When I was in elementary school, a major Japanese franchise hit American shores: Pokémon. Before I knew it, Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue swept the schools, with the card game quickly following. The cards were exhilarating: purchasing booster packs with the chance of getting rare cards, boxed sets guaranteeing you to get some powerful cards, and even the allure of debating with your friends whether or not a trade is “fair”made for exhilarating playground debate.
With the fiercely popular Pokémon Trading Card Game, other franchises began to join in on the trend. Some emerged for the first time, like Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game and Digimon’s Digibattle Card Game, while more veteran franchises started to resurface, like Magic: The Gathering and even baseball cards. Today, there seems to once again be the same uptick in card games. So does this mean that card games are cool again?
Before we try answering that question, let’s check out some of the more recent reincarnation of card games:
Last month, Pokémon Trading Card Game was re-released on the eShop in Europe and Australia (assumedly because of its popularity). In addition, the Pokémon Company announced this week that their widely successful virtual trading card game for PC will be available on iOS. Both being announced within a month of each other might be a coincidence, but it certainly showcases its popularity among various platforms, aside from the physical cards.
In a pretty surprising turn, the Assassin’s Creed franchise is heading into the card game genre with Assassin’s Creed: Memories. This recently released iOS game employs not only card battle gaming, but also guild battles and customization with characters. Could this be a new approach that Ubisoft is going towards?
This recently released game revolves around turn-based matches between two opponents, each with their own deck of cards. The beauty of this game is that, unlike many other iOS games, you don’t have to shell out tons of money to advance in the game. Instead, Blizzard figured out a nice medium between the two.
Releasing on August 28th, Draconian Wars is a strategic card game [shocker]. Something that is rather surprising to many card-gamers is that each and every card is available in the game, eliminating additional purchases and the dreaded microtransactions. This game literally forces you to create your own strategy in attempting to beat the story mode as well as other players online.
Games like Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and Lost Ocean, Lost Kingdoms, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Digimon: Digital Card Battle, and the slew of Yu-Gi-Oh! video games, while not very recent, emphasize the point that card-based games can be very popular.
With all these games suddenly popped up, it could be hard to simply say flat out that card games aren’t emerging once again. However, the emergence is taking a different pace – being electronic games. Though I’m sure the physical card games like Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Magic: The Gathering, and others are very popular, these electronic versions can capture a wider audience.
Having all the cards at your fingertips, like Draconian Wars, eliminates all the hassle and frustration on trying to find the cards you need. A free game, like Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, offers players who don’t have tons of money to enjoy the game without burning a hole in their wallets. These electronic games also allow you play against opponents from around the world- never needing to worry whether or not your friends enjoy the game as much as you.
Regardless if you like these new electronic card games, or the physical ones, they offer an infinite amount of strategic and personal choices that can leave your head spinning. Figuring out the best tactics for you can be both exciting and head-bangingly frustrating. Even with the troubles and hiccups, they’re still terribly addicting and will capture your attention quickly and for a long time. If I start playing one, I’m quickly caught up in the thralls of it, thinking about it even when I’m not playing, and formulating my own strategy to numerous “what if” scenarios. I’d say it’s a hassle if it wasn’t so fun!
So let’s hear your thoughts: Do you think card games are cool again, or have they always been popular? Are electronic card games the future of this genre or are physical cards here to stay?