In Trails of Cold Steel, the card game became a hit with the locals thanks to Crow Armbrust's obsession with teaching children how to gamble. The game can be played during the train rides to Field Studies between Rean and each of the party members assigned to his group. Rean can receive 50 link experience with each party member he plays against, but only for the first match against that party member per train ride.
In Trails of Cold Steel II, Crow shares a Blade II deck with Rean. After receiving a deck from him, the game can be played at any time on the Courageous between Rean and each of the party members on board. Rean can receive 100 link experience with each party member he plays against, but only for the first match against each of up to five party members between each major story development. When played on December 30th, Rean can gain 800 link experience instead with one chosen party member and trigger a Bonding Event. Blade II can't be played again after this match.
Blade is played one-on-one with a single Blade deck consisting of Blade cards numbered from 1 to 7, Bolt cards, and Mirror cards. Blade II is played the same way with the addition of Blast cards and Force cards.
The parts of the board are as follows.
- Decks: One for each player. This consists of five cards per player, not visible to either player. The players play from here only when the field is clear.
- Hands: One for each player. This is not visible to the other player during play. Each player draws ten to their hand at the start of the game and plays all "attacks" from here.
- Field: Each player has a pile of face-up cards they add to with each play. All cards are cleared from the field after a play when both current totals are the same.
To play, 30 cards are taken from the deck and divided in half (15 cards) for each player. Each player draws ten cards into their hand, hidden from their opponent.
- The first move is called "dicking", where each player draws a card from their deck and plays it on the field as a face-off to start each of their piles. The number of the card is added to each player's current total in play. Cards that don't have numbers always have the value of "1" in a "dick".
- Play always goes to the player with the lower current total. The goal is to have a greater current total than the opponent. The player plays an "attack" from their hand to this goal.
- If their total is now higher than their opponent's total, the opponent must then play an "attack".
- If their total is now equal to their opponent's total, the field is cleared of cards (and totals) and both players must "dick" again from their deck. If the decks are empty, they may choose from their hand. The game is a draw if there are no cards to choose from at this point.
- If either player's hand becomes empty or either player plays a card that raises their total to a value less than their opponent's total, the game ends and the player with the higher current total wins.
- The game ends with a loss for a player if the last card they can play is a Bolt or Mirror (or Blast or Force in Blade II). This is called a "foul".
- In Blade II, if a Blast card is played, the player's total will not increase so they will be able to "attack" again.
Here is a breakdown of all cards and their effects.
(I / II)
Rod or 1
|Elliot's orbal staff||
||2 / ?|
|Fie's twin gunswords||Adds value of 2 to current total||3 / ?|
|Alisa's orbal bow||Adds value of 3 to current total||4 / ?|
|Jusis's sword||Adds value of 4 to current total||4 / ?|
|Machias's orbal shotgun||Adds value of 5 to current total||4 / ?|
|Gaius's spear||Adds value of 6 to current total||3 / ?|
|Laura's greatsword||Adds value of 7 to current total||2 / ?|
||6 / ?|
|Emma's orbal staff||
||4 / ?|
||— / ?|
|Sara's sword and gun||
||— / ?|
- ↑ A 1 Blade card played in the play after the opponent used a Bolt card is known as a Rod card. This un-reverses the reversed card and reinstates that card's value. The Rod card is not added to the player's pile.
- ↑ A Bolt card reverses the latest played card of the opponent. The opponent may use their next play to un-reverse with a Rod card, or they will replace that reversed card with another play. The Bolt card is not added to the player's pile.
- ↑ A Mirror card switches the side of all cards on the field. The Mirror card is not added to the player's pile.
- ↑ A Blast card shuffles the opponent's cards and keeps them obscured. The player then chooses the card to discard, and the card that was discarded is revealed. The player may "attack" again since current totals have not changed. The Blast card is not added to the player's pile.
- ↑ A Force card doubles the total of the card values beneath it in the pile. The Force card is added to the player's pile and a Bolt card can reverse it.
- While Trails of Cold Steel doesn't mention all of the terminology of the game Blade, the terms for "dicking" and "attacking" can be found in the Brandish-series games.
- In Brandish: The Dark Revenant, a Blade game that ends in a draw is a loss for Ares, since he is playing the casino.