The protagonist is a youth introduced to a Trading Card Game by a clever marketing ploy: A free starter set delivered to their house and a tournament with a huge prize.
It's now up to the player to defeat opponents for money and booster packs, trying to get one of each of the eight Legendary-type cards and win the tournament.
Oh, and the cards? All characters from Ludosity and Daniel Remar's past games, including:
- Ittle Dew
- Hero Core
- Garden Gnome Carnage+Hyper Princess Pitch
- Mama & Son: Clean House
- Healthy Weapon
- and a bunch of smaller games from Daniel's scrap packs or game jams.
A sequel Card City Nights 2 was released in September of 2017 for Steam and mobile device, bringing both changes and new mechanics to the game and setting. For one, The City is now IN SPACE (because 'it's always night in space"), namely as the Starship Frivolity, everything has gained a bit of a sci-fi edge, the two game boards have been merged into a single board, meaning both you can your opponent can run interference on the fly. Oh, and now you can play against other folks online (which has precluded CCN2 from releasing on any other PC games service, due to Steam's online framework being required for said multiplayer).
- The Adjectival Man: This is how everyone is referred to in and out of universe, with examples such as "Little Dude", "Excitable Student", "Magical Fox", "Layabout", and "Lifeguard".
- Flavor Text: For most of the cards. Such as:
- Fish and Frog: Together they barely fight crime at all.
- Mark: "YEEEAH!"
- Old Man: Actually just strawmen with record players inside.
- Healthy Weapon cards appear to all use victory quotes.
- British Stuffiness: Stoneface is an honorable gentleman, greatly contrasting the run-down bar he's found in.
- Cardboard Box Home: Apparently, Loafer has a cardboard fort in the Dark Alley, according to The Kid:Loafer comes here to sleep in a little cardboard fort she built. It's got a phone, and TV and everything.
- Card Sharp: The Delinquent admits to cheating after the player wins his Legendary card, and vows to go clean from then on.
- Frothy Mugs of Water: Health potions, especially the way Magical Fox downs them.
- Game-Breaking Bug: A bug, fixed in the Valentine update, caused the AI to lock up (leaving you with no choice but forfeiting the match) instead of losing if it ran out of cards completely yet survived the "incomplete hand" damage it caused (which was possible either with a very good defense, or a "Discard whole hand" effect like Dan, Tarrot or Uppohoppanote ) The bug didn't affect human players.
- Gossipy Hens: Green Crystal spends all her time at the mall, often feigning naps in order to eavesdrop on passers-by and share gossip with the player.
- Heävy Mëtal Ümlaut: The "Snäke" card (a big metal snake).
- His Name Really Is "Barkeep":
- All characters encountered by the player have no other name in-game than their description (though they have names in the games they're pulled from).
- Business Casual Man is just Business Casual Man, including when he shows up again in Slap City.
- Item Crafting: The Lab allows players to combine some cards into one, losing the originals. Some combinations merely yield existing common cards in the same set (such as most combinations in the Healthy Weapon series, including some that give one of their ingredients) while others yield rare cards or cards that can't be obtained otherwise.
- Joke Item: Joke Card: Two, based on the Apathetic Frog:
- Apathetic Frog, which has no effect on the battlefield. At all. The tutorial battle pits you against an opponent with nothing but this card.
- The Gold version is even jokier, being both useless and immune to everything.
- Lampshade Wearing: Magical Fox.
- Nerf: Some cards, like Haja and Jenny Fox, started out unquestionably better than others (like Mildagrad and Drone), so in the first update, they were slapped with disadvantages to re-balance them. There are still some "unquestionably better" cards out there though, some balanced by rarity (like Esi), some not (like Commanderoo or 3D Buni (Beta)).
- The Napoleon: Small Boss brags to the player about being undefeated in her card club, until Hip Skater admits that they're the only members.
- Not As You Knew Them: Played for laughs. Some wind up in positions really different from their source game counterparts, such as Scientist and Salaryman, respectively based on Iosa and Flip Hero.
- Plot Twist: After Business Casual Man is defeated the first time, he says "Incoming twist!" ... The twist being that Rude Skater is the adopted granddaughter of the head of Turnip Corp, and is also the artist of the cards.
- Power Equals Rarity: Better cards tend to be "rare" ones. It's also used to limit proliferation within the deck too, since each rare card is limited to one copy per deck (though you can have as many rare cards as you own different ones; only the legendary cards are limited to one legendary at all per deck).
- The Rival: Little Dude, the son of the Card King, who's hunting down the Legendary cards as well. The player battles him at least three times during the story.
- Romance Sidequest: The Valentine update added two characters that give out the new Princess Remedy booster packs: Multifarious Mammal, a fish that's supposedly a cursed prince, and Rock Enthusiast, a girl from the player's past that was completely unremarkable before collecting rocks. Dueling both have them admit affection for the player, who can then choose who to go on a brief date with.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: Talking to Small Boss at the school's card club has her repeatedly mention her big sis is Tall Skater.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Rude Skater according to Tall Skater, greatly overestimates her artistic talent with graffiti. It's an act, she's more skilled than she lets on, as Gang Leader in the Dark Alley says she's "actually a good artist".
- They Fight Crime!: Referenced in the Flavor Text of "Fish and Frog", whose Odd Couple is Paranoid Fish and Apathetic Frog:Together they barely fight crime at all.
- Trading Card Game: The plot revolves around it.
- Versus Character Splash: Before each battle.
- Victory Quote:
- Naturally, various characters have some choice quotes if they beat you in the card game.
- The Flavor Text for all Healthy Weapon cards appears to be the character's victory quote.
- My Name Is ???: When entering the wharf, a person whose name is only "???", asks the player to get into the storage room.