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Dragon Cards is a Chinese card game in the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga. The game involves collecting suits of Chinese Dragon cards and having them battle. In the first series anime, it is replaced with Dragon Block—a Mahjong game with near-identical rules.
A player who loses the game has has their soul sucked into the soul-eating jar by the 25 dragons that appear in the game. The soul is fully digested over three months after being sealed. The cards and the pot have been bound with a sealing cord to trap their evil powers.
The Dragon Cards were used in China, by a Taoist master as a final test for Feng Shui students. The cards possessed shadow powers. Under the yin yang concept the cards are deemed yin. To avoid disruption, a seal, deemed yang was used to trap the cards creating balance. If the seal is undone, a game must be played or the land where the cards were unsealed would suffer eternal disaster.
Hajime Imori's grandfather came into possession of the sealed cards during World War II, when he was in Manchuria. Years later Imori found them in his grandfather's shed and took them to Sugoroku Mutou to ask if he knew anything about them. Sugoroku told him their history and got him to promise not to break the seal.
Imori breaks his promise as he breaks the seal to play a game with Yugi after stealing his Millennium Puzzle in the hopes of taking his shadow powers. He beats Yugi in a game of Dragon Cards, sealing his soul in the jar, but Yugi manages to touch the Millennium Puzzle, turning into Dark Yugi before losing his soul. Dark Yugi defeats Imori in Dragon Cards, returning Yugi's soul and sealing Imori's in the jar.
Dark Yugi reseals the cards hoping the seal will never be broken again.
The game is played using a single deck of cards shared by the two players. Each card represents a dragon, which has one of the five Chinese elements, earth, fire, metal, water and wood and a level from 1 to 5 for a total of 25 possible dragons. There are three copies of each card, making a total of seventy five cards in the deck.
Both players draw six cards at the start of a game. Each turn a player draws one card and discards one. A player may pick up the last card their opponent discarded instead of drawing from the Deck. Some of the strategy of the game lies in analyzing the opponent's discards to predict what they plan to summon. After gathering two sets of three identical cards that the player is satisfied with, they may play the two dragons corresponding to the cards they gathered. The opponent continues until they draw the cards they need before playing their dragons. Dragons get stronger each turn that passes after they have been summoned. Once both players have summoned their dragons, they battle with them. The player who defeats both of their opponent's two dragons wins.
Dragons with higher levels are stronger than dragons of lower levels. Each element strengthens and weakens other elements.