My name is Derek and this year I’ll be going on 33 years old. It is safe to say I’ve played “Magic: The Gathering” on and off for the better half my life. Nowadays I find myself just into limited formats and if you’ve ever seen me at the Battlegrounds in Abington at the “Friday Night Magic” draft you know for sure I am un-apologetically a Brony. If you haven’t heard the term before it is basically a catch-all for any adult fan of the TV series “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.” Now I’m not writing this to try to convince you to watch the show or to explain to you why I am a fan. Instead I want to tell you about the “My Little Pony CCG” released late 2013 published and released by Enterplay. Please don’t let the pink and purple pastel equines on the cards fool you. There is a real game in there and even I am surprised to say that it’s pretty good.


Before I get started I do want to address my obvious bias. I’ll probably tell you my morning coffee tastes better when I drink it from my Rainbow Dash mug and that I draft better when I have my Pinkie Pie play mat. These facts no doubt call my objectivity into question. To be honest with you when I heard there was going to be a “My Little Pony” TCG tie-in August of 2013 one could say I was cautiously optimistic at best. I didn’t really know what to expect from a company that had never made a card series like this before.


The premise

Unlike many TCG’s the “MLP CCG” is not so much about two players squaring off in a battle to defeat their opponent. The My Little Pony CCG actually focuses around the two players working together to solve various problems and thus advancing the game. Players earn points by solving these problems and the first player to score fifteen points is the winner.


The game mechanics are not terribly complex as it does, after all, need to appeal to a young audience. In my own experience I learned how to play inside the first round of the prerelease tournament using just my pre-made starter deck, a rule book, and the players sitting around me. What I have found fascinating is that despite the simple design of the game it has become quite competitive.


How it works

Each player needs a draw deck, a problem deck, and one main character of their choice. To those “M:TG” followers your main character is similar to having a commander in EDH. A player’s deck can use any combination of the game’s six colors or “elements” and like “M:TG” each color has its own unique style, key effects, and synergies.



Main characters always begin in play and are the starting source of each player’s power or energy. Each main character is two-sided and has a unique flip condition. Once the condition is met the card becomes boosted and increases the main character’s power and typically grants new abilities. Main characters are always in play and can never be removed.


Problem decks must have exactly ten cards and are placed in the center of the play area with the top card face up. Each problem card displays its conditions for each player to solve.


The forty-five minimum card draw deck consists of your friends, resources, events, and troublemakers. These cards are used to solve problems or in some cases impair your opponents from solving them as well.



Similar to “M:TG,” each player’s turn is broken into phases. These phases are the ready phase, troublemaker phase, main phase, and score phase. Each player takes turns in an effort to solve the problem cards in order to achieve victory. Players earn action tokens each turn which can be spent or saved up to play cards.


But it’s for little girls

Well I certainly have heard that argument once or twice. There is no question that the TV show on which this game is based has drawn a much unexpected audience. I would argue as a gamer that the creators of the “MLP CCG” prioritized the strategy and game play mechanics to appeal to gamers before adding in the ponies.




For the younger players the game’s mechanics allow for chance to be a large factor in deciding final outcomes. This allows casual players to have fun without having to rely heavily on the most powerful cards to win. For more serious competitors constructed decks are all about mitigating the game’s random effects, manipulating these effects, or outright overpowering them.


Like the TV show, the “MLP CCG” is also very meta with many pop culture references that would likely fly right over some of the little one’s heads. “M:TG” veterans like myself can and will find plenty of inside jokes referencing “M:TG” and other games that are hidden in the cards’ mechanics and flavor texts. In short the game is fun, family friendly, and suitable for ages ten and up.


In closing

I’m well aware a TCG or any game based on the “My Little Pony” franchise isn’t likely to have a broad spectrum appeal. I think it’s unfortunate that this well made, uniquely designed, and truly intuitive game might get looked over just because of the cutesy characters on the box. If you are however willing to check your hesitations at the door and give this game a try, you might be reminded that it isn’t the packaging or pictures in a game that make it great but the content of the game play that counts.


About the Author

Derek is one of the Abington store’s consistent FNM players. In person, he looks intimidating and hardcore. However, he gives great hugs and is very kind at heart. Don’t let his looks deceive you. While he may, admittedly, be a Brony, he is one of the strongest “Magic: The Gathering” Limited format players at the store.



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