Cute Monsters? No. Royalty!

Colosseum started off as an experiment in game design and a cure for card game boredom at 2AM on a camping trip. Colosseum is to the Pokémon TCG as Duel is to Magic: The Gathering. It is an adaptation of the well-known Pokémon Card Game for a pack of regular playing cards. It's not intended to replace the original, but it's a fun game to play in its own right. Even if you hate everything about dueling creatures packed in air-tight balls for a G-rated version of cock-fighting, this game should provide a bit more strategy than most run-of-the-mill card games out there and still provide a good amount of luck associated.

What You Need

Creature Types

Each of the four suits possesses a creature type that determines the weakness and resistance of each creature. Each suit also possesses a different status effect which may be used after each creature has evolved, we'll return to status effects a little later, after we introduce the creatures in the game. Below is a handy chart for which type each suit possesses, and what each type is weak and resistant to.

Hearts Spades Diamonds Clubs
Psychic = - +
Ghost + = -
Electric + = -
Fighting - + =
The way one would use this chart is to look at the desired suit and see which suits affect it in the way of weakness and resistance.
For example, The Hearts suit may also be referred to as "Psychic", it is weak to Spades (Ghost) and is resistant to Clubs (Fighting).


A creature who is weak to the opponent's creature type takes 10 more damage after an attack is dealt. A creature who is resistant to an opponent's creature type takes 10 less damage after an attack is dealt.
A King of Hearts is in play and the opponent's active creature is a Jack of Spades.
When the Jack of Spades attacks the King of Hearts, it does 20 damage instead of 10.
If the King of Hearts wishes to attack for 30, the Jack of Spades only takes 20 damage since he is resistant to Hearts.

Basic Creatures

The face cards in the deck represent the dueling creatures in this game.
Jack, Queen, King & Ace may be used as Basic Creatures you start off with in the card game:

Card HP Attack Cost Damage
Jack 30 1 10
Queen 40 2 20
King 50 3 30
Ace 60 4 40

The retreat cost is always one less than the attack cost for each creature. This stays true even after Evolution.


After you have kept a Basic Creature in play for one turn, you have the option of evolving the creatures to gain strength, health, and status effects special to each type. Evolution may be done by placing the next card in one's suit hierarchy on top of a currently existing creature in the playing area. For each evolution, 20 health is added and 10 more damage is given to the attack. The creature also gains a status effect for that type. The attack cost equals that of the previous evolution.

A King of Diamonds that evolved from a Queen possesses 60HP and may use the King's attack of 30 with only 2 energy cards.
It also gains the ability to paralyze creatures.
The Joker, may be used as an evolution card as well. If a Joker is used on top of any creature, their HP and attack rise +20/+20. The creature is also made colorless, meaning it may use any suit of cards for energy and possesses no weakness, resistance, or status effects. Once a Joker is used, that creature may no longer evolve in the game.

Evolution Chain
Basic Creature -> Level 1 -> Level 2 or higher -> Joker

Status Effects

Each type possesses a specific status effect that may be used after evolution. When a card is evolved once (a level 1 evolution) the player must flip a coin after attacking in order to inflict the status effect on the opponent. If heads, the status effect occurs, if tails, it fails. If a card has been evolved at lease twice (level 2 or higher creature) there is no need to flip a coin and the status effect is inflicted upon the opponent.

The following is a list of each status effect available to the specific creature types:
Confusion - Hearts (Psychic)
If confusion is inflicted upon an opponent, the opponent must flip a coin before they attempt to attack or retreat. If heads, the player attacks and retreats normally. If tails however, any attempts at retreating fail and the creature attacks itself if the coin flip was intended for an attack.

Poison - Spades (Ghosts)
At the end of the opponent's turn, 10 damage will be inflicted upon the poisoned creature.

Paralysis - Diamonds (Electric)
The opponent may not attack or retreat their creature for one turn.

Pummel - Clubs (Fighting)
10 damage is inflicted on any selected creature on the bench, no weakness or resistance is applied.
Poison and Confusion may be removed only when the inflicted creature returns to the bench.

Energy Cards

Energy cards are used to pay for your creature's attack cost and retreat cost. The number cards (2-10) function as energy cards in this game. You just attach a number card of the creature's suit to the creature and use that energy for as long as it is attached. Energy cards must be discarded for retreat cost. All number cards provide 1 energy.

You attach a 4 of Hearts to a Queen of Hearts to provide 1 Energy for use in attacking or retreating.

Trainer Cards

Trainer cards provide many uses and are vital to good strategy. Many are used for disruption of your opponent's game, or for leveraging your own. Number cards may be used as either Energy cards and Trainer cards, it's your choice. You may use cards of any suit.

The following is a list of Trainer Cards and their uses in this game:
2 - Bill
Draw 2 Cards.
3 - Evil Bill
Look at your opponent's hand, choose 1 card of theirs to discard.
4 - Potion
Remove 20 damage from your creature.
5 - Transfer (Switch/Gust of Wind)
You may either switch your own active creature with another on the bench, or switch your opponent's active creature for one on his or her own bench.
6 - Energy Removal
Remove 1 energy card from one of your opponent's creatures.
7 - Professor Oak
Discard hand, draw 5 cards.
8 - Defender
Attach to your active creature to reduce your opponent's next attack by 20 damage. Discard after one turn.
9 - PlusPower
Adds 10 damage to an attack, discard after attacking.
10 - Heal
Remove status effect on creature.

How To Win

Game Setup

Playing a Turn


As you play, you'll notice the deck getting thinner. Depending on how many Oaks and Bills you and your opponent play, this may be faster than anyone expects. Not a problem. As soon as you run out of cards in your deck, just take the discard pile, shuffle it and it will function as your main library again. This is the reason why cleanup phase is so important in this card game, the deck may still keep on giving until the point somebody wins.

Hope you enjoy the rules!


Mark Brown for his game Duel, providing inspiration for this game variant. Jason Curley for suggesting we use Pokémon as a base of rules when I said, "We should make our own card game" in the tent as 2AM and being a co-creator in all ways. Ryan Heyser for making suggestions about evolution, and status effects, Tony Joy for watching our play testing and making some comments of your own despite the fact you were really tired that night (I forgive you, I know Jessica can take up all your energy ;-) ).

Email me some comments and suggestions if you feel the need to, I'd love to see them! (email : me at enriquesantos dot net)

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Rules Last Updated: February 5, 2005
Last Maintenance Update: November 28, 2012