I haven’t played a customizable card game since elementary school. In those days, I was on a major Star Wars kick, so my aunt bought me the starter kit for the Star Wars CCG by Decipher. It was never as popular as Magic: The Gathering at the local gaming shop. The rules were extremely complex. They were so complex I read obsessively read the glossary on family outings. Unfortunately, I found nobody who shared my love of the game. My interest in CCGs faded. I stopped collecting Star Wars CCG cards. It wasn’t until last weekend, when my friend Yutaka introduced me to The Spoils TCG, that I played another CCG.
This is not to say that I haven’t tried to get back into playing CCGs! When we were living together, Saiaix attempted to convince to Yutaka and I to play the Legend of Five Rings CCG. I bought a Scorpion starter deck after reading the rules in one of the many spare decks my friend bought for the group. On the whole, I liked the narrative structure and emphasis on character and location, which reminded of the Star Wars CCG. I also liked that there was a multiplayer option, allowing Yutaka, Saiaix, and myself to play simultaneously. We never got to play before moving out of our rental house. Now my Scorpion deck remains unused like my other CCG cards.
I even attempted to rediscover Decipher’s Star Wars CCG online as a reaction to Saiaix’s renewed interest in Magic, which remains popular at the local gaming shop. There is a small online community of Star Wars CCG players, who, after Lucasfilm discontinued the line, started creating virtual cards. They updated and revised the rules, working out a few of the kinks in Decipher’s rules set. They even made a program that allows you to play against other players over the net, using the full library of available cards! I read through rules, but never got to play online. My Bounty Hunter deck remains untested.
In a story reminiscent to how I began playing Minecraft, Yutaka called me Sunday night, telling me he wanted to show me a new game. Since I don’t do much anything on weekends, I invited him over. When he arrived, he showed me his massive collection of The Spoils TCG cards. He found out about the game when he was googling “a series of tubes.” After reading through the rules, Yutaka mentioned that the two features of the game he liked the most were how it handled stack order, which allowed for any player to respond at any time with nearly any card, and the fact it lacked clearly defined turn phases. The game is, therefore exceedingly open-ended and easier to learn than most CCGs. Since I’m a bit of a tight wad, he also mentioned that it is much, much cheaper than Magic. On the whole, the rules are reminiscent to Magic, but far more streamlined.
The world of The Spoils is not meant for children! One thing that puts me off playing CCGs is the prospect of playing against elementary school children when I’m a college graduate in my mid-20’s. (It’s kind of embarrassing.) Luridia is well… lurid. It’s a corrupt, violent place where bureaucats eat babies, military commanders abuse their soldiers, and wizards summon Lovecraftian horrors. There are also l337-speaking, mecha-building 3lfs. It’s a world that you would get if you locked Keith Baker, Tim Burton, and Frank Miller in a room with lots of LSD for a night. The result is a hilariously dark world that no self-respecting parent would allow his or her child to play in.
Between the ease of play, the well priced cards, and hilarious game setting, I may have found a CCG I can play with my Gaming Group. Hopefully between the three of us, we’ll come up with interesting decks and strategies to actually warrant continued coverage of this game. I’m currently considering what kind of deck I want to build. So, dear readers, expect Literary Napkin to include CCGs to its gaming repertoire.
Best of all, it’s not Magic!
 This may explain my interest in D&D rules.
 The priority each played card has in the game. Stack order is essentially a list for how actions are played out.
 Turn phases are common in all the CCGs I’ve mentioned so far, except for The Spoils TCG.
 A Magic booster box costs $100 USD. A The Spoils booster box costs about $30-50 USD.