Collectible Card Game

"Card games are Serious Business!"

A collectible card game, or CCG, is a card game where, instead of using a standard set of cards, each player brings his or her own deck to the game. The "collectible" aspect comes from the fact that the cards are sold in randomized packs, and players must buy these packs in order to create their decks. Most CCGs come in starter sets (one or two decks which are playable, but not very powerful, and may ignore some of the more complex rules) and booster packs (random cards which cannot be used alone, but can supplement existing decks).

The are also called Trading Card Games, or Customizable Card Games.

The first CCG was Richard Garfield's and Wizard of the Coast's Magic: The Gathering, which achieved major success and is still a major player in the genre. Currently, Yu-Gi-Oh! is the most sold card game in the world, with 22.9 billion cards, however, Wizards of the Coast does not release sales numbers for Magic the Gathering and it possibly is the number one sold CCG in the world.

Some games use CCGs as one part of the experience which are not part of the original: MapleStory has items can be transferred from cards to the MMORPG, Perplex City cards had clues to finding the MacGuffin, Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom has cards used for combat against villains on animated screens, World of Warcraft featured "Loot" cards with codes to unlock mounts, noncombat pets, and other cosmetic bonuses in the video game.

Another more recent category is games which use personal decks just like CCGs, but do away with the "collectible" part. Some like Summoner Wars or Fantasy Flight Games' "Living Card Games" work the same way but eliminate the randomness of booster pack, letting you buy a whole Expansion Pack instead. Other games like Dominion, where building your deck is the game use the underlying concepts in a more innovative way.

A number of other media (especially the geeky sort) have licensed CCGs which are otherwise unrelated.

See also Collectible Card Game Tropes. For the Video Game equivalent of this, see Card Battle Game.


Collectible card games include:

    open/close all folders 

    Original 

    Based on Anime & Manga 

    Based on Comic Books 
  • The VS System, a TCG built around comic books, primarily those of Marvel and DC, that was reasonably successful for a while. There were at three earlier attempts to make a comic book TCG: Overpower (Marvel, then DC), ReCharge (Marvel only), and the Edutainment card game Genio involving Marvel superheroes.

    Based on Conventions 
  • The Cosplay website "American Cosplay Paradise" parodies this phenomenon with its "American Cosplay Duel" game, originally intended as an April Fool's joke. The game represents making/wearing costumes and entering them in masquerades, and can technically be considered a multi-license game, except Lelouch isn't the real Lelouch, and Haruhi isn't the real Haruhi, and... well, you get the picture...
  • Discworld Convention: The Card Game at the 2014 convention, with cards like "Monks of Cool" and "Coffee". A starter pack was provided in the tote bag; other cards could be gained in various ways throughout the con. Three games based on the cards were possible: short and long form versions of a regular collectable card game, where you had to assemble a Committee to hold Events, and a Top Trumps style game for more "casual" gamers.

    Based on Film 
  • Both Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings each got one when the movies came out.
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail had a Collectible Card Game, put out by Kenzer and Company.
    • This game is remembered even among non-fans for the presence of the "Get On With It!" card. When played, it obligates another player to stop wasting time thinking and actually make a play. More games should have this card. All games should have this card.
  • Highlander, which died mostly due to the slow release schedule. There is a new edition of the Highlander CCG, although distribution is limited.
  • Star Wars franchise has — bear it with us — no less than ten TCGs in various state of life to date:
    • The first one, Decipher's Star Wars Customizable Card Game, was active between 1995-2001 and consistently ranked #2 in popularity, behind only Magic: The Gathering. It was notable for complex game mechanics and various fun Easter Eggs inserted on the cards, as well as featuring some Expanded Universe characters in later years.
    • Before losing their license in 2001, Decipher cashed in and made some spinoffs, Jedi Knights and Young Jedi. The first one, based on the Original Trilogy, lasted for only three sets and used computer-generated imagery instead of movie stills. The second one was based on The Phantom Menace and had even more simplistic game mechanics. Both were aimed at the younger audience.
    • In 2002 LucasArts took the license away from Decipher and gave it to Wizards of the Coast, which created a TCG for Episode II as a Revenue Enhancing Device. It barely made it to Episode III, but still retains some of its followers today. Probably the second-known Star Wars card game.
    • Then there was the Star Wars Pocketmodel Game from Wiz Kids, which utilized both collectible cards and cardboard starship miniatures. It never made it into Star Wars: The Clone Wars expansions, ending in 2008.
    • Star Wars: Galaxies Trading Card Game, apart from being the first Star Wars card game online, was different from its predecessors in using artwork by world-class artists instead of movie stills and being focused almost entirely on Star Wars Expanded Universe material, which previous games only touched at best. Unfortunately, being tied to the Star Wars: Galaxies didn't do it justice: the MMO was already in decline and restricting the game to current and former SWG subscribers limited the potential player base to several hundred people at its best. Nevertheless, the game survived thanks to MMO players buying virtual boosters while hunting rare loot items and spawned 8 sets with thousand of beautiful artworks, until it got shot down along with the MMO that gave birth to it in late 2011.
    • Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures is a casual "Free Realms-style" MMO based on Star Wars: The Clone Wars TV series. It added its first CCG, Card Commander, shortly after the launch in 2010 - a game with very simplistic gameplay , aimed at the very young audience. In 2012, it added a second came called Card Assault. It's a step up, including Deckbuilding and Strategies, while the Card Commander is mostly luck-based and has no deckbuilding.
    • Meanwhile, the license for physical card games went to Fantasy Flight Games, who now produces "Star Wars: The Living Card Game" and X-Wing Miniatures (much like Pocketmodels game above, this one uses both cards and miniatures), both games already several expansions in.
  • Austin Powers CCG
  • Army of Darkness card game
  • Decipher released a Massive Multiplayer Crossover CCG called Fight Klub based on one-on-one fights between famous movie characters. Jigsaw versus Hannibal Lecter, Mr Blond versus Ash, John Rambo versus RoboCop, Chev Chelios versus Scott McCoy, Tank Girl versus Sil, and more.

    Based on Literature 
  • A successful Middle-Earth CCG came out long before the The Lord of the Rings movies.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire has a spinoff card game, called Game Of Thrones. When first released, it was a fairly traditional CCG, with base decks augmented by booster packs. Starting in 2007, though, it converted to what the makers call a "LCG", or Living Card Game. A $40 starter set will get the starting decks for four main Houses, with additional sets for players wanting to play as other Houses or with expanded options for one of the 'core' Houses (Stark, Banatheron, Lannister, and Targaryen). Since then, though, the makers have released monthly "chapter" packs: Basically 60-card booster packs with identical contents to eliminate randomness, arrayed in six chapter arcs built around a general theme or region, much like M:tG's card block system. One of the longest lasting card games on the market aside from M:tG, Yu-gi-oh and the Pokemon CCG, in continuous production since 2002.
  • The Wheel of Time, using the same engine and mechanics as Babylon 5.
  • Hyborian Gates, based off Robert E. Howard's writings, features 100% recycled Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell art.
  • A company called Cactus Game Design produces the card game Redemption — based off of The Bible. Also an example of The Moral Substitute.

    Based on Live Action TV 
  • Doctor Who has now had three; one released in 1996 which only made it to one set, and two kiddie-orientated new series tie-ins.
  • WWE Raw Deal. WCW Nitro came out at pretty much the same time, but was doomed by the fact that it released shortly before the death of the WCW.
  • 24 has one. Doomed by an odd premier release (Starters first, boosters two months later) and released during the '07-'08 WGA Strike, the only season skipped in 24's 8-season run.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • The X-Files. Both ironically and appropriately, the basic mechanics of the X-Files CCG were also used for a Scooby-Doo CCG.
  • In Japan, there's a Super Sentai trading card game called "Rangers Strike", which eventually expanded out and added Kamen Rider and Metal Heroes.
    • Bandai collaborated with Cardass to produce Franchise/Kamen Rider Battle: Ganbaride (later upgraded into Ganbarizing) as a tie-in with Kamen Rider Decade; what makes this example unusual is it's an arcade card game, with the machine capable of reading a barcode on the cards and pulling up a character model for the character to be used in battle. The "Data Cardass" system was later used to make Super Sentai Battle Dice-O (itself inspired by the card-using Tensou Sentai Goseiger) and branched out into anime franchises with Dragon Ball Heroes and Mobile Suit Gundam Try-Age. All four games use very similar mechanics, including the use of Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors.
  • Power Rangers has had two trading card games, the "Collectible Card Game" that was made in 2008 (using art from Rangers Strike) and the "Action Card Game" that started in 2012 as a tie in to Power Rangers Megaforce using card art from Super Sentai Battle Dice O.
  • Star Trek has had two, the more notable one by Decipher (which was itself split into two editions, where the 2nd edition barely resembled the first).
  • "Series/Animorphs" had one made by Decipher. To be honest, it's more of a board game than a card game.

    Based on Tabletop Non-Card Games 
  • The BattleTech CCG made by Magic: The Gathering creator, Richard Garfield, maybe? It saw about half a dozen expansion sets and a revamp of the main set (Commander's Edition) before folding. By CCG standards, that's fairly respectable. Even then, its folding was caused by FASA's buyout by Decipher, a rival to Wizards of the Coast who were releasing the CCG.
  • A list of collectible card games on The Other Wiki has many more examples, including Aliens Vs Predator, Babylon 5 and The Wheel of Time (listed together because they actually used the same engine, so you could pit Sheridan against Rand al'Thor), James Bond and Star Trek: The Next Generation.

    The Star Trek: The Next Generation card game, incidentally, eventually branched out to the rest of the franchise. It was made by the same people as the Star Wars game and was also fairly popular.
  • There were three Trading Card games based on Old World of Darkness table-top RPGs.
    • First Jyhad, which was canceled and revived as Vampire: The Eternal Struggle, which is still going (but largely only available through White Wolf's website). This is based on Vampire: The Masquerade.
    • Then an entirely separate game, Rage, based on Werewolf: The Apocalypse. This was published by two separate companies with two separate rulesets, one of which continues to receive fan expansions.
    • Lastly, there was Arcadia, based on Changeling The Dreaming.
  • Deadlands had the Doomtown CCG, which had a decidedly niche fandom. The plot and setting were unique, and later ported over to Weird West canon. Perhaps best of all, every card in the CCG had a rank and suit — just like playing cards — so they could also be used for poker, or with the tabletop game as the mystical Huckster's spellslinging or a general initiative deck.
  • Netrunner technically falls into this category, since its background drew upon R. Talsorian Games's Cyberpunk 2020 role-playing setting (despite the game itself being produced by Wizards of the Coast). Of course, even at the time that was arguably a fairly obscure property... The game was pretty solidly designed but just sadly short-lived.
  • Rifts had a short-lived game, but when they came out with their new "half-edition", they actually took a lot of the original artwork and blew it up into quarter- to full-page spreads in the new rulebook. Acknowledging its failure, Palladium would later have a joke contest; what to do with 50,000 Rifts CCG cards. Which was how many the company had in storage after the CCG failed.
  • Spell Fire, a hastily put together CCG based on Dungeons & Dragons and mostly reused art, created by TSR to cash in on the Magic fad while it lasted. Three years later, TSR went bankrupt and was bought by WOTC, the creators of Magic... but not before being reduced to using photos of TSR employees in extremely crude costumes as card "art."
  • The webbased Card Hunter is a CollectibleCardGame/StrategyRPG/TabletopRPG combination based on Dungeons & Dragons
  • Queen's Blade was originally a fighting-book game using the Lost Worlds game books, but of course featured sexy fantasy women. This spawned a CCG, two PS games, and an anime series. Of course, the CCG was only released in Japan.
  • Steve Jackson Games' Illuminati New World Order was a collectible version of their previous classic Illuminati.
  • Guardians of Order produced a small number of card games whose mechanics were inspired by their Tri-Stat system; one such title was Sailor Moon.

    Based on Video Games 
  • Lycče Trading Card Game, CCG with mostly-Bishoujo characters from various popular Visual Novels. Includes licensed characters from Type-Moon, Key/Visual Arts, Alice Soft, Leaf, Nitro Plus, etc. 6000+ cards and growing.
  • Kingdom Hearts had its own GBA game which incorporated cards.
    • And then Square Enix saw fit to remake this game for the PlayStation 2 as part of one of its Japanese rerelease packages, and even exported said remake as a standalone release in North America.
    • It also had a very short lived TCG, while the translators, Fantasy Flight Games, teased of the fifth set, which would have been Japan's Sixth and Seventh Set, including whatever promos respective to that set.
  • There was also a SimCity CCG.
  • Later versions of Civilization IV came bundled with their self-made CCG.
  • Beloved fighting game Killer Instinct had one, published by Topps.
  • .hack had one. .hack//GU had an in-universe one, Crimson VS, that was made into an out-of-universe one, .hack//GU The Card Battle, which had different rules but could also be played as if it were Crimson VS.
  • World of Warcraft has a TCG with rules loosely inspired by Magic: The Gathering. Interestingly, even people who hate the MMO enjoy the TCG, and it has a strong following.
  • City of Heroes developed one, and released initial card sets, through the project got dropped well before it could be called complete (the player base has continued development somewhat). It did have one noteworthy feature, a website app and proxying rule which allowed players to generate and print tournament-legal cards representing their characters.
  • The Mega Man Battle Network series had a TCG, made by Decipher, which lasted less than a year.
  • Final Fantasy, of course, has a card game based on its series; Lord of Vermillion uses iconic monsters from the series, and marries traditional card gameplay with a video game interface (similar to Sony's The Eye of Judgment.) The sequel also includes characters from Final Fantasy IV, IX, and Romancing Saga, along with guest fighters from Magic: The Gathering, BlazBlue, The Kingof Fighters, and Sangokushi Taisen.
    • They also produced a paper version of the Triple Triad game played within Final Fantasy VIII.
    • Square finally published an 'all-13' card game for the series in 2011. Info is here.
  • Yarudora series vol.3: Sampaguita has a Trading Card Collection set. It uses the Good End 2 route as the canon storyline, with Good End 3, Normal End 2, Bad End 1, and Bad End 9 as Parallel Stories.
  • Fire Emblem had a TCG Japan, covering from Monsho no Nazo through to Thracia 776.
  • Touhou has one. In true Touhou fashion, it's actually named Rumbling Spell Orchestra. There's also the Touhou Ginfuritsu, from the company that make Lycče (and using the same mechanic). Note that this is not a Touhou official TCG, as it's not endorsed by the creator of Touhou.
  • Wing Commander had one, made by Margaret Weis. Set around the time of Wing Commander III (2669), it used artwork and technical elements from that period of time.
  • Margaret Weis took the opportunity to make a CCG of her own IP, The Star of the Guardians. Given that you've probably never heard of the series, you can guess how well it fared.
  • Madden NFL has "Ultimate Team" mode, which is a TCG within the game (but for real money of course).
  • The online card game Tyrant is based of the Facebook game War Metal.
  • Pokémon. The Pokemon card game was popular enough to two video games based on the card game... based on the video game.
  • Alteil: A Card Battle Game
  • Battle Forge: A CCG MMO RTS!
  • Elements: A Card Battle Game
  • Colossal Kaiju Combat has collectible cards that can do battle with each other via a separately purchased Combat Deck, which comes with four stock monsters itself. Using an Official Fan-Submitted Content method, new monsters go through the card game before being introduced to the video game proper, although significant changes may occur between the card game and video game versions.

    Based on Webcomics and Websites 
  • MSF High has a card game, complete with characters from the forums. It's even had Linkara and Spoony have their own decks.
  • Neopets had a CCG that, while made by the masters of the CCG at Wizards of the Coast and having easier rules to understand than Yu-Gi-Oh! and was in general very fun.

    Based on Western Animation 

  • Avatar: The Last Airbender and Pirates of the Caribbean each had one, and they were based on the QuickStrike system. So you could face, say, Katara against Will Turner...
  • Ben 10 CCG
  • Teen Titans TCG
  • Xiaolin Showdown TCG
  • Geek Fight
  • Dragon Booster
  • SpongeBob SquarePants had one in 2001, based on the first season. The goal was to get customers to the Krusty Krab.
  • Transformers had at least two, both primarily based on the live-action movies. The first was a "3D Battle-Card Game": characters were represented as punch-out buildable cards that could either be built as vehicles/animals or out-of-proportion Off Model robots (here's Optimus, for those interested), and the game could easily be played without the card models. Only two sets were released. The second is a more traditional TCG, currently exclusive to Japan; time will tell whether it'll be more successful.
  • The Simpsons TCG, made by Wizards of the Coast. The goal here is not combat, but to create a setting with characters suited for that location. Despite everything about the premise suggesting it would fall on its face, those who've played it say it's very fun.
  • Chaotic
  • My Little Pony Collectible Card Game, based on My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Unlike most CC Gs, your objective is not to defeat your opponent by taking out their "Life Points", but reach a set score before they do via assigning Characters to a Problem and earning points by solving them. There re also face-offs depending on power, but nobody gets immediately removed from the field as a result of it. Furthermore, you don't lose the game when you exhaust your deck.


Alternative Title(s):

Trading Card Game