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Trading Card Games

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The first 'trading card game' (TCG) was Magic - The Gathering, designed by Richard Garfield and released in August 1993. A 'trading card game' is a card game played with a deck of 40 to 60 cards, found in randomized packs called 'boosters or 'booster packs' containing 9 - 18 cards (it varies from game to game). Each pack contains one 'rare' card, usually one of the best cards. Unlike traditional games like poker, every deck varies in these games.

A list of some TCGs:

  • Magic - The Gathering
  • Pokémon
  • Star Wars
  • Star Trek
  • Babylon 5
  • Austin Powers
  • Legend of the Five Rings
  • Legend of the Burning Sands
  • Wheel of Time
  • Battletech
  • Netrunner
  • Spellfire
  • Doomtown
  • Tomb Raider

Although the cheapest way to collect cards for your deck is to buy booster packs, another way is to buy 'singles' at card and comic shops, or off the Internet. Since boosters are randomized, you don't know whether you'll get the card you want for your deck. Buying singles allows you to get the cards you need, but for a higher price.

Trading card games can also be played for money and/or prizes at tournaments. At a tournament, you play against other players, usually in a bracket format (single elimination). The next most popular format is Swiss, where you play every other player and the player with the best record wins at the end. There are combinations, too, like where the match is played Swiss until the top eight are decided, and then those players play single elimination

In one of the most recent TCGs, 'Pokémon', a lawsuit was filed on behalf of parents, saying 'Pokémon' was a form of gambling because only one in every three boosters contained a foil1 card. However, the lawsuit was dropped because the lawyers running it found out they were suing their own client.

1Also known as 'holo' or 'shiny'.

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