Ah the wonderful world of Collectible Card Games.

I’ve played many over the years, and here are my personal top 5.

Please note that I sadly haven’t played every CCG out there, but those I’ve heard good things about have an honorable mention at the end.

5. Warlord: Saga of the Storm
Truly the Dungeons and Dragons of the CCG world, Warlords is based entirely around a 20 sided die. Thus rather then a strict Stat VS Stat, players have to deal with the randomness of a die roll. This made the game interesting and set it appart from the majority of other CCGs I’ve played.

The game was released in 2001 and lasted until 2008, though local popularity only lasted until about 2003 when the abilities Ethereal and Astral. A defensive ability that automatically caused all odd or all even numbers on the die to miss during an attack. When released there sadly weren’t enough answers for it so competitive play became stale. Eventually they remedied it, but by that time local popularity around my friends and I dwindled to non-existent.

The game itself was very DnD like due to not only the 20 sided die, but each character also had a class (Cleric, Wizard, Fighter, Theif).

A note of interest is the game had my favorite card in any CCG ever. Not because it was powerful, but as a person who has played his fair bit of DnD, the flavor test was out of this world. Judge for yourself.

4. Babylon 5

Before I start it should be mentioned, This game was fairly awful 1 on 1. It shined in Multiplayer however.

The game involved choosing an ambassador and leading your race to victory. Or aligning yourself to the Shadows or Vorlons to win with their aide. One very fun aspect to the game was that all named characters are unique, not just to a player but to the table. So if someone is playing Geribaldi while you have him in your hand, you’ll have to lure him into a position to kill him.

Unlike most CCGs one will encounter, Babylon 5 did not require a player to act offensively against another to win. But rather each player played ‘conflicts’ in which each character would vote based on their stats. Each conflict would have effect based on succeeding of failure. This means a lot of over the table gameplay between players and a lot of  opportunity for ‘dirty tricks’.

Multiplayer games of 4+ players could take upwards of 4 hours to play, but securing a victory would make it all worth it. 1 vs 1 play was not really viable, but then the game was designed for multiplayer.

All in all the game mechanic was unique, and fun even with its shortcomings. It was canceled in 2001 and the last set was printed but destroyed due to Precedence Entertainment losing the rights and going out of business.

3. A Game of Thrones

Based of George R.R. Martin’s book series A Song of Fire and Ice. aGoT is a CCG that leaves little to be desired. Much more tactical then most combat based CCGs, players would have to use intrigue and prudent planning to secure a victory. The game was relatively balanced for 2 player and multiplayer, though certain tactics were better for each.

Currently the game is no longer released as a standard CCG, but has become a ‘Living Card game’ where rather then sets with booster packs of random cards, players purchase card packs and box sets of pre-determined cards. Thus removing the random factor of buying cards, and the “I spent more money so I have better rares then you” mentality.

2. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Judge me however you will, but Buffy the CCG remains one of my favorite CCGs ever. The actual game mechanics were top notch, and the TV show setting allowed a lot of humor and all around fun.

It played much like a board game, only players designed the board based on the objectives they needed to beat according to their deck design. I.E. each player has a deck of 8 locations in Sunny Dale and plays 4 on them for a total of 9 (Sunny Dale Park being the center of the board each time). Also each player has to choose Good or Evil, choosing a champion as the basis.

Sadly Buffy CCG was very short lived. Released in 2001, the game was canceled at it’s most popular in 2004 when the TV series ended and Score not renewing their rights to sell the game. Despite this the game still has a following with virtual sets being created by fans of the game.

1. Magic the Gathering

So at the top of the list is Magic. It is the CCG I’ve played the most, and most card gamers will have played it at some point in their gaming lives.

Started in 1993, MtG is recognized as being the first CCG to become mainstream. With now Many different formats of play it appeals to a variety of different players. Like many veteran players I started playing relatively early on, stopped for awhile, then started again. Like many of my friends over the years we’ve often taken a break to concentrate on different CCGs for a change of pace.

Others

In the list of CCGs i never had the chance to actively play there are;

StarTrek – Sadly most of my gaming friends stopped playing around the time I met them, but oh the stories they tell.

StarWars – If you ever walked into a gaming store and tehre were players playing Decipher’s version of StarWars CCG you would know it. 2 players standing at opposite ends of a table with 200 or so cards face up seemingly randomly strewn about.

Net Runner – Rumored to have one of the best mechanics for a CCG it was impossible to find once I heard about it.

7th Sea – I used to watch several people play the CCG some evenings, much like the RPG it was pirate action at it’s best.

Legend of the 5 Rings – Probably the next CCG I’m going to start playing. Lots of strategy and deck building skill required. Popular since 1995 it’s to my knowledge the second longest running CCG next to Magic.

So that’s my first Post on Towards Mecca. A little light, hopefully I’ll have something a little more interesting for everyone nect time around.

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