Collectible card game
A collectible card game (CCG), also called a trading card game (TCG) among other names,[note 1] is a type of card game that mixes strategic deck building elements with features of trading cards, introduced with Magic: The Gathering in 1993.
Generally a player may begin playing a CCG with a pre-made starter deck, and then customize their deck with a random assortment of cards acquired through booster packs, or from trading with other players, building up their own library of cards. As a player obtains more cards, they may create new decks from scratch from their library. Players are challenged to construct a deck within limits set by the CCG's rules that will allow them to outlast decks constructed by other players. Games are commonly played between two players, though multiplayer formats are also common. Gameplay in CCG is typically turn-based, with each player starting with a shuffled deck and on their turn, drawing and playing cards to attack the other player and reduce their health points to zero before their opponent can do the same to them. Dice, counters, card sleeves, or play mats are used to complement gameplay. CCG tournaments exist for expert players to compete for prizes.
CCGs are typically themed around fantasy or science fiction genres, and have also included horror themes, cartoons, and sports, and may include licensed intellectual properties. Cards in CCGs are specially designed sets of playing cards. Each card within the CCG represent an element of that theme geared towards the gameplay of the CCG, and can fall in categories such as creatures, enhancements, events, resources, and locations. All cards within the CCG typically share the same common backside art, while the front has a combination of proprietary artwork or images to embellish the card along with instructions and flavor text for the card. Expansion sets are used to extend CCGs, introducing new gameplay strategies and narrative lore through new cards in starter decks and booster packs, that may also lead to the development of theme decks. Successful CCGs typically have thousands of unique cards through multiple expansions. Magic: The Gathering initially launched with 300 unique cards and currently has more than 22,000 as of March 2020[update].
The first CCG, Magic: The Gathering, was developed by Richard Garfield and published by Wizards of the Coast in 1993 and its initial runs rapidly sold out that year. By the end of 1994, Magic: The Gathering had sold over 1 billion cards, and during its most popular period, between 2008 and 2016, it had sold over 20 billion cards. Magic: The Gathering's early success led other game publishers to follow suit with their own CCGs in the following years. Other successful CCGs include Yu-Gi-Oh! which is estimated to have sold about 35 billion cards as of January 2021[update], and Pokémon which has sold over 43 billion cards as of March 2022[update]. Other notable CCGs have come and gone, including Legend of the Five Rings, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Vampire: The Eternal Struggle, and World of Warcraft. Many other CCGs were produced but had little or no commercial success.
Recently, digital collectible card games (DCCGs) have gained popularity, spurred by the success of online versions of CCGs like Magic: The Gathering Online, and wholly digital CCGs like Hearthstone. CCGs have further influenced other card game genres, including deck-building games like Dominion, and "Living card games" developed by Fantasy Flight Games.