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Collectible card game
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Collectible card game

Collectible card games (CCGs), also called customizable card games or trading card games, are played using specially designed sets of cards. While trading cards have been around for much longer, CCGs combine the appeal of collecting and strategic game play.

The first widely-known collectible card game was , designed by Richard Garfield and published by Wizards of the Coast in 1993.

Table of contents
1 Gameplay
2 Distribution
3 Patent
4 References
5 Related Articles
6 External links


Each CCG system has a fundamental set of rules that describes the players' objectives, the categories of cards used in the game, and the basic rules by which the cards interact. Each card will have additional text explaining that card's effect on the game. They also generally represent some specific element derived from the game's genre, setting, or source material. The cards are illustrated and named for these source elements, and the card's game function may relate to the subject. For example, is based on the fantasy genre, so many of the cards represent creatures and magical spells from that setting. In the game, a dragon is illustrated as a reptilian beast, has the flying ability, and has quite formidable game statistics compared to other creatures.

Almost all CCGs are designed around a single basic resource by which the pace of each game is controlled. Relative card strength is often balanced by the number or type of basic resources needed in order to play the card. Resource may be specific cards themselves, or represented by other means.

Players select which cards will compose their deck from the available pool of cards - unlike traditional card games such as poker or UNO in which the deck content is pre-defined. This allows a CCG player to strategically customize their deck to take advantage of favorable card interactions or combinations.

During a game, players will take turns playing cards and performing game-related actions. The order and titles of these steps vary between game systems, but these are typical:

Internet Play

Modern CCGs have also been developed that are played over the
Internet. Instead of receiving physical cards, a player establishes a "virtual" collection that is kept only in electronic memory and cards can be purchased or traded within this environment. There are online versions of games that originated as physical CCGs, as well as games that exist solely online.


Specific game cards are most often produced in various degrees of scarcity, denoted as common, uncommon, and rare. Some games use alternate or additional designations for the relative rarity levels. Special cards may also only be available through promotions, events, or redemption programs.

Most collectible card games are distributed as sealed packs containing a subset of the available cards, much like trading cards. Some of the most common distribution methods are:


Wizards of the Coast holds U.S. Patent #5662332 on trading card games. The patent, filed in October 1995 and granted in September 1997, covers:

As a holder of the patent, Wizards of the Coast has requested that all trading card game publishers license the mechanics described in the patent, usually for a royalty fee based on total sales.

In October 2003, Wizards of the Coast filed suit against Nintendo and related companies in U.S. District Court in Seattle shortly after it's distribution agreement expired. The suit alleged, along with other claims, that the Pokémon Trading Card Game, infringed on the company's patent. In December of that year, the parties settled the case on undisclosed terms, precluding a judicial ruling which may have been the first test of the patent's legal validity.


Related Articles

External links