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What is a Collectible Card Game?

This special kind of the card game genre emerged in 1993 when Magic: The Gathering first appeared in the local games and hobby stores. This game was originally developed by Richard Garfield and was the first of it’s kind, spawning a whole generation of collectible card games, trading card games or customizable card games that are still popular until today.

As diverse as CCGs / TCGs are, they have several things in common that include the use of a starter deck or introductory deck that features a basic inventory of cards used to learn and play the game. Then, each player is able to expand his or her card collection and therefore the play deck as well, using new cards from booster packs. The cards packaged in those booster packs have varying rarity levels and the packs contain a random assortment of those cards, usually between 8 and 15 cards. Typical for this rarity system is the fact, that rarer cards have a much higher gameplay value than cards of lower rarity. With enough cards, players can create new decks and strategies from scratch.

The founding father Magic: The Gathering dominated the whole scene with it’s presence, but several other CCGs have come and gone. Among them popular IPs as well as smaller background worlds and scenarios with more or less varying rule sets: Yu-Gi-Oh!, Pokémon, Legend of the Five Rings, Star Wars and Lord of the Rings are very popular examples.

As the internet continues to change our lifestyles, it also has big influence on the way collectible card games are played. With the emergence of Hearthstone, digital collectible card games gained massive popularity. Those game do not make use of physical cards and instead use digital representations, with the newer ones foregoing card images altogether by using icons or avatars. Digital card games also allow for a much more complicated rules set and more subtle ways of distribution and monetization with expansions, custom card backs, layered rarity levels, campaigns and so on.


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