The boys love collectible card games. I love collectible card games. The issue with card games is the cost to keep playing them. Games like Pokémon and Magic have basic cards that span multiple expansions that can be used in most game modes without issue. If you want to be ultra competitive you must continue to purchase new cards with every expansion that releases. Some expansions cater to specific card styles, play modes, or even aesthetics. It’s fun to buy the latest things when you can afford it, and this expansion model ensures that these games have a healthy revenue stream.
But if you take a away the collectible deck building and such, is the game still fun to play? The point of the game is to build a custom deck and battle your friends or someone else, right? Cracking packs and getting a foil rare is only part of the equation. For a game to last beyond disposable expansion sets and constant rule changes the basics have to be rock solid.
That’s way easier to say than to actually create. You can’t just clone MTG and wrap it in a different universe. Having a card game that doesn’t implement rarity or speculative value will be harder to sell after it’s be purchased a set number of times. Other types of card games offer expansion sets or themed versions like Munchkin which let the players buy the theme they want without the headache of having to collect cards and dump money on a deck that can even stand a chance against another player. I think we own three different versions of Munchkin even though the mechanics are the same across all the games. The theme is what makes it entertaining.
So here is the deal, the boys want to create a card game over the summer. They know enough functional programming between the two of them that I should be able to set them up with Unity and hammer out a basic video card game. I’ll help them with design assets and play testing the rules as they go so I figured I’d think through the concept of what makes a card game fun to play vs just fun to collect.
Do you have a favorite card based game? If so, what is it and what makes it fun for you?