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GAME RULES - Updated 1/21/2018
Below you will find the rules for the game. If you have any questions please click the link above for the Facebook page and post your question. Otherwise you may use the contact link and ask me directly (that method may take a bit longer since your question on Facebook will go right to the community).

Here are the options for downloadable rules:
  • Small Booklet - This can be printed at home, but is a stripped down version of the rules to make it fit in a condensed book. To view a printing tutorail for this book refer to this link.
  • Large book - This is the in-depth version of the rules in PDF form.

Follow this link if you would like a video explanation of the base rules:


The objective of Card Fighter Special is to build a deck of cards that will be used to defeat your opponent in a card battle. A game can be lost through two different means. First, if you as the player have your Hit Points reduced to zero you lose. Secondly, if you no longer have any cards to draw from you lose, as soon as you pull your final card the match is over.

Character Cards Action and Reaction Cards
1 Character or Card Name 6 Ability Type
2 Card Rarity 7 Ability Description
3 Card Type 8 Character Back-Up(s)
4 Card Number 9 Battle Points
5 Special Ability 10 Soul Points / Soul Point Cost
The first place to start learning how to play Card Fighters Special is to look at the cards. In the diagram on the previous pages you will find all the info you need to understanding the cards. Below is an expanded description for each of those elements.

1 Character Name – Pay attention to the character name as there will be several cards that have the same character name, but will be followed by additional information contained within parenthesis. This is to keep you from using a wrong Back-Up character. Below the character name is the game title the character originated from. IF the character is a variant, the game listed will be where the variant came from (this has no bearing on gameplay, it's just a tidbit of info).
2 Card Rarity – in order from least rare to most rate is as follows: D, C, B, A, S. Card rarity also does not change gameplay. 
3 Card Type – this section tells you what card type you have in your hand. There are character cards (SNK and Capcom), and there are Reaction and Action cards. Character cards are your main cards to gain Soul Points and deal damage to your opponent. Action cards are used for bonus offence and Reaction are used as a bonus defense measure.
4 Card Number – each number will start with a letter S for SNK, C for Capcom, A for Action, and R for Reaction.
5 Ability Name – this is the name of the special ability that the character possesses. Not all characters have a special ability.
6 Ability Type – there are three different types of abilities that character may have in the game.

square Square Ability is an ability that must be activated verbally during the attack phase. It takes place of the character's attack.
square Triangle Ability is activated immediately when the character enters the ring.
square Circle Ability is a constant effect. As soon as the character enters the ring it begins to take effect and continues to remain active until the character is no longer in the ring.
7 Ability Description – tells you the details of how the ability changes the gameplay. Remember, anytime one of these abilities contradict the rules of the game, always follow the rule on the card.
8 Character Back-Up(s) - characters listed here are the only characters that can offer Back-Up to this specific character. When you Back-Up a character you increase their available battle Points by 300 BP.
9 Battle Points (BP) - this is your characters attack and defense. As the character loses BP the attack is also reduced.
10 Soul Points (SP) - points gained when a character enters the ring. SP is also used use Action and Reaction cards. You may also use SP to perform a special attack, referred to as Union Attacks.
Begin to familiarize yourself with the different types of cards in their functions. Take some time to look over the 424 unique cards that make up the Card Fighters Special Base Set. Once you have a good idea of how the card mechanics work you can begin to build a new deck. 

A deck consists of 50 cards. You can have any combination of cards that you want, but you cannot have more than 3 of a kind. For example, if you want to have 3 cards of number C045 (this is fine) but you cannot have 4 of card C045.

You can have a mix of both Capcom and SNK cards in your deck, and it would be to your advantage if you build your deck using a mix of both types of cards. There are SNK characters that can Back-Up Capcom characters and Capcom characters that Back-Up SNK characters. You can also have as many Action Cards and/or Reaction Cards as you'd like, so long as you keep your deck at 50 cards.

The Playfield
1 The Ring – this is where most of the action takes place. When playing a card in the ring make sure they are directly in one of the available slots. It's important to keep these slots visually aligned as it plays a big role in the game.
2 The Deck – the 50 cards that make up your deck go here, face down.
3 Discard – cards that are used go here, face up.
4 SP Reserves – the counters you use to keep track of your SP go here. They must be visible to your opponent at all times.
The first thing you need to do when setting up a round of Card Fighters Special is to shuffle your deck. Each player has the option to shuffle or cut their opponent's deck, to make sure they have not stacked the deck in their favor. Each player then places their deck face down in from of them (as shown in the diagram on the previous page).

Next, set your counters for your HP to 3000. The first person to reduce their opponent's HP to 0 wins the game. For tournament rules you play best 2 out of 3 games.

NOTE: To keep track of all the numbers in the game, there are three methods you can use in order to complete this task. You can record the numbers using the pen and paper method, or you can use dice to keep track of each character's BP and your HP. Some find it easier to use 30-sided dice to keep track of the numbers, other use multiple 6-sided dice (the number that faces up represents the current stat. If using 6-sided dice you will need to use multiple die for each card or each player's BP). The third method is to use small counters such as glass beads, winks, pennies, or any other small object. Of course, you can always use a mixture of methods, just find which way works best for you.

Now, decide which player will go first. This can be done by simply flipping a coin. The player who wins the coin toss chooses who goes first. There are advantages of being the first to go, but there are also disadvantages. Among the disadvantages, the player will have one less card to begin their first round (this will be explained later).

Both players draw 5 cards. If you draw 5 cards and you don't have any character cards, show your hand to your opponent; shuffle your deck and draw 5 new cards. Each player must have at least 1 character in their hand to being the match. Once that requirement has been met, you can now begin. Whoever won the chance to go first can now begin their turn.

Card Fighters is played through four basic phases. These phases must be played in order.

Phase 1: Activate Phase  - All of your characters become activated in this phase.
Phase 2: Draw Phase - Draw a card
Phase 3: Main Phase - This is the phase that most of the game is played out.
Phase 4: Counter-Attack Phase - Defend and Counter

Phase 1 Activate Phase – All of your characters are released from Freeze Phase and are ready to fight. 
Phase 2 Draw Phase – Draw one card. If you are just starting a new game the player who begins the match will not get to draw a card in the first round (this is that disadvantage that was mentioned earlier. This is only for this one time that the player is unable to draw a card, unless a new rule is implemented through a card rule).

Phase 3 Main Phase – In this phase you can do any or all of the following. You may also choose to do nothing and pass on your turn. Here are your options:
  • Put 1 Character Card in an empty slot on your side of the ring (cards may be played in an empty slot, they do not have to be placed in numerical order). When a character first enters the ring, they are put in stand-by. This simply means, they are unable to attack or use a square ability (until they finish all four phases this round). To signify the character is in standby, turn the card diagonally. When you have played through all four phases turn this card back to the ready position.

  • Back-Up a character that has already been in the ring during a previous turn to increase the character's BP by 300 points. When you look at a Character Card you will see several names under the Back-Up heading. These characters listed are the specific characters that can help your ringed character. For example, if you have Sakura in the ring and she has been there past her standby time, you can have one of her Back-Up characters support her. Right now, Sakura's BP is 500, so you decide to use Shingo to back her up as it's a legal move. Shingo has 400 BP, but since you are using him to back her up, the 400 means nothing. As a Back-Up she will only receive 300 BP, no matter what the character's base BP is the character always receives 300 BP when Backing-Up another character. Sakura can also be backed up by Hinata, so if Hinata is in your hand you can use her to add yet another 300 BP to Sakura's current BP, but it must be done in a separate turn. Just remember, you cannot back a character up with more Back-Up cards than what is listed on each individual character. So, in the case of Oro you cannot back him up with two Ryu cards. You also cannot Back-Up Oro with Ryu (A) as that is a different card from the one listed.
To Back-Up a character you simply place the Back-Up character under the base character like in this diagram.
  • Use Action Card Card(s). Any number of Action Cards may be used in this phase, as long as you have the SP to support them. First you must spend the SP; then follow the rule on the card. Remember, If you are going to use an AC card, you must do it before you initiate your attack. By attacking, you are indicating that you are ending your turn.
  • Attack – There are several ways your active ringed characters can attack. Here are the explanations for each. No matter which attack you choose to use, your character must be put into a Frozen State after they do the attack (this is indicated by turning your character sideways).
frozen state
A Frozen character cannot Counter-Attack. 

  • Square Ability -  Instead of performing a Single Attack or a United-Attack, a character might have a square ability. This special attack allows you to alter the rules of the game or will cause ill effects to your opponent. Declare that you are using your ability and read it out loud and follow the directions on the card. Square abilities must be initiated before any Single or United attacks are made.
  • Single Attack – Each character can attack on their own. To attack simply slide the card that will be attacking forward to indicate they are performing a Single attack. (You can have up to 3 Single Attacks, one per character on your side of the ring). The character's current BP will indicate their attack power. You take the attacker's BP minus the defender's BP. If the attacker's BP is higher they will defeat the defender and the attacker's BP will be reduced by the defenders current BP.
For example, if you have Ryu with 1000 BP attacking Guile who currently has 300 BP, Ryu will win, but will have his BP reduced to 700 BP. Adjust Ryu's BP accordingly and place Ryu in a Frozen State by turning him sideways. If Ryu attacks and your opponent decides not to defend, then Ryu's full attack of 1000 BP will damage your opponent's HP directly. A Single attack will not normally reduce the HP of a player unless no counterattack is made. 
  • Union Attack – A union is an attack that combines the power of two or three characters in your ring. If you perform a Single-Union (attacking with two characters combined as one) it will cost you 5 SP. If you perform a Double-Union (attacking with three characters combined as one) it will cost you 10 SP. The advantage of performing a Union is the initiated attack will pierce through the defending character, if they are unable to stop 100% of the attack damage.
Here is how a Union works. Let's say you have three characters ready to attack. For this example, I'll use Ryu, Ken, and Chun-Li. To make this easier to explain let's say all characters currently have 500 BP each. Let's begin by initiating a Single-Union with Ryu and Ken. First you need to spend 5 SP to initiate the attack. Next you need to tell your opponent who is going to be the first attacker in the Union and who is going to be second. You then combine their BP which in this example is a total of 1000 BP. For now, you decide to leave Chun-Li alone and will not have her do a Single attack. Your opponent decides to use Geese to defend, and he is at 800 BP. You have decided that Ken will be your first attacker in this union. His attack slams into Geese reducing his BP by 500 BP. This will cause Ken to be KO'd and Geese to be reduced to 300 BP. Ryu now follows up as the second part of the union hitting Geese for another 500 BP of damage. Because Geese still has 300 BP this attack will KO him, but it will also reduce Ryu's BP by 300 points, bringing Ryu down to 200 BP. Geese is discarded and Ryu's remaining 200 BP will then damage your opponent by 200 HP. You now put Ryu into Freeze Phase. 

A Double Union works the same way only with all three characters at once, and it will cost you 10 SP to initiate the attack. Just remember you have to tell the defender who is attacking first, second, and third within the union. Whatever BP is leftover after the defender attempts to counter the attack, will cause damage directly to your opponent's HP. 

If you are using a character with a Circle Ability in a Union, the circle ability will become void for that round if it's an ability that takes place after an attack. For instance, Ken does not enter Freeze Phase after he attacks. But, if you include him in a Union, Ken will become frozen.

As soon as you declare an attack your turn is over and your opponent has a chance to initiate Phase 4.

Also, if you decide to initiate a Single Union and you have a third active character in the ring, you may choose to send them in to attack on their own.

Phase 4 Counterattack Phase – Now that you are being attacked here is your chance to counter the attack. This phase, if you would like to use a Reaction-Card, this is when you will want to do it. Just remember, Reaction Cards must be used before you initiate any defensive measures with your ringed characters. (An example was already given above on how to attack and counter, so refer to that for assistance)

When all attacks and counters have taken place, it is now the next players turn to start over at Phase 1.

Throughout the game, if a character ever returns to your hand or your deck, their stats are all reset. So, once you put that character back into play again you get to take advantage of their Abilities, SP and BP as if this is their first time entering the ring.

The Card Fighters Special, Legends Expansion will supercharge your card battles. With an expanded character roster, added Action and Reaction cards to give your opponent a new surprise that they may not be expecting. Along with more of the usual cards, now can change the arena that you are fighting in which will give new constant rule changes. New Striker cards that allow you to jump in and out of the ring in the heat of battle to turn the tides.

Diagram of the layout for Legends Gameplay
layout of ring

The majority of rules with the expansion have all stayed the same, there are just a few changes that will you need to take note of.
  • Along with new types of cards comes a larger deck for each round. You now have to have 60 cards in your deck. And just like before you can mix and match card types as much as you would like to, the only difference is 3 of the cards in your deck must be Strikers that will be pulled before you begin your game. (If using card sleeves you can even use a different color for your Strikers to make it easy on you).

  • Two New Card Types:

  1. Striker Cards – Strikers are any 3 character cards that you pull from your deck before you shuffle your deck at the beginning of the round (you can choose your Strikers by searching through the deck and pulling them manually). Place your Strikers in a pile face up in their given location.

    Each Striker has 200 BP, no matter what is reflected on the card. Also, ignore the SP value as you do not gain SP for using a Striker. Using a Striker also does not cost you SP. They do not possess any special ability (even if their card says that they do). Their purpose is to either give you an advantage before you attack, or they can be used to defend against an attack that is coming at you.

    Note: A Striker cannot be used to defend against another Striker unless an ability or other card in play changes this rule. Strikers give you a chance to use some of the characters in the game that are normally not used because of their low stats.

    The usage of a Striker is as follows. Before you make an attack you can send a Striker in to specifically attack a character that is in play. The defender can choose to counter that attack or not. If they do counter, 200 BP will be removed from the defending character, and the Striker is removed from the game. If the defending player chooses to not counter the 200 BP of attack will hit the player reducing their life by 200 HP, and the Striker is still removed from the game.

    Note: Removal of this card from the game does not mean discarded, it means that the card is removed and set aside from the rest of the game. There are chances for you to bring Strikers back into play, but they will be placed right back into your Striker Deck. Be sure to look at the tabletop layout for the new Expansion.

    Lastly, a Striker can be used to block Special Abilities. If your opponent uses a SQUARE Ability to target a specific character in the ring, you may play your Striker to negate the effect of that attack. If your opponent puts a character into play with a TRIANGLE ability that specifically targets a character you may also use a Striker to negate that Ability. The only time you cannot use a Striker for these two cases is if the ability:

  • Targets multiple Characters on your side of the ring. You can however use 1, 2, or 3 of your Strikers to defend against these sorts of attack, but be careful as this can leave you without any Strikers for the rest of the round.

  • Targets either Player or the Player's Deck, or Player's Hand.

  1. Arena Cards – Arena's are cards that will change where your fighters are currently fighting. When you start your game the Arena is just a basic arena with no effects, throughout your battle you can play Arena Cards that will affect both players equally. Some of these cards may give you advantages or disadvantages, it just depends on how you build your deck. Arena Cards are played in the Arena slot on your play area, the owner's card always faces them (this way you will not mix up who owns which cards). If your opponent plays an Arena Card it will be played right on top of the current Arena Card in play, covering the previous Arena's effects.

    You can keep stacking Arena Cards on top of each other as much as you'd like, but don't forget what cards are underneath it, because if an Arena is destroyed, the Arena that is under it will now become active. You can play as many Arena Cards as you'd like on your turn before you initiate an attack.

    There is no SP cost to play an Arena Card, but the card's effects will begin as soon as the card is in play, or in the case of an Area becoming destroyed when the Arena underneath the destroyed card is visible its effect becomes activated immediately.

Definitions and Abbreviations (important to look over)
Abilities/Ability Effects - See Circle Ability, Square Ability, or Triangle Ability below.
AC Card or Action Card – Offers a variety of useful assistance. Listed on each AC card is the SP (Cost) needed to use the card. Any number of AC cards can be used in a turn if you have the SP.
Attack – Is when you use your characters to attempt to damage the enemy. Any number of characters can attack in the attack phase, but the frozen characters or those just put in the Ring can't attack.
Back-Up – Is linking your character in the Ring with one in your Hand. The character receiving Back-up gets 300 extra BP regardless of the back-up character's BP. Note that the character combinations for successful Back-up are predetermined (see Character Card). Back-Up cannot be utilized for characters who just entered the ring and cannot be used on Frozen Characters. Characters used for Back-up are not considered to be in the Ring. If a character getting Back-up are KO'd or returned to the hand or pile, the Back-up character is discarded.
BP or Battle Points – BP shows a character's attack power and health. If the BP falls to zero, that character is KO'd and discarded. The maximum BP level is 3000 (9000 during a United Attack).
Character Card – Characters are needed to attack your opponent.
Circle Ability – This ability takes effect as soon as you place the character in your ring. This ability is a constant effect until the character is discarded or forced out of the ring. 
Counterattack – Is when your character counters an enemy attack. Single characters can only counterattack one attacker. Characters can't counterattack repeatedly against 1 attacker per round. Also, frozen characters can't counterattack.
Deck – The 50 cards used by each player in battles are called the Deck. You can add desired cards to a deck, but you can include only 3 of the same card in it.
Discard – Discards are cards put in the used card pile. Used Action cards, Reaction cards and KO'd character cards are all put here. Cards labeled “Discard” refer to those in your discard pile.
Freeze – Is a condition in which characters are turned sideways after attacking or using a Square ability, leaving them unable to act. Characters can also slip into Freeze Phase with an AC card or the power of another character's Ability.
Hand – Cards held by each player are called the Hand. When starting battles, 5 cards are in your hand, and 1 can be added later per turn. There's no limit for cards in your hand so you can keep as many as you want. Cards labeled “Hand” refer to those in your hand.
HP or Hit Points – shows player'' life energy levels. HP drops when attacked by an enemy character, and your character loses when it drops to zero. Maximum HP is 5000.
RE Card or Reaction Card – This is a card that allows special defense tactics before you actually begin your counter attack.
Ring- is the field wherein characters fight. Each player can put up to 3 cards in the Ring.
SP or Soul Points – SP shows needed energy for using Action Cards and Reaction Cards. United Attacks also cost SP.
Square Ability – This ability can be used instead of attacking and will take up the character's turn. So, after using the character is immediately put into Freeze Phase.
Standby - This is a temporary freeze when you first enter a character into the ring. This temporary freeze only lasts until your turn ends making it so new characters in the ring cannot attack but will be able to defend.
Triangle Ability – this ability is used as soon as you place the card in your Ring (Immediate effect).
Turn – is when a player follows procedures to move the game along. A Battle is when you and your enemy repeat turns until one wins.
Union – See United Attack 
United Attack – is when numerous characters attack together at once and not separately. To do a United Attack 5 SP cost is needed in a Single United Attack and 10 SP for a Double United Attack. Unlike single attacks, if the total BP of the attacking character is higher than the counterattack character the remaining BP will go directly to inflict damage to opponents HP.

Note: Some rules have been modified from the original Card Fighters Clash


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This site is not affiliated with SNK or Capcom. All characters and artwork are copyright by their proper owners.
 I do not claim any copyrights on any of their intellectual properties within these pages. No money is being made from this project it has been all for educational purposes only.

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Legends Expansion