List of long running trading card games
Trading card games (TCGs), that have been (or were) in production for at least a decade.
||Magic: The Gathering
||Magic: The Gathering (MtG) was the first trading card game, and was released in 1993. Each player has their own deck of cards. The players take turns. During a player's turn, that player draws a card, can place one land card, cast spells (especially summoning creatures), and attack an opponent with their creatures.
Land cards are used to generate mana which is used to pay the cost of spells. This is done by turning the land card sideways (a move known as 'tapping'). During the first phase of a player's turn, they untap their tapped cards.
Summoned creatures are the most important spell type, and are used for attacking opponents and blocking attacking creatures. Each creature has a statistic for power (how much damage it deals during combat) and toughness (how much damage it must receive in a single turn for it to die). A creature may also have other gameplay text which affects how it operates. When attacking, the attacking player declares which opponent they are attacking, and which creatures they are using for the attack (the attacking creatures are then tapped). The opponent may choose to block attacking creatures, with their own creatures. A blocked creature deals damage to the blocking creature, and the blocking creature deals damage to the attacking creature. At the end of combat, the defending player loses life points equal to the damage dealt by the unblocked attacking creatures. A player loses the game if they lose all of their life points (each player starts the game with 20 life points).
Other spell types include:
- Sorcerys, instants, and interrupts (which are played from the hand for a one-off action, and then placed in the graveyard).
- Enchantments (which are placed either on the table or on a card that is on the table).
- Artifacts (which are placed on the table).
||Legend of the Five Rings
||Legend of the Five Rings (l5r) was introduced in 1995. It has a Japanese samurai mixed with magical fantasy theme. Each player has two decks; a dynasty deck and a fate deck.
The two main card types found in a dynasty deck are holdings and personalities. Holdings are similar to Magic the Gathering's land, but may have a cost. Holdings are bowed (l5r's equivalent of tapping), to produce gold which is used as a currency. Personalities are used for fighting in battles and duels. Instead of drawing the cards into your hand, one dynasty card is placed in each province. The holding/personality can be placed by paying its gold cost (after which a new dynasty card is placed into the province).
The fate deck, is the deck that a player will draw cards into their hand from. The fate deck includes card types such as items, spells, and followers (which are added to personalities to alter their stats and abilities); and strategies (which are discarded from the hand for a temporary effect).
There are four different ways of winning the game:
1. Military victory - Your opponent is left with no provinces.
2. Honour victory - You begin your turn with 40 or more honour points.
3. Dishonour victory - Your opponent's honour is reduced to -20.
4. Enlightenment victory - You acquire all five ring cards.
There are various clans (such as the Dragon Clan, Mantis Clan, and Crab Clan) that the personalities can belong to. Each clan has characteristics which can favour some strategies and/or victory types over others.
L5R was acquired by Fantasy Flight Games in 2015, and has since become an LCG (living card game, with fixed sets sold rather randomised booster packs).
||Vampire: The Eternal Struggle
||Vampire: The Eternal Struggle (formerly known as Jyhad in the first edition), is a trading card game designed by Richard Garfield, the creator of Magic the Gathering. The first edition was released in 1994, and in 1995 it was renamed from Jyhad, to Vampire: The Eternal Struggle. There was a four year gap from 1996 to 2000, from the time Wizards of the Coast ceased production until White Wolf continued it. From 2000 to 2010, there were editions published each year.
Each player plays with two decks: a crypt deck and a library deck. The crypt contains cards representing vampires and their mortal allies. The library contains cards that in general represent assets or actions.
Each player begins the game with 30 'pool' points. Pool points are used as both a currency (for placing/playing cards) and as a lifeforce (a player loses if they reach zero pool).
In a multiplayer game (as opposed to a two player game), a player may only attack the opponent on their left (clockwise to them).
||Pokemon Trading Card Game
||The Pokemon TCG (also known as Pokemon Card Game) was first released in Japan in 1996, and in USA in 1998. The players take the role of a pokemon trainer, and use their pokemon to battle each other.
The players begin by drawing a hand of cards and then placing basic pokemon (if they don't have any basic pokemon in their hand they shuffle and redraw). The players then take the top six cards of their deck and place them aside as their prize cards. A player wins a prize card each time they get one of their pokemon to knock out an opponent's pokemon. A player wins if they get all six prize cards. A player can also win (but is less likely to) if their opponent doesn't have any pokemon in the field at the end of a turn, or if the opponent has no cards in their deck at the beginning of their turn.
A player may have up to six pokemon in the field (one in the active spot, and five on the bench). During a player's turn, they can place energy cards on their pokemon (a pokemon's attacks may have an amount and/or type of energy as a prerequisite), and other cards such as trainer cards and more pokemon.
||Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game
||Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG was released in 1999 in Japan, and in 2002 in the US. In the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG, each player must have a main deck, but may also have an optional 'extra deck' of up to 15 cards (there are rules regarding what can and can't be put in the extra deck).
Each player starts with 8000 life points. A player loses the game if their life points reach zero. A player can also lose if they are required to draw but don't have any cards left in their main deck to do so. Some cards allow for alternative victory conditions.
Cards are placed on the table in zones, such as the monster card zone (where up to five monsters can be placed), and the spell and trap card zone (where up to five spell and trap cards can be placed).
Monster cards (which are used for attacking your opponent), have various abilities and stats including attack and defence points (which are used when attacking and defending respectively), the level/rank (level 5+ monsters require a tribute of monsters to be discarded, in order to be summoned), an attribute (light, dark, earth, wind, fire, water or divine), and a type (e.g. dinosaur, fairy, winged beast etc).
Spell cards can be played either from the hand, or placed on the field for later use. Trap cards are activated in response to certain situations.
||Redemption was introduced in 1995, and is a Biblical themed trading card game.
The objective of the game is to rescue five lost souls. Each player can place good characters and evil characters, which have power/toughness stats similar to Magic the Gathering. Good characters are used by a player for rescuing lost souls. Evil characters are used for blocking the opponent's rescue attempts. When an evil character is sent to block a good character's rescue attempt, a battle between the two characters ensues. The players take turns placing enhancement cards on their characters (which boost the character's stats/abilities). Eventually the combat is resolved (in much the same way as MtG). If the evil character is defeated, the lost soul is rescued.
Other card types include dominant cards (which are like instants in MtG), site cards (which typically hold lost souls), fortress cards (which sit in a player's territory and store/protect cards), artifact cards, and covenant and curse cards (which are like a combo of artifacts, and good enhancements or evil enhancements respectively).
||Star Trek Customizable Card Game
||Star Trek Customizable Card Game (STCCG) was introduced in 1994 as Star Trek: The Next Generation Customizable Card Game. The game eventually introduced cards for other Star Trek shows. The final expansion for the game was released in 2007.
The objective of the game is to get 100 points, primarily by completing missions/objectives. During a mission, the crew attempting the mission would encounter dilemmas (a type of card, that is 'seeded' (placed face down) by the opposing player) which require certain skills or attributes to overcome. A player can affect their opponent by starting battles (between personnel or ships), and using events and interrupts.
A player plays as an affiliation i.e. one of the powers in the Star Trek universe. Initially the only affiliations were the Federation, Klingon Empire, and Romulan Star Empire, but others (such as the Borg, Dominion, and Cardassian Union) were introduced in later series.
||HKK (Hatalom Kártyái Kártyajáték) is a Hungarian trading card game that began in 1995. It is only available in Hungarian and Czech.
Its gameplay is very similar to Magic the Gathering (MtG), in that the players each start with 20 life points, and can summon creatures, cast spells etc. One of the major differences between HKK and MtG, is that HKK doesn't have land. Instead, a player will receive 5 magic points each turn (with the exception of the first turn of the starting player, who will receive only 3 magic points). Unlike mana in MtG, the magic points can be saved up for later turns.
Unlike MtG, there is a distinction between creatures that are monsters and creatures that are sentient humanoids. The cards have various icons not seen in MtG e.g. the hand icon on a creature, means that the creature can use objects.
An HKK tournament in Hungary:
||Shadowfist was launched in 1995, and in 2013 shifted from a TCG format to a DCG (Dynamic Card Game) format where the card pack distributions became fixed rather than randomised. The theme of Shadowfist is a mix of Hong Kong martial arts action movies (especially from the 1980s/1990s), fantasy, and time travel.
The objective of the game is to collect five Feng Shui sites (or six in a two-player game). These can be played from the hand or taken from opponents, but the final Feng Shui site acquired must be from an opponent. To play a card, that card's power and resource requirements must be met. Power is usually generated from sites, and resources are usually generated from characters.
There are various factions that a player can choose from, including (but not limited to): Architects of the Flesh (scientists from the future who merged magic with technology), The Dragons (a rag-tag collection of mavericks and heroes from across time), The Jammers (a loose organization of rebels, malcontents, anarchists, and cyborg monkeys), and The Syndicate (a secretive organisation which rules the world in 2072 through control of major criminal organisations and corporations).
||Myths and Legends
||Myths and Legends (Mitos y Leyendas, or MyL) is a trading card game from Chile. It was developed in 2000, and went into 'indefinite recess' in 2010. It had a short-lived partial revival in 2011 (under the name Fenix), and was officially revived in 2014.
The objective of the game is to be the last player with cards remaining in their deck.
The card types include:
- Allies, which are warriors used for defending your castle deck, or attacking your opponent's castle deck.
- Totems, which are placed in the support line and usually provide an effect as long as they remain in play.
- Talismans, which have a one-off effect upon being played, and are then sent to the ruin pile (the equivalent of the graveyard in MtG, or discard pile in some other TCGs).
- Weapons, which are attached to allies to enhance them. Two exceptions to this are machinery and ships, which are instead placed in the support line.
- Gold cards, which are used for paying the cost of other cards. Each player begins the game with one gold card in their reserve area. During a player's turn, that player may place one gold card into their reserve area. To spend a gold card, that gold card is shifted from the reserve area to the used gold area.
A Myths and Legends tournament:
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