EDIT - Nov 2011: With the fourth season of the Bakugan series came many additions to the Bakugan line. We now have Battle Suits, Baku Sky Raiders, and BakuFusion added to the game, and with these come new rules. You can download the Current Rule Book Here.
Basically, not much of the rules have changed. There has just been additions.
The rules are pretty simple. In a two player game each person needs 3 bakugan, 3 metal gate cards ( 1 gold, 1 silver and 1 copper/bronze ) , and 3 ability cards. ( 1 red, 1 blue and 1 green )
Object of The Game
The object of the game is to be the first player to win 3 gate cards. In the Big Game, the objective is to win 6 gate cards instead of 3.
The playing field needs to be about 2 1/2 feet long so as each person is sitting about that far from each other. Next each person will place one of their gate cards face down in front of their opponent with the short side touching ( see pic ) making sure that your opponents card is between you and your card ( so your gate card is farther away from you ). During gameplay, 2 new gate cards will be played ( as noted above ) once there are currently no gate cards on the field of play.
Each player holds their remaining gate and ability cards in their hand or places them face down in front of them. There is a place on your left that will be called your "used pile" and this is where all played ability cards, won gate cards, or used bakugan go. ( A used bakugan is a bakugan that won or loss in a battle or was rolled and did not land on a gate card ). There is also a place on your right that will be called your "unused pile" and this is where all your unused bakugan will sit until time to roll them.
The youngest player goes first. In the event of a tie, flip a coin or use some other method of determining who goes first. Players then take turns.
The player whose turn it is chooses one of their bakugan from the unused pile and rolls it across the playing field, attempting to land on a gate card. ( if you do not have any unused bakugan then remove all the bakugan from the used pile and place them in the unused pile and now choose one ) The bakugan must be at least 2 card lengths from the gate cards when it is rolled. If the bakugan missed a gate card then that bakugan is placed in the used pile and it is the next players turn. If the bakugan lands on a gate card ( the bakugan is counted as landing on a gate card if it stops rolling and is touching a gate card, it does not have to actually pop open ), one of several things may happen.
If your bakugan lands on a gate card and there are no other bakugan on that card, your turn is over and the other player begins their turn.
If your bakugan lands on a gate card that you already have a bakugan on then you must move this just rolled bakugan to another gate card. If the new gate card has an opponents bakugan on it already then a battle occurs ( see battle section below ). If it only has the bakugan that you just moved to it on there then your turn is over and the other players turn starts. If there are no other gate cards for your bakugan to move to then you win this gate card ( that you have 2 bakugan on ) and place it and the two bakugan in your used pile. If this results in no gate cards on the playing field then each player places 1 gate card as instructed in the setting up rules.
Finally if your bakugan lands on a gate card that is occupied by an opponents bakugan then a battle starts. ( see battle section below )
When a battle occurs you first remove the bakugan from the gate card and note each ones "g power". Next flip over the gate card and follow any instructions it may have. After that each player is allowed to play ability cards. A player may play none, one, some or all of their unused ability cards at this time. The player whose turn it is plays a card first, followed by the other player. They alternate playing one ability card at a time until both players have "passed" and decided not to play an ability card. ( for ex. you may pass and your opponent then plays a card, you can now also decide to play a card. Once both players pass and do not play a card then this "phase" is over and no one can play anymore ability cards for this battle ) The final "phase" of battle is to add the gate cards "g power" boost to their bakugans "g power" total. ( simply add the number on the card that goes with the attribute of the bakugan you are using ) Also note that some gate cards subtract "g power".
The bakugan with the highest "g power" after all of these "phases" wins the battle and wins the gate card. There are some instances where the winning bakugan may not be the one with the highest "g power" due to cards played. Rules listed on cards take precedence over the basic rules of play. In the event of a tie, the bakugan that landed on the gate card first wins the battle.
Place your bakugan ( that was just in the battle ) in your used pile and if you won the gate card, place it in your used pile as well. Remember to place new 2 new gate cards if there are none currently in play ( one from each player as instructed in the setting up section ) Play now continues with the next players turn.
Ending The Game
The game ends when one player has 3 gate cards in their used pile. ( these are obtained from winning battles or other means via the cards )
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The Big Game
We go big in the Big Game. This means that instead of 3 Bakugan, 3 Gate Cards, and 3 Ability Cards, we double the stakes and double what we should take. We now need 6 Bakugan, 6 Gate cards (one of each color), and 6 Ability Cards (no duplicates). And instead of winning just 3 Gate cards, you need to win 6.
EDIT - March 2011: When playing the Big Game, you also get to double your support pieces! You can have a miximum of 4 support pieces (choose 4 among your Mechtogan, Mechtogan Titan, Battle Gear, Mobile Assault, and Trap). Remember that you can still only use 1 support piece per Gate card.
As for the BakuNano, you can have 6 BakuNano, with a maximum of 4 in any Attribute combination. You can use all your BakuNano in one Gate card, as is the general rule.
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Multiplayer works almost the same way as a normal 2 player game works. For multiplayer you will need 4 people. The game is won in the same way as a 2 player game, the first person to get 3 gate cards in their used pile will win.
Setting up is similar to the 2 player game but players will form a cross pattern. The gate cards will be opposite each other as well but just the corners will be touching. ( as seen in the pic below ) Randomly determine who will go first and second and third and fourth. Sit in order so play will continue in a clockwise manner.
Playing The Game
Gameplay goes pretty much the same. A few differences are that cards that are "Play before a battle", "Play after a battle" and "Play in battle" can only be played by the two people that are actually in battle. Cards that can be played outside of battle or before or after a person rolls, can be played by anyone. If two people want to play a card at the same time, the person whose turn is next gets to play their card first.
While not common, it is much more likely in a 4 player game that a player will find themselves with no Bakugan to roll during their turn, particularly if an opponent has played a Doom Card. In a normal game you will have bakugan in the used pile, but in multiplayer it is possible to have all 3 bakugan in play on different gate cards. If this happens to a player, the player may move any of his standing Bakugan to another Gate card that would start a battle instead of rolling. If the extremely rare situation where no enemy Bakugan are currently standing at the time, then the player moves one of the Gate cards that he has a standing Bakugan to his Used pile along with all of his standing Bakugan.
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In using support in your battles, you can use only a total of two: 2 BMAs or 2 Battle Gears or 2 Bakugan Traps or any mixture of the three totaling to 2.
You can use all your available Battle Gear or Bakugan Trap on a standing Bakugan in battle. Just make sure to process them one at a time and at proper turns with your opponent.
EDIT - March 2011: Update in Gameplay of Support Pieces
You may have up to 2 support pieces in your set, in any combination. Support pieces include Mechtogan, Mechtogan Titans, Battle Gear, Mobile Assaults and Traps. This means you can only have, for instance, 2 Mechtogans, or 1 Mechtogan Titan and 1 Battle Gear, or 1 Mobile and 1 Trap, and so on.
During a battle with only one Gate Card in play, you can only play 1 support piece with your standing Bakugan. This has changed from the previous rule of being able to play all your support pieces during battle on a Gate Card.
How To Play With Bakugan Trap
The Bakugan Trap has to be of the same attribute as that of the Bakugan you are using. We move it as we move regular Bakugan; it goes to the used pile after the battle. When out of Bakugan to use, take all the Bakugan and Trap in the used pile, move them to your unused pile and then proceed with the battle.
When the Trap opens when you drop it onto the Gate card, it will reveal more Attribute symbols. You will then change the Attribute of your Bakugan to any one of the Attributes shown. Some Traps will have one hidden Attribute and some will have more.
How To Play With Bakugan Battle Gear
You either put the battle gear on the back of the Bakugan or you can place it on the Gate card next to your Bakugan to open it in play. The G-Power of the battle gear is added to the Bakugan.
The Battle Gear Reference Card reveals the list of Attributes and Abilities needed to play the battle gear. If your Bakugan matches one of the Attributes on the card, then you will be able to use the ability listed. If your Battle Gear matches the color of the Gate Card (Gold, Silver, and Copper) then you can choose any ability that is listed on the reference card.
The Bakugan Battle Gear can be used with any Bakugan, even from the past series. Even if it cannot be attached to the Bakugan, you can just put the Battle Gear on the Gate card to open and add it to the battle.
How To Play With Bakugan Mobile Assault
In using the Bakugan Mobile Assault, you can use a maximum of two of them in battle, instead of the Bakugan Battle Gear and/or the Bakugan Trap.
The Bakugan Mobile Assault has to be of the same Attribute as your Bakugan in play. Put the Bakugan on the Mobile Assault at the beginning of the battle, and roll them onto the Gate card.
If the type of the Gate card used in the battle is among those listed on the Mobile Assault's Reference card, the the Bakugan gains the G-Power of the Mobile Assault. Among the three types of Gates --- Gold, Silver, and Copper --- two is usually listed on the Reference card. If they do not match, then the Bakugan Mobile Assault is destroyed and removed from the game. The battle will continue without the benefit of the Mobile Assault.
How To Play With Mechtogan and Mechtogan Titan
The general rule is that you can only have up to two support pieces, in any combination. Therefore you will have to pick only two among your Mechtogan, Mechtogan Titans, Battle Gears, Traps, and Mobile Assaults. For example, you can have 2 Mechtogan as your support pieces for the game, or 1 Mechtogan and 1 Mechtogan Titan, or 1 Mechtogan Titan and 1 Battle Gear, and so on.
You can play the Mechtogan and Mechtogan Titan with any Bakugan from all the series of Bakugan, ranging from season 1 up to the newest series of Mechtanium Surge.
Put the Mechtogan or Mechtogan Titan into play by placing the Mechtogan (from your unused pile) next to your standing Bakugan. The Bakugan and the Mechtogan you are using should have the same Attribute. Transform the Mechtogan into its full form with the Activator card to reveal its G-power. Add the G-power to your Bakugan's G-power. If that boost is not enough, then you can attach BakuNano to increase your G-power.
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How To Play With BakuNano
BakuNano are used to weaponize your Bakugan, Mechtogan, or Mechtogan Titan. You are allowed to have up to 3 BakuNano in your set. The Bakunano is not considered as a support piece like the Mechtogan, Battle Gear, Mobile Assaults, or Trap. It is treated separately, which means you can have two support pieces AND 3 Bakunano in your set.
Bakunano can be played with the Bakugan, Mechtogan, or Mechtogan Titan. When in play, the Bakunano's Attribute (Gold, Silver, or Copper) should match the Gate Card's color. Attach it to your Bakugan or Mechtogan or Mechtogan Titan and then add the G-power of the BakuNano to your battling monster's G-power. If your Bakugan does not have holes for the BakuNano, then just open the BakuNano and place it next to the Bakugan in play.
You can use all of your BakuNano in one battle, and in one Gate Card, just as long as the BakuNanos' Attributes are the same with the Gate Card's color. You can also use your BakuNano even when you have already boosted your Bakugan with a Battle Gear, Mobile Assault, or Trap.
Take note that when you use the Bakunano on your Mechtogan in battle, then that BakuNano will simply go to your used pile. But if you use the BakuNano on your Bakugan, then that BakuNano will be removed from the game.
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How To Play With Special Treatment Bakugan
Special Treatment Bakugan are also treated as regular Bakugan. We only have to determine the Attributes for the Bakugan in order to proceed with the battle.
With a Translucent Bakugan you have the choice to choose your own Attribute or to go along with your opponent's Bakugan Attribute.
The BakuLyte Bakugan, BakuNeon Bakugan, and BakuSolar Bakugan follow the same rules as the Translucent Bakugan in battle.
If you are using a Clear Bakugan, you will use the Attribute of your opponent's Bakugan as your own. If your opponent is also using a Clear Bakugan then both of you will pick what Attribute each of you wants to use. If your opponent is using a Translucent Bakugan, your opponent will choose the Attribute he will use and you will take on that Attribute, too.
The BakuCrystal Bakugan follows the same rules as the Clear Bakugan.
With a Dual Attribute Bakugan you will have to choose one from the two Attributes of your Bakugan to use in the battle.
In using the Pearl Bakugan in battle, you either take on the regular G-power bonus on the Gate Card or the highlighted Gate bonus. The same play goes for the Crimson & Pearl Bakugan, the BakuPearl, and the BakuFrost.
If you are using BakuMutation Bakugan, you are only allowed to change your Attribute to that of your opponent's if his/her Bakugan is a Special Treatment Bakugan.
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Special Attack Bakugan, when used in the game, is used like any regular Bakugan.
The White Naga Bakugan can be used in battle. It uses the highlighted G-Power Gate bonus on the Gate card in battle to determine its Attribute as the battle starts.
The Maxus Dragonoid, Maxus Helios, Dragonoid Colossus, and Dharak Colossus cannot be used in battle. Individually, however, the battle gears and core Bakugan that make them up can be used in the game.
Double Strike Bakugan have their own rules to be followed when used in battle. Sky & Gaia Dragonoid and Dartaak have especially specific instructions to be mindful of. Go to the page for more specifics.
If you want to use Special Evolution Bakugan, there are conditions to be met before you can swap your original Bakugan with the Special Evolution Bakugan. Go to the page for more specifics.
In the fourth season, the Infinity Helios Bakugan stands out by being the only Bakugan so far that had a change in its primary Attribute --- from Pyrus in season 2 to an evolved Darkus in season 4. It also has a G-power change wheel, and in playing it, you first have to choose your desired G-power level before rolling it onto the field.
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We will be experimenting with additional rules for gameplay and also receiving clarifications as we can. Feel free to take part in our forum and share your "house" rules or rules questions