How To Play

*Gameplay Instructions*

OCTGN provides the tools needed to play the game, but assumes you know how to play the game. For reference the following materials are provided by Enterplay online:

Basic Rule Book

Comprehensive Rule Book

Official Card Reference

There is a some automation built in that helps keep track of the phases of the game and handles giving out action tokens at the start of each turn. Although you can toggle some of this automation, intructions will be given at the end of the page.

Twelve decks are included for reference – six theme decks with decklists from the starter/theme decks and six variants on those decks that have been tweaked to be more effective.  For more on creating custom decks, check out the Deckbuilding page.

OCTGN has an online lobby and a chat room where you can host and join other people’s games, or you can simply create a game by yourself and use the program to take test-draws with your decks.

General Gameplay Instructions:

At the beginning of the game you should load decks and then determine who will go first.  The game has built-in functions to flip a coin (Alt+F) or roll a D6 (Alt+6) or you can use whatever method you like.  The first player should click the Green Arrow on their tab in the bottom panel to let the game know they’ll be taking the first turn.

The Setup (F12) function will select your Starting Problem, play your Mane Character, shuffle your deck, and draw your opening hand. (CTRL+M) can be used to take a Mulligan.  After that, each player can Tab through their turns.  Starting your turn this way will handle the various start-of-turn actions for you, such as readying cards, giving Action Tokens, and drawing a card.  Ending your turn this way tells the game to make your opponent active player and allows them to start their turn.  The F1-F5 keys can be used to explicitly declare the Ready, Troublemaker, Main, Score, and End of Turn phases if you need to skip ahead or make a mistake and have to go back.

The two counters on each player’s tabs at the bottom are for tracking each players Points and Action Tokens.  As you gain or spend either you should use these to keep track of how many you have.  Note that the Action Tokens you receive at start of turn will be granted automatically based on the highest score of either player.

Within the game, all functions are also accessible via context-sensitive menus that pop up if you right-click on the table, your hand, your deck, or just about anywhere.  However, nearly everything can also be done with keyboard shortcuts, listed below.


Game System:

(F12) Setup – After you have a deck loaded, this will set the board up to be ready for play.

(CTRL-M) Mulligan – Allow you to redraw your opening hand

(ALT-S) Scoop – Puts all cards back into their appropriate decks

(Shift-Click a Card on the Table) – Paint or remove a targeting indicator on a card

(Hold Shift and Drag from Card to Card on the Table) – Paint a targeting arrow from one card to another on the table

(Drag Card from hand or deck, then press and hold Shift before dropping Card) Move card from hand or deck to table face-down (needed for playing Troublemakers)

Turn System:

(Tab) Next Phase – Moves through the Ready, Troublemaker, Main, and Score Phases in order. Tabbing off of the Score Phase ends your turn.

(F1) Jump to Start Turn – This will also provide the correct number of action tokens based on who has the most points.

(F2) Jump to Troublemaker Phase

(F3) Jump to Main Phase

(F4) Jump to Score Phase

(F5) Jump to End Turn –  Passes active player status to opponent and advances the turn marker

(F6) Declare Response


(CTRL+F) Faceoff Flip – Flips the top card of your deck into the middle of the table for a faceoff. These will automatically be put on the bottom of your deck when the phase or turn changes.

(ALT+C) Faceoff Clear – Move flipped faceoff cards to the bottom of their owner’s decks.

Special Ablities:

(ALT+I) – Inspired – Let’s you peek at the top card of your opponent’s deck.

(ALT+SHIFT+I) – Inspired – Let’s you move your opponent’s top card to the bottom.

(ALT+M) – Meticulous – Let’s you peek the top card in your deck

Basic Functions:

(CTRL+D) Draw a card

(CTRL+A) Pay 1 Action Token to Draw a Card

(CTRL+S) Shuffle your deck

(CTRL+P) Shuffle your Problem deck

(ALT+D) Randomly discard a card from hand

(Shift-Click) Paint a target selection onto a card

(Mouse-Wheel) Zoom in and out

(Spacebar) Allows view of table to be moved

(Drag a card to the bottom of a deck) Puts card on the bottom of the deck. (useful for faceoffs)

Card Manipulation:

(F7 OR Double-Click the Card) Exhaust or Ready a card on the table

(CTRL+F7) Permanently Exhaust a card on the table

(SHIFT+F7) Flip Card (mostly useful for Mane Characters and Troublemakers)

(F8) Mark a card as a Pump card

(CTRL+F8) Mark a card as a Cutie Marked card

(CTRL+1) Add a marker to a card on the table

(CTRL+SHIFT+1) Subtract a marker from a card on the table

(SHIFT+F8) Duplicate card on the table

(CTRL+ALT+B) Add Loyalty – Adds a blue counter on the card

(CTRL+ALT+O) Add Honesty – Adds a orange counter on the card

(CTRL+ALT+P) Add Laughter – Adds a pink counter on the card

(CTRL+ALT+U) Add Magic – Adds a purple counter on the card

(CTRL+ALT+W) Add Generosity – Adds a white counter on the card

(CTRL+ALT+Y) Add Kindess – Adds a yellow counter on the card

(CTRL+ALT+R) Remove Colour – Remove any colour counter(s) on the card

(ARROW UP) Rotate Card Up – Rotate card to face up (For multiplayer)

(ARROW RIGHT) Rotate Card Right – Rotate card to face right (For multiplayer)

(ARROW DOWN) Rotate Card Down – Rotate card to face down (For multiplayer)

(ARROW LEFT) Rotate Card Left – Rotate card to face left (For multiplayer)

Points/Action Tokens/Tokens:

(CTRL+Q) Gain Point – Adds a victory point

(CTRL+W) Subtract Point – Lose a victory point

(Enter) Spend Action – Spends an Action Token

(CTRL+Enter) Gain Action – Gain an Action Token

(ALT+T) Add Tokens


(ALT+F) Flip a Coin

(ALT+6) Roll a six-sided die

(ALT+X) Roll an X-sided die (user chooses)


From update, further automation was added to the game. The first addition is the Automatic Action Token System which calculates the cost of the card you are trying to play and compares it with your current amount of AT. If you do not have enough AT, it will warn you about it but you can still play the card if you desire. The second addition is the Color Requirement Checker that captures every faced-up friend and mane you own, along with any power counters on them. It uses this to calculates the total power for each color you have on the table. With this, it can compare with the color requirement on the card you want to play and determine if you can play that card. Again, if you do not meet the color requirements, it will warn you about it but you can still play the card if you desire.

Sometimes, the automation might be annoying especially at the end of the game if you want to show your opponent what card you could have played etc. Therefore, there is a on/off button which can be found when you right click your Hand area (Or if you like shortcuts, it’s CTRL+C). It’s called “Toggle Auto AT and Color Req Check”, clicking it will disable this feature and clicking it again will enable it. By default, this feature will be enabled. Any game reset will also reset it to the default setting.

KNOWN ISSUE: There will be a OCTGN message that will tell your opponent what card you tried to play, even if you pick the option of not playing the card.

15 thoughts on “How To Play

    • Currently the way to do this would be to right-click your opponent’s Problem Deck and “Take Control” of it. Do what you need to do. Then right-click again and “Pass Control” back to your opponent.

      Adding specific functions in to handle such things automatically is on the list of things to do, but that’s how you can handle such effects currently.

  1. Hey, think you could put some reference cards in there? The old one had those, and it was super handy for figuring out when AP increases with what score.

    Or table backgrounds perhaps. That’d be good too.

    • There will probably be some basic reference stuff added to the Game Documentation area that’s accessible within the game in a future patch.

    • That’s certainly something that we’d like to do!

      What most likely would happen would be that initially we’d add some modifications to the turn tracking logic to properly account for more than two players, which would allow multiplayer play although would probably require at least some manual placement of things like the Problem cards, and for players to work out which sides of each Problem they’re going to be playing their cards to.

      The biggest challenge would most likely be keeping straight whose cards are whose. This is currently managed quite simply with two players because OCTGN’s two-sided table automatically orients each player’s cards to face them. Since the multiplayer rules are not team-based but instead are FFA, this becomes a bit of a challenge because OCTGN doesn’t have options for any more than two sides to a table. We’ve got some ideas about how this might be done, but I wouldn’t expect anything major on this until after Canterlot Nights at the soonest.

    • I’m not sure what you mean by the “download” versions of the game. OCTGN since version 3.0 no longer is built around installing game files (the old .o8g files) directly – it’s specifically geared for connecting to a MyGet feed and installing games through that interface.

  2. Is it somehow possible to play Troublemakers face-down?
    In the current version I tried like everything but unfortunately as soon as I place the card on the table my opponent knows what I’m playing.

    • This is covered in the instructions, but when you are dragging the TM from your hand onto the table, hold shift before you drop the TM. That’s how you get cards to come into play face-down.

  3. The instructions on playing a trouble maker are either wrong.. or theres no mechanic for it yet..
    The chat dialog clearly states to the other player what that trouble maker is.

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