A few of the 11441 unique Magic: The Gathering trading cards.

From Wikipedia:

"A collectible card game (CCG), also called a trading card game (TCG), is a game played using specially designed sets of playing cards. While trading cards have been around for longer, CCGs combine the appeal of collecting with strategic gameplay.

The modern concept of CCG games was first presented in Magic: The Gathering, designed by Richard Garfield and published by Wizards of the Coast in 1993."

TCGs create a dynamic and complex game environemts with unique real world interactions among people.

This article will focus primarily on Magic: The Gathering but the ideas here are common to most TCGs.

Basics of the GameEdit

Qf1 board

A sanctioned game of Magic: The Gathering.

Trading card games involve the interactions of cards and players with each other and the predefined rules of the game. In Magic each player begins with a 60 card deck and attempts to reduce their opponents life total to 0 through any number of card-card or card-player interactions.The games has several unique card types each with its own way of altering the game state.

With over 11000 differnet cards and around 10 differnt types of cards an incredibly complex system is created. Player decisions, card interaction, and a small amount of luck create an emergent system with functioanlly infite possibiliteies of outcomes.

External Emergent BehaviorEdit

Outside of the game itself TCGs have created unique interactions fore people. Similar to gold in World of Warcraft the cards have a secondary market. Cards originate from retail stores, but once in the hands of players they acquire a whole new value based on the current ever evolving metagame. The comparatively simple ingame card interaactions spawn strategies that help players to evaluate the value of cards.

thumb|300px|right|2000 Magic: The Gathering World Finals featuring hall of famer John Finkel vs Bob Maher

The TCG world has also spawned a professional circuit of players with highly organized tournaments and organizations to regulate play and manage rankings. Players have tanken a game they love and turned it into a way to make a living. These tournaments have garnered national attention, for a brief period of time they were bradcast on ESPN.

External LinksEdit - Wizzards of the Coast's own portal for blogs dealing with all aspects of Magic, from game play and card design and lore. - A brief introduction to Magic: The Gathering