I just found myself buying a card-based strategy game on Steam, Guardians of Graxia. I haven’t played yet. Yes, it was cheap and all, but even though I knew next to nothing about the game and the art was a bit on the blocky and generic side for my tastes, as soon as I saw it used a trading card metaphor in its play, I had to have it.
There was a time that I was mad about trading card games. I played Magic: The Gathering from high school into college. Star Wars TCG, Overpower, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and several more, I played them, collected them and had a ton of fun. I even helped do some demo plays of the Overpower game at a couple conventions and competed in some tournaments. Since those days though, I really haven’t run in the circles of people who actually gather in person to play card games with any regularity. Perhaps that’s why then I take some time to play games that use a deck and card mechanic whenever I can.
I interviewed someone for a design position recently who shared my interest in Zynga’s (formerly Challenge Games’) Warstorm on Facebook. It takes a really interesting approach at playing a collectible card game asynchronously. He also mentioned how much he likes to play Magic. When I hopped down to my comic book store to buy my weekly haul, I grabbed a pack of the latest set of Magic and tore into the pack (after I paid for it). It was just as exciting as before, the thrill of not knowing what you’ll get, but knowing that at least one of the cards will be a rare. Reading new rules and thinking of the ways in which they will play with existing cards, starting to plan a deck is like delicious candy for me. When done right in a digital game, cards can add a fun level of planning and work as an easily understood metaphor for the luck of the draw. Still, nothing beats playing a few games in person and I’d love to have a few hours to put together a killer deck and square off with a fellow player!