A collectible card game (CCG), also called a trading card game (TCG) among other names, is a type of
card game A card game is any game A game is a structured form of play Play most commonly refers to: * Play (activity), an activity done for enjoyment * Play (theatre), a work of drama Play may refer also to: Computers and technology * Googl ...

card game
that mixes
strategic Strategy (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxim ...
deck building elements with features of
trading card A trading card (or collectible card) is a small card, usually made out of paperboard Paperboard is a thick paper Paper is a thin sheet material Material is a substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a term in Jain o ...
s, introduced with '' Magic: The Gathering'' in 1993. Generally a
player Player may refer to: Role or adjective * Player (game) A player of a game with separate sliding drawer, from 1390–1353 BC, made of glazed faience, dimensions: 5.5 × 7.7 × 21 cm, in the Brooklyn Museum (New York City) ...
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 packIn collectible card game A collectible card game (CCG), also called a trading card game (TCG), among other names, is a type of card game that mixes strategy game, strategic deck building elements with features of trading cards, introduced with ''Mag ...
s, 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 A multiplayer video game is a video game#REDIRECT Video game A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface or input device such as a joystick, game controller, controller, computer keyboard, keyboard, or ...
formats are also common.
Gameplay Gameplay is the specific way in which player Player may refer to: Role or adjective * Player (game) A player of a game with separate sliding drawer, from 1390–1353 BC, made of glazed faience, dimensions: 5.5 × 7.7 × 2 ...

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 Health or hit points (HP) is an attribute in tabletop role-playing game A tabletop role-playing game (typically abbreviated as TRPG or TTRPG), also known as a pen-and-paper role-playing game, is a form of role-playing game A role-playing ga ...
to zero before their opponent can do the same to them.
Dice Dice (singular die or dice) are small, throwable objects with marked sides that can rest in multiple positions. They are used for generating random numbers, commonly as part of tabletop game Tabletop games are game with separate sliding d ...

, counters, card sleeves, or play mats are used to complement gameplay. CCG
tournament A tournament is a competition Competition is a rivalry A rivalry is the state of two people or groups engaging in a lasting competitive relationship. Rivalry is the "against each other" spirit between two competing sides. The relationshi ...

s exist for expert players to compete for prizes. CCGs are typically themed around fantasy or science fiction genres, and have also included
horror Horror may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Genres *Horror fiction, a genre of fiction **Japanese horror, Japanese horror fiction **Korean horror, Korean horror fiction *Horror film, a film genre *Horror comics, comic books focusing on h ...
cartoon A cartoon is a type of illustration An illustration is a decoration, interpretation or visual explanation of a text, concept or process, designed for integration in print and digital published media, such as poster A poster is a tempor ...

s, and
sport Sport pertains to any form of Competition, competitive physical activity or game that aims to use, maintain or improve physical ability and Skill, skills while providing enjoyment to participants and, in some cases, entertainment to spectato ...

s, and may include licensed
intellectual properties Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depending on the nature of the property, an owner o ...
. Cards in CCGs are specially designed sets of
playing card A playing card is a piece of specially prepared card stock, heavy paper, thin cardboard, plastic-coated paper, cotton-paper blend, or thin plastic that is marked with distinguishing motifs. Often the front (face) and back of each card has a Pap ...
s. 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 {{Short pages monitor Meanwhile, strong sales continued with the three top CCGs of ''Pokémon'', ''Yu-Gi-Oh!'', and ''Magic: the Gathering''. The Warhammer series ''Dark Millennium'' ended its run in 2007. ''Magic: the Gathering'' saw a large player boom in 2009, with the release of the ''Zendikar'' expansion. The spike in the number of ''Magic'' players continued for a few years and leveled off by 2015. Interest also developed with their multiplayer format called Commander. This increase in the player base created a Magic: the Gathering finance, ''Magic'' subculture based on speculation, finance speculation. New players entering the market from 2009 to 2015 desired cards that were printed before 2009 and with smaller print runs. Demand outstripped quantity and prices of certain cards increased and speculators started to directly manipulate the ''Magic'' card market to their advantage. This eventually attracted the interest of the controversial figure Martin Shkreli, former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, for a brief period of time. Prices of cards from previous sets increased dramatically and the American market saw an influx of Chinese counterfeits capitalizing on the demand. This created a unique situation where the most desirable and expensive cards could be printed by counterfeiters, but not by the brand owner, due to a promise made with collectors back in 1996 and refined in 2011. In 2015, Wizards of the Coast implemented more anti-counterfeit measures by introducing a holographic foil onto cards with specific rarities, in addition to creating a proprietary font. Between the time period of 2008 to 2016, Magic: the Gathering sold over 20 billion. A rise in tie-in collectible card games continued with the introduction of the ''My Little Pony Collectible Card Game''. It was licensed to Enterplay LLC by Hasbro and published on 13 December 2013. The collectible cards, according to president Dean Irwin, proved to be moderately successful, so Enterplay reprinted the premiere release set mid-February 2014. Other tie-in games released included the ''Final Fantasy Trading Card Game'' and ''Star Wars: Destiny''; which had collectible cards and Collectible dice game, dice which after a 3-year run ended production in early 2020. ''Force of Will'' was released in 2012 in Japan and in 2013 in English, but as an original intellectual property. One of the longest running CCGs, ''Legend of the Five Rings'', released its final set ''Evil Portents'' for free in 2015. After a 20-year run, the brand was sold to Fantasy Flight Games and released as an LCG. In March 2018, it was announced that PlayFusion and Games Workshop would team up to create a new Warhammer Fantasy (setting), Warhammer trading card game.


In 1996 Luke Peterschmidt, designer of Guardians (card game), Guardians, remarked that unlike board game and Role-playing game, RPG players, CCG players seem to assume they can only play one CCG at a time. Often, the less popular CCGs will have localized sales success; in some cities a CCG will be a hit, but in many others it will be a flop.

Concerns about gambling

Like lootbox in video games, there are concerns about the random and sealed booster packs. A survey among users of Reddit's online message boards found little evidence of the need to regulate collectible card games. This concern for gambling plays a big part of the brand messaging for Living Card Games with fixed non-randomized distribution of cards.

See also

* List of dice games#Collectible dice games, Collectible dice games * Collectible miniature game * Digital collectible card game * List of collectible card games * List of digital collectible card games * Loot box#Criticism, Loot box Criticism * Non-sports trading card





Further reading

* {{DEFAULTSORT:Collectible Card Game Card games introduced in 1993 Collectible card games, Games of mental skill Video game genres Card game terminology