Sportcard companies had published collectible card games - why not a video label? Pioneer Entertainment, the division of Pioneer Electronics that produced videotapes and laser discs (those big things that came before DVDs), had experience repackaging anime titles for the American market. Trading on the popularity of anime characters, Pioneer Entertainment developed Ani-Mayhem, it's first and only CCG to date, for release under its Panime logo. Ani-Mayhem Set 0 consisted of images derived from four popular anime shows: Bubblegum Crisis, El Hazard, Ramma 1/2, and Tenchi Muyo.
Ani-Mayhem requires one to four players to create a playing field of location cards. On it are places item cards (treasures) and disasters (enemies/hazards). Each player moves his characters on this field in a group and battles the disasters in an attempt to acquire items. The disasters move around the field in a pattern, and when they move off the map (and then back on) - they permanently remove items from the field. In effect, you really play against the disasters, rather than your opponents.
Ani-Mayhem did not have the best design; it was cumbersome and confusing to play, and you could do little to affect your opponent's success. On the positive side, it was original and is one of the few CCGs that can be played solitaire.
Tod Harrick served as the manager of the CCG products line for Pioneer, which produced two more sets for Ani-Mayhem. When Harrick left at the end of 1997, he was never replaced, and the game was allowed to die.
The first expansion for Ani-Mayhem, mundanely titled Set 1, consisted of 220 cards with images derived from four more popular anime shows: Armitage III, Dominion Tank Police, Phantom Quest Corp., and Project A-ko, with a special appearance by Oh My Goddess!
The set was sold in booster packs only.
Not to be confused with the 2000 game of the same name by Score, Dragon Ball Z, the stand-alone second expansion to Ani-Mayhem, features 233 cards and a completely rewritten and comprehensible rulebook. Released in September 1997 and previewed at GenCon the month before, this set focused on only one anime series and was the most successful of the three Ani-Mayhem products.
This set had three advantages: a hot license, very sharp images and a different team producing the product. Whereas Set 0 and Set 1 are going for relatively cheap prices, Dragon Ball Z often still brings premium prices - even now that it's no longer the "official" ongoing Dragon Ball Z CCG!
— Jack Everitt (Scrye Checklist and Price Guide 2nd Edition)
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