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A collectible card game CCG , also called a trading card game TCG or many other names, [note 1] is a kind of strategy card game that was created in and consists of specially designed sets of playing cards. These cards use proprietary artwork or images to embellish the card. CCGs may depict anything from fantasy or science fiction genres, horror themes, cartoons , or even sports.
Game text is also on the card and is used to interact with the other cards in a strategic fashion. Games are commonly played between two players , though multiplayer formats are also common. Players may also use dice , counters , card sleeves , or play mats to complement their gameplay. CCGs can be played with or collected, and often both. Generally, a CCG is initially played using a starter deck. This deck may be modified by adding cards from booster packs , which contain around 8 to 15 random cards.
When enough players have been established, tournaments are formed to compete for prizes. Successful CCGs typically have thousands of unique cards.
The Gathering , the first developed and most successful, has over 17, cards. The Eternal Struggle , and World of Warcraft. Many other CCGs were produced but had little or no commercial success. Recently, digital collectible card games DCCGs have gained popularity, spurred by the success of Hearthstone. A collectible card game CCG is generally defined as a game where players acquire cards into a personal collection from which they create customized decks of cards and challenge other players in matches.
Refined decks will try to account for randomness as well as opponent's actions, by using the most complementary and efficient cards possible. The exact definition of what makes a CCG is varied, as many games are marketed under the "collectible card game" moniker. The basic definition requires the game to resemble trading cards in shape and function, be mass-produced for trading or collectibility, and have rules for strategic gameplay.
If every card in the game can be obtained by making a small number of purchases, or if the manufacturer does not market it as a CCG, then it is not a CCG. CCGs can further be designated as living or dead games. Dead games are those CCGs which are no longer supported by their manufacturers and have ceased releasing expansions.
Living games are those CCGs which continue to be published by their manufacturers. Usually this means that new expansions are being created for the game and official game tournaments are occurring in some fashion. Each CCG system has a fundamental set of rules that describes the players' objectives, the categories of cards used in the game, and the basic rules by which the cards interact.
Each card will have additional text explaining that specific card's effect on the game. They also generally represent some specific element derived from the game's genre, setting, or source material.
The cards are illustrated and named for these source elements, and the card's game function may relate to the subject. The Gathering is based on the fantasy genre, so many of the cards represent creatures and magical spells from that setting. In the game, a dragon is illustrated as a reptilian beast and typically has the 'flying' ability and higher combat stats than smaller creatures. The bulk of CCGs are designed around a resource system by which the pace of each game is controlled.
Frequently, the cards which constitute a player's deck are considered a resource, with the frequency of cards moving from the deck to the play area or player's hand being tightly controlled.
Relative card strength is often balanced by the number or type of resources needed in order to play the card, and pacing after that may be determined by the flow of cards moving in and out of play. Resources may be specific cards themselves, or represented by other means e. Unlike traditional card games such as poker or crazy eights in which a deck's content is limited and pre-determined, players select which cards will compose their deck from any available cards printed for the game.
This allows a CCG player to strategically customize their deck to take advantage of favorable card interactions, combinations and statistics. While a player's deck can theoretically be of any size, a deck of fortyfive or sixty cards is considered the optimal size, for reasons of playability, and has been adopted by most CCGs as an arbitrary 'standard' deck size. Deck construction may also be controlled by the game's rules.
Some games, such as Magic: Typically, the goal of a match is to play cards that reduce the opponent's life total to zero before the opponent can do the same. Some CCGs provide for a match to end if a player has no more cards in their deck to draw. During a game, players usually take turns playing cards and performing game-related actions.
The order and titles of these steps vary between different CCGs, but the following are typical: Broadly, cards played can either represent a resource, a character or minion, spells or abilities that directly impact players or creatures, or objects that have other effects on the game state. Many CCGs have rules where opposing players can react to the current player's turn; an example is casting a counter-spell to an opponent's spell to cancel it such as in Magic: Other CCGs do not have such direct reaction systems, but allow players to cast face-down cards or "traps" that automatically trigger based on actions of the opposing player.
Specific game cards are most often produced in various degrees of scarcity, generally denoted as fixed F , common C , uncommon U , and rare R. Some games use alternate or additional designations for the relative rarity levels, such as super- , ultra- , mythic- or exclusive rares. Special cards may also only be available through promotions, events, purchase of related material, or redemption programs. The idea of rarity borrows somewhat from other types of collectible cards, such as baseball cards , but in CCGs, the level of rarity also denotes the significance of a card's effect in the game, i.
Such a card might even be removed entirely from the next edition, to further limit its availability and its effect on gameplay. Most collectible card games are distributed as sealed packs containing a subset of the available cards, much like trading cards. The most common distribution methods are:. Regular card games have been around since at least the s, but in a "new kind of card game" appeared. Players would first buy starter decks and then later be encouraged to buy booster packs to expand their selection of cards.
What emerged was a card game that players collected and treasured but also played with. The Base Ball Card Game , a prototype from , is a notable precursor to CCGs because it had a few similar qualities but it never saw production to qualify it as a collectible card game.
Interaction between the two players was limited to who scored the most points and was otherwise a solitaire -like function since players could not play simultaneously but in tandem. The game was not sold in random packs but instead the entirety of the game could be obtained with one purchase. It utilized the same baseball diamond rules that Topps adopted in The Gathering , Garfield borrowed elements from the board game Cosmic Encounter which also used cards for game play.
This was after Lisa Stevens joined the company in as vice president after having left White Wolf. Through their mutual friend Mike Davis, Adkison met Richard Garfield who at the time was a doctoral student.
Garfield and Davis had an idea for a game called RoboRally and pitched the idea to Wizards of the Coast in , but Wizards did not have the resources to manufacture it and instead challenged Garfield to make a game that would pay for the creation of RoboRally.
This game would require minimal resources to make and only about 15—20 minutes to play. In December , Garfield had a prototype for a game called Mana Clash , and by he established Garfield Games to attract publishers and to get a larger share of the company should it become successful.
Originally, Mana Clash was designed with Wizards in mind, but the suit between Palladium Books and Wizards was still not settled. Investment money was eventually secured from Wizards and the name Mana Clash was changed to Magic: The ads for it first appeared in Cryptych , a magazine that focused on RPGs.
In the following month of August, the game was released and sold out its initial print run of 2. Wizards quickly released new iterations of the core set, called Beta 7. December also saw the release of the first expansion called Arabian Nights. The Gathering still the only CCG on the market, it released another expansion called Antiquities which experienced collation problems.
Another core set iteration named Revised was released shortly after that. Demand was still not satiated as the game grew by leaps and bounds. Legends was released in mid and no end was in sight for the excitement over the new CCG. What followed was the CCG craze. Magic was so popular that game stores could not keep it on their shelves. More and more orders came for the product, and as other game makers looked on they realized that they had to capitalize on this new fad. The first to do so was TSR who rushed their own game Spellfire into production and was released in June Through this period of time, Magic was hard to obtain because production never met the demand.
Store owners placed large inflated orders in an attempt to circumvent allocations placed by distributors. This practice would eventually catch up to them when printing capacity met demand coinciding with the expansion of Fallen Empires released in November Steve Jackson Games , which was heavily involved in the alternative game market, looked to tap into the new CCG market and figured the best way was to adapt their existing Illuminati game.
The result was Illuminati: New World Order which followed with two expansions in and Another entry by Wizards of the Coast was Jyhad. The game sold well, but not nearly as well as Magic , however it was considered a great competitive move by Wizard as Jyhad was based on one of the most popular intellectual properties in the alternative game market which kept White Wolf from aggressively competing with Magic. By this time however, it may have been a moot point as the CCG Market had hit its first obstacle: The overprinted expansion of Magic's Fallen Empires threatened to upset the relationship that Wizards had with its distributors as many complained of getting too much product, despite their original over-ordering practices.
One out of every three games announced at the show was a CCG. The CCG bubble appeared to be on everyone's mind. Too many CCGs were being released and not enough players existed to meet the demand. Jyhad saw a makeover and was renamed as Vampire: The Eternal Struggle to distance itself from the Islamic term jihad as well as to get closer to the source material. But by the end of the year, the situation was resolved and Decipher regained the license to the Star Trek franchise along with Deep Space Nine , Voyager and the movie First Contact.
Enthusiasm from manufacturers was very high, but by the summer of at Gen Con , retailers had noticed CCG sales were lagging. The Magic expansion Chronicles released in November and was essentially a compilation of older sets. It was maligned by collectors and they claimed it devalued their collections.