Collectible, customizable, and trading card games (CCGs and TCGs respectively) have been around for years now. I got my first taste during the boom in the mid-nineties between Magic: The Gathering’s original rise and Pokémon TCG’s campaign for dominance. I marveled at all the captivating artwork in my hands and the seemingly endless possibilities when it came to battling my opponents.
But Magic and Pokémon weren’t the only players on the block. Other companies jumped on the bandwagon, attempting to launch their own games based on geeky properties that were hot at the time. Many of these games lasted only a handful of expansions or less before the bubble burst in the early 2000s. With through the wonders of eBay and a few mom and pop dealers lurking online, it’s still possible to play most of the games of yesteryear. Here are five games worth digging up and playing today.
The X-Files CCG (Voyager Promotions)
Released at the height of The X-Files craze, The X-Files Collectible Card Game allowed two players to square off as their favorite FBI agents. Covering the events from the first three seasons, the goal is to discover which x-file your opponent is hiding from you. The game plays like a spookier version of twenty questions as you attempt to narrow down whether the other player has a file on something like Tooms, the Arctic worm, or that creepy computer from “Ghost In The Machine.” The X-Files CCG is perfect for X-Files fans looking to participate in the adventures of Mulder and Scully or for anyone that wants to try a game that focuses less on battles and more on detective work and problem-solving.
Young Jedi CCG (Decipher, Inc.)
I’m right in the sweet spot to feel a little nostalgic for Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. The podracing game for Nintendo 64 and the Young Jedi Collectible Card Game are two big reasons. The original Star Wars CCG made by Decipher is a thorough and complex game that has a steep learning curve. The Young Jedi CCG was the company’s attempt to appeal to the Pokémon crowd, but with a Star Wars veneer. You and your opponent battle over control of several planets using your favorite characters and weapons from the first Star Wars prequel (no one can defeat my Gungan army). Gameplay is relatively simple, so it’s easy to get the hang of quickly. The Young Jedi CCG is for anyone who wants to play in the Star Wars universe without getting bogged down by lots of rules and preparation. Now this is podracing!
Tomb Raider CCG (Precedence Entertainment)
Based on the original PlayStation video game, the Tomb Raider Collectible Card Game can be played solo or with friends. You play as your favorite tomb raider (but who isn’t going to be Lara Croft?) and build dungeons to quest for ancient relics. When playing with up to three other players, you can lay traps and other obstacles to try and prevent them from beating you to the treasure. If you have warm feelings for the original Tomb Raider video games, the Tomb Raider CCG features lots of great art from the polygon days. For anyone looking for a solo card game experience, this is the perfect chance to adventure on your own.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer CCG (Score Entertainment)
Slay vampires and other demons with the kids from Sunnydale in the Buffy The Vampire Slayer Collectible Card Game. Two players battle for dominance over the city as either heroes and companions or villians and minions. Use your favorite characters from the show like Willow or Buffy (sorry Xander) to face challenges and each other. Whomever maintains control of Sunnydale for six turns (or be first to get ten destiny points) wins. The Buffy CCG is for former nineties goth kids and Buffy fans obviously, but it’s a neat game for anyone familiar with board game mechanics desiring an experience with a bit more customization.
X-Men TCG (Wizards Of The Coast)
Part of a big tie-in with the Bryan Singer-directed film of the same name, The X-Men Trading Card Game is basically a variant on the Pokémon Trading Card Game. What Marvel or X-Men fan wouldn’t want to construct a team featuring their favorite mutants doing battle with each other!? Though it only lasted one set before being canceled, the game is a breeze to pick up and play and features unique artwork that attempted to blend the gritty aesthetic of the films with X-Men’s comic book roots. Build your best team and let’s battle!
Let us know in comments if there are any other trading or collectible card games you are playing! Did you play any of these games back in the day? What franchises do you want to see turned into a card game?
Photo Credits: Steven Ray Morris