When we started this site, we thought it’d be all about video games. We thought that’s what would be holding our interest over the next few years and while that remains true, our horizons have broadened a little bit. Since moving to London at the beginning of 2013 we went looking for a gaming scene – places where gamers meet up to play tournaments or watch eSports. We found some great venues such as Loading and Meltdown – but we never really found that kind of community. In our search we did come across a group of gamers who met up regularly and played, but they weren’t playing video games, they were playing card games.
We picked up a few starter sets for games like Magic The Gathering, Pokemon and World of Warcraft and have been collecting bits and pieces and playing as much as we can ever since. This year we’ll be expanding the website’s remit to include our reviews, news and impressions of these games as well as a plethora of board games within our new category – ‘Card Games’.
As a brief introduction here’s an overview of what we’ve been playing in the last few months.
Magic is almost certainly the most widely-known and influential of all of the collectable card games (CCGs) out there. Sure others might be more popular with certain audiences (Yugioh and Vanguard are currently played very widely) but Magic is the classic, the archetype of this genre. You build a deck of 60+ cards out of your collection, focusing on one or two types of card from a pool of green (Forest) blue (Island) red (Mountain) black (Swamp) and white (Plains) cards. Each type have certain strengths and weakness from green’s giant monsters that grow as the game progresses to black’s ability to leech life away or kill creatures with very little cost. Once you have your deck you fight against another player, each of you starting with twenty health and trying to reduce the opponent to zero. Once you do, you win. It sounds simple but nearly every card changes things up in some way. You need land cards to create mana so you can use your creature and spell cards, some of the creatures can break the rules a little or use special abilities, some spells can break the rules quite significantly and mess up a plan entirely. You never know what your opponent has in their hand, and you never know what you’re going to get next so a fool-proof plan is impossible to achieve. The game has been re-balanced countless times and is currently on the 14th generation of cards, so it may seem a little intimidating at first. We managed to learn just by watching a few Youtube videos and chatting to people in specialist shops (Forbidden planet, Orc’s Nest and Dark Sphere are your best bets in London). Once you pick up the rules the game is fairly quick, doesn’t require all that much space and is a huge amount of fun, even collecting the cards has a lot of appeal as each one is numbered and features some beautiful artwork.
We’ll be making some videos and reviewing some of the new sets when they come out in February so stay tuned for our impressions and pulls!
Pokemon: The Trading Card Game started alongside the original Gameboy games way back in the day, but has always been much more than a simple spin-off. With rules as complicated as any other and thousands of different cards there’s a lot of depth to the game. You can choose pokemon, evolve them, use energy to let them use their powers and even make use of special trainer abilities and items to help in your fight. Once your opponent has lost six pokemon, you win. The game is addictive and anyone with a passing knowledge of the pokemon series will get a lot of kicks out of seeing cards with their favourite monsters on them. New sets are being released every few months so collectors have a lot of work to do to keep on top of things, but it also means there’s a huge amount of variety in art styles and gameplay mechanics. One of the neat things about the Pokemon CCG is the fact thatm ost booster packs come with a code that can be used to open a booster pack in the online version of the game. It’s completely free and lets you play against people all over the world using decks you’ve created out of things you’ve unlocked. Pokemon TCG is huge and very shortly we’ll have some videos up so you can see what all the fuss is about.
We’ve been taken back in by World of Warcraft recently thanks to the announcement of the Warlords of Draenor expansion, so we picked up a few boxes of the CCG to see what all the fuss was about. Sadly discontinued now (all you can buy is leftover stock, no new cards are being printed), the WoW CCG was very similar to Magic but had all of the lore and artwork from the game series. It even featured ‘loot’ cards that worked as a playable card but also contained a code to unlock something in-game. One of the exciting ideas about this game was the concept of ‘raid decks’ where players could play co-operatively against a difficult deck with an oversized card for a raid boss, and if they were victorious they could get some loot to bolster their deck. When you’re learning a game playing together can be more fun that always fighting and WoW TCG brought together the class mechanics and gameplay of the PC title into a CCG surprisingly well. It’s a real it’s so hard to get hold of cards for it now but some of the best ideas will no doubt be carried over to Hearthstone. Still if Blizzard are reading this and are considering bringing it back in CCG form, please do!