I don’t think it is fair to say Universal Fighting System Collectible Card Game aka UFS CCG is a dead CCG just yet but it is definitely a dying one. There are still UFS CCG sets being released but most of the local gaming stores near me don’t stock them any more. The packs or decks I do find are usually for sale. I got 10 packs of UFS Red Horizon Tides of Vengeance and a Dr Wiley starter deck for $12.
What piqued my interest in UFS initially is their licensed sets like Megaman and Street Fighter. UFS mimics classic fighting games (like Street Fighter) and the goal is to land enough attacks to knock out your opponent’s character. What I think is the strongest element of the game is the push your luck mechanics. For example, each time you play a card you have to see if the difficulty is less than or equal the control number on the top card of the library (which you discard). If you don’t pass the check, you have pay the difference with foundation cards that you played earlier. Each additional card you played also increases in difficulty. This make you think about the order you play card and even how to build and balance a deck. I also like how fast you go through your deck. You draw back to the starting hand size every turn and you also discard a lot of cards because you have to make a lot of checks.
So why did UFS fail? UFS sets were released too fast and there were way too many broken cards. Their banned list is huge. It is no fun to see the deck you invested in banned and it is also not fun to play against broken decks every round in a tournament. Also there are a lot of Japanese/ anime theme card games that is has to compete against. Just to name a few: Weiss Schwarz, Dragon Ball Z TCG, Final Fantasy TCG, Force of Will and Buddyfight. You also got the big 3 when it comes to CCGs: Magic, Pokemon and Yu Gi Oh. It is tough for any CCG.
Also I have to admit I have not gotten to play a full game of UFS. I goldfished the game a bit but it is hard to find someone to play with. Everyone in my gaming circle would rather play either Magic or a board game instead. Learning a CCG is a commitment. Sure the rules could be simple but there is a lot of reading and a lot of ambiguity when you first start any CCG. I also find it takes a couple of playthroughs to just “get” the game. It is a tough sell for any CCG.
All in all I still like collecting lost or dead CCGs. They are usually super cheap and I kind of just like building decks without really expecting to play with them…
I was looking through the discount DVD section the other day and I found a Naruto Volume 5 – Shinobi Weapons DVD. To my surprise it also came with a Naruto CCG promo card!
The card was loose in the DVD case so some of the corners were damaged. Oh wells.
Anyways, I played the Naruto CCG years ago and I may have played it two, maybe three times. I used to own a bunch of cards but not really enough to build a tournament deck. I did have a friend who loved the game so I just borrowed his decks to play.
Again my memory of the game is kind of hazy. But as you can see there are two combat stats for each character, one for when he or she is healthy and one for when he or she in injured. A big mechanic of the game is organizing all the characters aka ninjas into teams and have them attack your opponent. Also on your turn you will be playing missions, charging chakra and playing jitsu cards.
Unfortunately any CCG is a huge money sink and it is a very, very competitive market so it is no surprise to see Naruto CCG out of print. So many in the past have. But if I can get some Naruto CCG cards for cheap, I wouldn’t mind picking it up again and trying out the game again.
I recently found one of my old MLB Showdown decks and it brought back a lot good memories. It is the still the best sports themed CCG in my opinion (although to be honest there are not a lot of them nowadays).
Without going too much in detail, you can simulate a full of game of baseball with MLB Showdown by rolling 20 sided dice and by comparing the results to charts to find out the outcomes. There is also a deck of modifier cards to help mitigate some of the luck. One of the best features was there was a fatigue factor as you play from game to game so you can’t use the same starting pitcher all the time and you had to rest players from time to time. Here is my team.
There was a hard cap to build teams so you can’t just play with all the best players. The deck that I found was honestly one of my weaker teams (I am not sure where my other teams are). This team is kind of top heavy with players like Larry Walker, Cliff Floyd and Roy Halladay. It came at the cost though. There are a bunch of below average players like Darren Oliver, Einar Diaz and Geoff Jenkins. They were needed to round out the team and to get under the point limit.
So why did MLB Showdown fail? First off, I remember MLB Showdown was controversial in the fact that foil rare cards came in exactly every X packs so it was very easy to map boxes. Thus if you knew this fact, you would never buy loose packs from an opened box which had to hurt sales. Also MLB Showdown had a weird rule that bench players were worth 1/5 of the points but had to come in the 5th inning or later (if my memory is correct). So tournament decks would have the best baseball players at the time like Mark McGuire and Barry Bonds in the bench that would never happen in the real world. And last but not least, to be honest, this is game was very repetitive. A game can get a little long and I wouldn’t even think about long MLB Showdown tournaments. For me most of the fun actually came from building teams and designing decks.
All in all, MLB Showdown simulated a game of baseball quite well but unfortunately that also meant that it got boring after only one or two plays. But if you love statistics and numbers crunching then you might even like the mechanics. If I can find another deck, I definitely want to give this game another go.
I don’t have any packs this week since I spent my weekly “budget” on virtual cards, Hearthstone’s newest set Goblins vs Gnomes so I thought it would be a good time to take a look back at the World of Warcraft CCG/ TCG.
Unlike other lost CCGs I have highlighted on this blog, World of Warcraft only went out of print last year. It was first published by Upper Deck Entertainment. As we know, Upper Deck made a number of questionable business decisions (like making bootleg Yu-Gi-Oh cards) and lost the license in 2010. Cryptozoic Entertainment then took the mantle only to lose the license when Blizzard decided to make Hearthstone.
World of Warcraft TCG took a lot of inspiration from Magic and improved a lot of the more unpopular aspects of MTG, namely the quest/ mana crystals, be able to attack allies or heroes and the damage not removed at the end of the turn mechanics. Loot cards were a blessing and a curse. They were a huge draw for collectors opening boxes because they were highly desirable in the World of Warcraft game. But unfortunately they drew attention away from the card game and many people were only opening boxes for the loot cards and flooding the market with non loot cards.
I say World of Warcraft TCG is a lost CCG because it is completely overshadowed by the super popular Hearthstone game. Hearthstone repackaged a lot of the art and mechanics from the WoW TCG. It simplifies some of the mechanics like the mana system and redesigned some other mechanics to take advantage of the computer card game format like putting a random card in your hand. I love Hearthstone but wouldn’t mind playing a game of WoW TCG too (but not right now since I brewing with all the new Goblins vs Gnomes cards).
By the way if you are interested, here is a fun brew I have been tinkering with since the release.
2 Clockwork Gnome
2 Unstable Portal
2 Explosive Sheep
1 Unstable Ghoul
2 Harvest Golem
2 Tinkertown Technician
1 Goblin Blastmage
2 Mechanical Yeti
2 Piloted Shredder
2 Sludge Belcher
1 Caine Bloodhoof
1 Sylvanas Windrunner
It is a gimmicky value midrange mech mage deck.
Lost CCGs (Collectible Card Game) is a segment on the blog where I take a look at forgotten perhaps overlooked CCGs from years past. At one point, seemingly every collectible, every gaming company was coming out with a new CCG and it seemed like there was a new CCG on the market every week. Then the market crashed…
I was buying dog food on Amazon and needed a couple extra bucks to get free shipping. I looked around Amazon for a cheap board game or card game and I found two starter decks of Buffy The Vampire Slayer Collectible card that would be perfect. I was a huge fan of Buffy and these starter decks were based on the episode The Wish, which had a fun alternate reality story.
The first starter deck are the good guys (and gals), Buffy and Oz and the second are the bad guys (and gals), Vampire Willow and Vampire Xander. The cards themselves remind me of old fantasy 90’s designs. They are kind of busy, the borders probably weren’t a good idea and some of the screen shots are a bit blurry but I think the cards work for the game. The double sided character “essence” cards though stand out among the other CCGs of the same time.
This is truly a dead CCG as I can’t even find the full rulebook of the game. There are few resources here and there but they are scattered and incomplete. I filled in some big gaps and managed to play a “game” or two. But I don’t really want comment on the mechanics of the game since I am not sure I got them right. If anyone has a full rulebook, please, please forward it to me.
Looking up the game I can see how Score Entertainment messed up the game. Score is known for their sports cards and if I had to hazard a guess they were new to the CCG world. The rule book was poorly written and it wasn’t even included with the starter decks which is a horrible idea. You should at least have a small rules insert. There certainly was space for them. But the worst sin is that you can’t even play with just the starter decks (at least the first set). It was missing a few cards so you need to pick up at least few packs just to play a basic game. That is just greedy and short- sighted and I can see how people got frustrated with the game. Again this is based on what I read and not from experience.
There are some fans of this game and there are a lot of Buffy fans in general. The game does sound interesting. If it was better managed, it probably would have seen some success.
There was an explosion of collectible card games (CCGs) in the late 90’s and in the shuffle, a lot of great games got lost in time. If you can find them for cheap, they can actually be a lot of fun. I want to highlight some of these forgotten CCGs in my new blog segment simply called Lost CCGs!
I have to start with Comic Images’ WWE Raw Deal which is probably my favorite “lost” CCG. It was quite popular in its heyday but they couldn’t quite capitalize on the momentum. It is such a shame but not surprising. I found these Paul Heyman and Evolution decks for only $2 each. If my memory serves me right, these are two cornerstones for powerhouse decks.
I imagine professional wrestling to be incredibly difficult to convert as a card game. There are just so many elements to stimulated a match in a fun way but the mechanics of this game do reflect them flavorfully without being too complicated. Without going to much in detail, you have to build up fortitude to land bigger moves and you do that by successfully executing smaller moves. So to land say a shooting star press, you need to land a couple of punches and kicks first. When you take damage, you actually mill that many cards from the library aka the arsenal. Moves can be reversed if your opponent has a reversal in his or her hand or if it is among the cards milled. It is actually one of the few games I like that has the deck as your life mechanic. Also I love how you keep the moves you land in front of you so you can’t help but to use your imagination and just visualize the match from start to finish as you play the game.
So why did Raw Deal failed? I think the game got a bit complicated with the added rules each set brought. For example, I read the rule book a couple of times and I am still unsure about some of the prematch mechanics. Also cards can be a bit wordy and confusing itself. You have to read some superstar cards a number of times to get what is going on.
Anyways, living card games (LCGs) where there is no rarity or random booster packs are seeing more popularity lately and WWE Raw Deal would actually be perfect rebooted as a LCG. *Fingers crossed*
I recently came across this pack of Dragon Ball GT.
From what I can get from the packaging, it is a card game made by Tesla Distribuzione in 1998 and it is not in English. I am not 100% sure what language it is in (Italian?) but I can make out that you can pull 1 metal card or 2 rares. Interesting. The pack is something you don’t see every day so it really piqued my interests.
So I pulled a metal card and the cards in general are wicked cool. The game came out in the late 90’s which is basically when everyone was making CCGs aka TCGs and it really felt like a new one was coming out like every week. The CCGs business model was flaw though. In a nutshell, you really need a large passionate fanbase for the game to be fun (and profitable for the company) but CCGs can be a huge commitment, so many aren’t willing to make the commitment unless they are sure they can play with at least a core gaming group. Spending hundreds of dollars on a game that no one plays is no fun. So there is a bit of catch-22. I know companies tried everything back in the day like ambassador programs, tournaments etc but most are short lived. Everyone thought they can be the next Magic: The Gathering. This is unfortunate because there are lot of CCGs out there that are actually solid games but are largely forgotten nowadays.
Anyways, I was thinking it can be fun to try to find some of the more obscure CCGs and blog about it…