|Playing time||Approx 45 min|
|Skill(s) required||Card playing
Basic reading ability
Ani-Mayhem was an anime-based collectible card game first released in 1996 in the wake of the CCG boom created by the popularity of Magic: The Gathering. Produced by the merchandising arm of Pioneer Animation (now known as Geneon) and published by Upper Deck, Ani-Mayhem's cards featured images from a variety of anime series and movies. The first two sets were composed of multiple productions and the third and final set was based entirely on the long-running Dragon Ball Z.
Like most CCGs that were created in the post-Magic boom, Ani-Mayhem's existence was a brief side note in the industry. When the first set, commonly known as Set 0, was published, its rulebook was considered uninformative and incomplete. Later printings of the game attempted to fix this by including a more detailed rulebook that fundamentally altered the way the game played. The Dragon Ball Z expansion, which came in starter decks just as the original set did, included a rule set that rewrote the game for a second time.
The idea of the game was to allow an open-ended system that would allow all characters from all anime to interact with one another in the same card game. The result of the game was a very pretty set of cards, but very badly managed game terminology. If you were to print out all the card errata there was, it would be at least three-to-four times as long as the game's rulebook, however, this is not a problem limited to Ani-Mayhem by any means. Another problem that hurt the game came in the wake of the Dragon Ball Z expansion. The cards in this set were typically much more powerful than the average cards present in Sets 0 and 1, leading to serious imbalance that was further compounded by the vast number of rules changes that the expansion introduced.
Five years ahead of its time, this multi-property approach would be attempted again by Upper Deck, in the creation of the VS System, which proved to be more successful. Other multi-property games include Sabertooth Games' Universal Fighting System and Score Entertainment's Epic Battles. Decipher, Inc. similarly reused the game engine from the Star Wars CCG in its WARS Trading Card Game.