Trading card games are in the midst of a golden age. classics like Magic: The Gathering, Pokemon trading card gameY yu-gi-oh they haven’t gone anywhere, but they face strong competition. Newcomer flesh and blood has absolutely exploded since its debut in 2019, Universe brought a lot of new blood to his my hero academia block, and other popular franchises like Dragon Ball Y Digimon they have their own heavyweights in the TCG sector.
On the digital front, Hearthstone no longer alone, as Legends of Runeterra Y Magic: The Gathering Arena have successfully made their way into cyberspace. Furthermore, the future of card games is kaleidoscopic in its scope and variety, from long-standing franchise projects like one piece card gameto numerous indie darlings like TCG Sorcery, to the monolithic titan that is Disney lorcan just around the corner, so where does this massive influx of card game glory come from?
TCGs have flourished before
One thing to keep in mind is that this influx is not particularly new. Since then Magic started in 1993, there have been hundreds of trading card games. Most major franchises have had one (sometimes multiple) trading card game, including star trek, The Lord of the rings, Y the x files. Outside of the existing franchises, many others have manifested their own fantasy worlds, including Legend of the Five Rings, ANDROID: Network RunnerY duel masters.
The existence of multiple competing card games and the involvement of major franchises is not unique, but there is a strange phenomenon with this recent rise. Trading card games aren’t just emerging at an increasing rate; many more remain, with the main driving force coming from the new tools that these games and their communities can take advantage of.
It’s easier for new TCGs to find funding and an audience
The biggest breakthrough isn’t card game design; it is disclosure. Community connection expands with greater reach and precision thanks to the sophisticated tools of the Internet age. Almost every CCG has at least one social media page and Discord server, some official and some fan-made. These online resources are easier to find than ever and are crucial to establishing the gaming community, effectively its pulse.
Additionally, crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have also brought the target of potential CCGs dramatically closer. By putting a planned product on one of these sites, independent developers can find out if there is an audience for their product and develop a fan base while also getting financial backing. These new tools allow for greater success through direct communication between game developers and players, increasing the chances that the project will evolve in a way that satisfies both parties.
YouTube and Twitch have made it easy to interact with games
In the modern gaming landscape, a player’s passion doesn’t always match their availability. However, streaming has offered a new way to interact with a favorite game. digital games like Legends of Runeterra Streams can be found constantly online, and even physical ones can be found on YouTube in the form of recorded matches, metagame analysis, and booster box openings. Broadcasting tournaments also allows fans to enjoy matches without the need to travel, allowing more people to share the most exciting moments of the game together with the community. CCGs have evolved to take on a viewer-friendly format, reaching out to more potential players and promoting existing ones for their next match.
Publishers have taken notice and are striving to make influencers pillars of the community. flesh and blood is illustrative here. During each preview season, Legend Story Studios sends out tons of preview cards to content creators on Twitch and YouTube, giving each one a specific day to reveal their unique spoilers. They also send out streamer booster boxes before release to be opened live, revealing more cards in the process. The arrangement creates powerful media storms that draw serious crowds, even if it’s just a few big personalities.
Modern card games revolve around characters
Card games have learned an important lesson from MTG“Commander” format of: Players like to inhabit the space of the characters. Nameless armies and mages have been dropped in favor of individuals, an especially effective change when a player is particularly drawn to the character they’re playing. This focus on characters has been prevalent in franchise-based card games, but has become increasingly prevalent in original IPs as well. games like Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn Y Fabulous completely revolve around its different playable heroes, Hearthstone operates within specific classes, and while LoR it focuses on regions, powered by the champions who live there.
While these games have macro-communities for the game itself, this character approach allows for the fragmentation of internal micro-communities that focus on those characters. Players are increasingly known within their communities for the characters they “core”, and that kind of fragmentation creates competition within communities that is entirely organic and useful to the games themselves. New tools and philosophies have allowed modern CCG to grow in unforeseen ways, and this is just the beginning. While the market is unlikely to continue to grow at this exponential rate, the hobby has clearly become much more popular and that should be considered an exciting new normal.