What is a Living Card Game?

In the early days of collectible card games players had to buy a completely random set of cards and then try and cobble a playable deck from the cards available. Then starter decks where introduced that allowed players to play straight out of the box and then supplement their deck by buying packs of randomised booster packs. It’s the format that has worked for the world’s leading collectible card games such as Magic: The Gathering, Pok√©mon and Yu-gi-oh. The system is stolen wholesale from the trading card and or sticker album system and even has levels of rarity with some of the most powerful cards also being the rarest. This randomness means getting hold of the card you want requires complete luck and could involve buying hundreds of booster packs.

One popular alternative has been the deck building game. Exemplified by Dominion, these games have players making their deck as a central game mechanic as players buy cards using an in-game currency. These games often include large expansions that increase the number of cards available. They do however lack the off-line customisation that a collectable card game offers.

The other solution is fantasy Flight Games’ Living Card Game format. The term has been used by many gamers but it should be pointed out that the term Living Card Game is a trademark of Fantasy Flight Games. To start playing a Living Card Game games you will need a core set. This is a large boxed set including a number of pre-constructed decks. Players can regard this as a standalone product with no need to expand the game but if players wish to construct their own decks then rather than random booster packs extra cards can be obtained via chapter packs. These chapter packs are a small box containing a known set of cards. The contents of each chapter pack are published and contain a number of copies of each card. This means that the player is always aware of which cards they are buying.
The Lord of the Rings card game is one of the new breed of Living Card Games. A Call of Cthulhu and A Game of Thrones were both based on older CCGs.

The main advantage of Living Card Game over the traditional approach is the removal of the random purchases and rarity levels. You could also argue with so many gaming shops and websites, such as Magic Madhouse, allowing you to buy exactly which cards you want that the Living Card Game format is a redundant system but with some rarer Magic cards going for over £50 Fantasy Flight Game’s helps level the playing field.

Depending on when you're reading this, this card is worth between £200 and £400!

Overall, the Living Card Game format is a fairer system, finding the card you want is easier but not necessarily cheaper. Magic and World of Warcraft aren’t going to move to a similar system when the current booster format works so well for them. In the end though your use of the system is going to be dictated by the games you play. Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
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