Let's Talk About Cards
Let's talk about cards. Card gaming, in its current incarnation, is fairly new, having only been born in 1993 and exploding since. There are more card games than there are RPG's ï¿½ and that's some trick. Since designing a card game is much cheaper than a board game or an RPG (way less production costs) and many of them are spin-offs of an existing license anyway, it's faster and cheaper to get them to market; which means lots of companies have dived in with both feet.
Let's talk about cards. Card gaming, in its current incarnation, is fairly new, having only been born in 1993 (thanks "Magic: the Addiction!") and exploding since. Magic: The Gathering, Star Trek, Star Wars, Illuminati, On the Edge, Mythos, Middle Earth, Shadowfist, NetRunner, BattleTech ï¿½ and those are just a few of the High Fantasy & SF based Card games. There's also all the superhero (Xena, X-Men) and odd little critter (Pokemon, Dragon Ball Z) games, the sports games (MLB Showdown Baseball) as well as the "not necessarily for the kiddies" category (XXXenophile). There are more card games than there are RPG's ï¿½ and thatï¿½s some trick.
Since designing a card game is much cheaper than a board game or an RPG (way less production costs) and many of them are spin-offs of an existing license anyway (Magic being the real exception to this), itï¿½s faster and cheaper to get them to market; which means lots of companies have dived in with both feet. There's crossover market too ï¿½ if you play SimCity the computer game, maybe you'll be convinced to play SimCity the card game. If you're into historical recreation, there's Civil War (the card game) on the shelf to entice you.
But what if you're a kid? There's Pokemon and DragonBall Z ï¿½ but both of these stem from cartoons some parents might find uncomfortably violent (ok, so this parent goes on dungeon crawls with her daughter in her lap, whacking on Red Dragons ï¿½ but not all parents call this fun). There's also the fact that while both of those games play across ages, it's marketed for the very young. The newest game on the market, aimed at the 8-14 year old crowd, is Harry Potter. Not out quite a year yet, it already has a base set and 3 expansions. The game is simple enough for 5 year olds to begin to comprehend, fun for 9 to 11 year olds to be challenged by building decks, and strategically rich enough for several of my adult friends to really enjoy playing. Better yet, I've seen this game played by mixed age groups together at the same time ï¿½ with all of them having a good time. Magic: The Gathering is a bit much for the casual gamer (or at least the mystique is ï¿½ the basic game is a hoot, regardless of how much of a gamer you are) and too complex in timing rules for smaller kids. Harry Potter solved much of this by never introducing the concept of "instants" (or interrupts, for that matter). If it's not your turn, you're not playing cards; it's as simple as that. Figuring out how to build a cool deck with your Quidditch cards, or how Professor McGonagall is going to help you beat your opponent's Fred & George Weasly Deck ï¿½ now that's an afternoon of great fun. Teaching a friend isn't hard (my daughter has taught a few of my friends), and a game takes about 15 minutes ï¿½ although building the decks takes rather longerï¿½ Harry Potter is about exploring the possibilities (especially in the books and movie), and the card game is much the same. The number of ways to build a deck is unlimited ï¿½ and the chance to be your own wizard in a duel is a magical attraction some kids are naturally drawn to.
There's another aspect: what if you're a teacher and you want to use something out of the ordinary to get your kids involved in what youï¿½re teaching? I've seen Magic: The Gathering used in English, math, and language classes, I've heard of Civil War being used in history classes, and I have had teachers tell me they've used some of these games in both a probabilities and a database construction class. How could you use some of these games to open more of the world to your kid? How about taking a card game they know and getting your hands on a foreign language edition? Is your 8 year old comfortable with Harry Potter? Try it in Japanese and your child is being exposed to a different language while playing one of her favorite games. Is your child fascinated by the Lord of the Rings? There's an entry to the Middle Ages, and a fun one at that. There are loads of options and multiple ways these card games can be not only fun, but a sneaky way to encourage learning as well!
I'll not stop RPGing... I've been doing it for far too many years. Strategy games are on the top of my list as well, but card games have a place, and it's one I'm enjoying immensely.
Who am I? I'm new here, but have been gaming for more than a quarter of a century ï¿½ and yes, I'm a gal too. Think there aren't many girl gamers now? You should have seen what 1975 looked like! Most of my game groups are equally balanced in gender (or mostly so), but that's a pretty unusual situation. A few of us played young, met in college, became buddies and ended up living near each other ï¿½ so the gamers are us and our husbands and a few new buddies. Our net gaming sessions? Now, that's a horse of a different colorï¿½but more on that next time.