Universal Fighting System: The Unsung Hero of CCG’s

Universal Fighting System, or UFS as it’s more commonly known, has actually been around since 2006, and was at one point, one of the biggest CCG’s around. Some unfortunate events including changing hands with a company that made the game wildly unbalanced certainly weakened it’s mass appeal, but it has since changed hands a second time to a company that seems to be admirably handling the games nuances and what made it so popular in the first place. It has since been climbing its way back up and still has a very dedicated playerbase to this day.

It’s a game built up of various different video game (and now original) franchises, and it’s given me some of the most fun times I’ve ever had with a CCG. The basic rules of the game involve choosing a character you like, whether they be from such franchises as Soul Calibur, Tekken, or The King of Fighters (and soon to be, excitingly, Megaman!) or an original character, all with differing starting hand-sizes and health totals, then building up a small ‘foundation’ base (grey cards that signify training or the personality of the characters) then using those cards in order to play attacks and blocks and eventually take your opponents’ characters health down to zero, winning the game. It’s great for those ‘who would win’ scenarios, as this game allows you to play a game that answers such questions. For more advanced rules and more information on the game itself, take a trip over to http://www.jascogames.com/ and have a look! Or for a quick look at one of my favourite characters:


Honestly, my reasons for having so much fun with the game isn’t solely due to the mechanics of the game itself. That isn’t to say the mechanics aren’t good, they’re extremely sound and quite different to any of the mainstream CCGs’. The playerbase for UFS is easily the most accomodating and friendly playerbase I’ve ever seen both as a player and as a tournament organiser.  Very much a case of ‘come for the game, stay for the players’. Anyone who’s ever gone to a large scale tournament for Yugioh, or MTG etc, knows that while there are a lot of lovely people worth meeting at such events, we get a lump in our throat for thinking of those who don’t so much ‘play’ as ‘gamble’ and go to these events with a single objective in mind, whether that be to win, or to make money, or otherwise. Refreshingly, this isn’t the case with UFS. As someone who has played since the games inception, I wouldn’t still be playing the game now if it weren’t simply so enjoyable to play. and the people weren’t so enjoyable to play with. I personally have played UFS since, well, 2006, when the game was originally owned by Sabertooth Games and Street Fighter was the first set available. A friend I worked with bought it for me from the shop we worked for, and it instantly grabbed us. We quickly developed a playerbase of over 20 and we eagerly awaited new releases and were tantalised by the idea of the National Championship winners’ prize. They called it ‘the greatest prize in gaming’. And I gotta say, my friends and I were definately interested enough in it to try multiple times to get it. The prize was to have a completely tournament legal card made out of the winner him/herself and transformed into a character within the game. So you yourself could get involved in a ‘who would win’ fight with say… Nightmare from Soul Calibur. How cool is that?! Cut to 2009 and after many years of trying, and lots and lots of games later, I managed to get such a character card myself!

Joe Hill

Not to sound sappy, but as amazing a prize as this was, it pales in comparison to the people I’ve met on the journey to getting it and am still continuing to meet today. When I went to the World Championship in 2009, there wasn’t a single person there who’s company I couldn’t say I enjoyed. From complete strangers a mere few hours earlier, I had a good 50 odd people in a restaurant all at once with me after the championship had finished, and most of those continued to have an amazing night out straight after. What other CCG gives you such a true sense of community like this?

So now perhaps you can catch a glimpse as to why I want to focus on UFS a little. It deserves it. I’ll be putting up tournament results on the odd occasion, and maybe some interviews with a couple of players both here in the UK and overseas. So click away for a bit of news of this truly unsung hero of CCG’s!


One response to “Universal Fighting System: The Unsung Hero of CCG’s

  1. It’s funny when I think back on the UFS days, it’s a game I never wanted to play, hated the sound of it, and had a small amount of resentment for what it was taking away from WarCry and Dark Millenium, these still being my main games of choice. It took Kev Beadle driving down to the shop I ran and basically demoing the game to me to get my interest fired up, he was always a dedicated soul. We started running it in store, it was hard work to begin with, but people soon migrated from other ccgs, or started as newbs, and the game grew. I still, and possibly always will, hold the record for most displays sold on day of release I believe, 53 displays, backed up with a sealed release event, oh what a happy till it was that day.

    My first national event was Cardboard Combat, held at Games Workshop’s H.O. in Nottingham, a city we were all to visit many times, and it was my first real clue as to just what this game could be. The crowd was, different shall we say. It wasn’t the squeaky Pokemon players, it wasn’t the YuGi players with their high opinion of themselves and their game, it wasn’t the oh so grown up and often far too serious Magic players (personal opinion based on too many years dealing with said player groups 🙂 ), it was almost like a new breed of player, players who wanted to have a bit of, hang on, what’s this, fun? 🙂 Many tournaments followed, the crowds grew and I met more and more people who were just some of the nicest people I had met in too many years of geeky gaming. They came from all over the country, Sheffield, Nottingham, Colchester, Plymouth, etc, but we all got together with one main aim, to have fun playing the best CCG there was.

    This is turning from a reply in to the memoirs of an “older” gamer, so I’ll wrap it up (quiet in the cheap seats). I’ve lost count of the CCGs I’ve played, I’ve lost count of the tournaments I’ve played in, but I can honestly say I’ve never met a better crowd of guys than those I met playing UFS. If I could play today I would, time, money, etc, have put my CCG days on hold, but when I return, and I will, UFS will be the game I return to.

    Great article Joe, you make me miss you guys and the game more than I realised.

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