories, 1 Deck Box. Again, you must randomly discard down to the right value in a category if you’re over.

Add your player tokens to the 000, 00, and 0 spaces on your RP counter track.

If you won the previous tournament, you go first. Otherwise, choose randomly.

During the Tournament, you have two options on your turn:

While on that subject, let me explain the common words that appear on cards. There are other, set-specific ones, but that might be a you-thing to figure out.

There are also some general terms that are useful to know, here.

Once all players have passed, the Tournament Phase ends.

End of Tournament

  1. Activate all Score effects. There’s an ordering to this:
    1. Singles
    2. Deck Boxes
    3. Accessories
    4. Metagame Cards (note that these only apply to face-up cards in your tableau)
  2. Award VP. Check Ranking Points and see who placed where, then use this helpful table to award the appropriate number of VP:
    Round 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Prize Support
    Pre-Release 7 VP 5 VP 4 VP 3 VP 2 VP None
    1 21 VP 15 VP 12 VP 9 VP 6 VP Bronze
    2 28 VP 20 VP 16 VP 12 VP 8 VP Silver
    Final 42 VP 30 VP 24 VP 18 VP 12 VP None (Game Ends)

    If there’s a tie, add the points for all the tied places and split them evenly. (If there’s a 5-way tie for 1st in the Pre-release, everyone gets (7 + 5 + 4 + 3 + 2) = 20 / 5 = 4 points.

  3. Prize Support. Each player gets a random promo from the two promo sets you left out at the start of the game, like, 3000+ words ago. We were different people then.
  4. (Variant) Pro Player Cards. If you’d like to play with this variant, also give each player a copy of the tournament winner’s Pro Player card:It’s a card themed around their ability that you can use in your deck! Wow. If the same player wins the first and second tournaments, give out a copy of the second place player’s Pro Card.
  5. Check for Game End. If this is not the final round, go back to Deckbuilding for more of that. Give everyone back their Sell Markers. If this is the Final Round, do final scoring.

Game End

As mentioned previously, the game ending scoring works like this:

  1. Tournament Victories
  2. Collection Points
  3. Remaining Money / 4
  4. Friendship Cards

Total your points from that, and the player with the most points wins!

Player Count Differences

I mean, there’s the entire separate two-player variant, but other than that it kinda seems to play similarly at any player count. I’d probably focus on two and three because it gets kind of hectic past that point and it’s hard to process everything that’s going on already, to say nothing of adding in additional players. I do like the two-player version a lot, though.


Woo boy.

Pros, Mehs, and Cons




Overall: 10 / 10

There it is. My first real 10 / 10 for a game (instead of an expansion, which was already snatched by Carcassonne: Inns & Cathedrals). Honestly? This is my favorite game in my collection, and I mean that. Every time I play it, win or lose, I want to play it again and fix whatever I messed up last time, but also play it completely differently because maybe a completely crazy play will pay off big. I love the theme, obviously, but I also love the clear effort put into making this game. It’s the feeling you get when you see someone’s like, magnum opus, and it’s an incredible product, from the uncountable number of unique art assets to the literally bajillion cards to the actual stacks of money I spent three hours putting together like some kind of bank teller fever dream. Sure, it’s a long game, and of course, it has some random elements, but that’s part of what makes the game incredible — the random elements are just you ducking and weaving whatever the game throws at you over a long enough sequence for you to go from “what the heck are even these cards” to “I have a super cohesive strategy that I’ve been planning for a while; this tournament’s in the bag” to the obvious “how the heck did I even lose that tournament?”. The game’s an absolute masterpiece of fun, thematic gameplay, and I would overwhelmingly recommend it to pretty much anyone that is willing to listen to me gush about it.