Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Trading Card Games (TCGs)

My first encounter with a TCG was in 5th grade. Back then Pokemon had just come out and it was all kids were talking about in the school yard. Soon after that trading of Pokemon cards became a thing. During breaks the classrooms transformed into little stock markets and through efficient trading I managed to accumulate a decent collection without investing too much of my precious pocket money. At that point I liked collecting the cards, especially the holographic ones, rather than playing the game.

A couple years later, when the Pokemon hype had quieted down, another TCG accompanied by a well known anime caught my attention. Now it was all about YU-GI-OH!
But this time instead of just collecting shiny cards I played the game with a friend. Soon we discovered a fantasy store nearby and would go there every Tuesday to "duel" other people. The whole thing got spiced up by a little competition, since for every duel you won you got a stamp in your YU-GI-OH! season stamp book. Ofcourse there was a limit to the number of times that you could battle a certain opponent during a match day, but that made it even more interesting. We quickly realized to be under the top 4 players of that particular fantasy store and a friendly rivalry turned into a race for stamps to be the number one. It all peaked in the participation in a regional qualifier for the german championship. My friend and another guy of our four man rival group qualified and actually went to the german championship, though unfortunately they didn't make it very far and reported of the insane decks they encountered. Not long after that my interest and motivation to play YU-GI-OH! faded and it took a while until I picked up another TCG again.

I am well aware that so far I havn't mentioned the ancestor of all TCGs: Magic the Gathering. The reason is that I never got into it and I am reluctant to do so since it has been around for decades and seems to have a relatively high entry barrier.
This was not a problem with the current TCG I am playing, at least not at the time I got into it. As a digital TCG just starting up including characters from my favorite old real time strategy game I quickly fell for Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. Especially initially it was very addicting. The ability to play a TCG on my phone whenever I want against opponents around the world is very intriguing. Only the trading part I loved so much as a kid was cut out due to the potential abuse the digital world enables. Even after two years there are still more features and more content added regularly and I can't wait to see what comes next. Even though it lacks the charm of playing with physical cards going digital was definately a step in the right direction.

Whether I will stick to Hearthstone or maybe give Magic a try some day, I am a fan of TCGs and am excited where the journey will take me.

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