Tuesday, 14 April 2015

A Primer on Fan made Card Creation in CCGs.

Popular card games capture the imagination of their player base. In fact, many people prefer the creative element of making their own fan made cards to the actual playing of the game itself. Almost every major card game going has a rich subculture of card creators to go with it.

I've decided to identify a few (but not all) basic categories of fan card and the kind of fan card creator that makes them. After reading this you'll probably have a better grounding for making your own cards if this kind of thing is for you.

Even if creativity isn't your thing, understanding why particular fan creations are good or bad can help you deepen your understanding of the game that you are playing. Let's have a look at some common archetypes.

"Reality Gem" cards -- (based on IPs from other Universes)

This kind of creator is happy to use a familiar and robust rule set to express characters from other universes. I'm personally working on a set of Hearthstone cards featuring some of my friends. Here, the content and visual appeal of the cards is usually more important than actually playing with the card in a real game. That being said, many card creators of this type still strive to make their cards 'balanced' and fit in with the existing cards in the game. 


"Superfan Designer" cards (that are (mostly) well thought out cards that could possibly work!)
Some people, "really go for it", when they make their fan made cards. They find consistent reference artwork, develop all kinds of experimental mechanics and work hard to cost and balance their cards appropriately. Almost to the point where it's sad that these cards will never be playable in the digital CCGs and unlikely to see publication in the physical games. Taverns of Time is just the tip of the iceberg with regards to this kind of epic level card creation tomfoolery.

"Screw You" cards -- (cards which hardcounter a particular play style)

The example given here is actually one of the more reasonable variants on the theme of countering a popular play style in the current metagame by dreaming up cards which would thoroughly counter that particular deck archetype.

In Hearthstone, there is always a particular brand of aggressive deck that dominates in popularity and is often referred to as the 'cancer' deck (I disapprove of that name, personally) and one of those decks was the Mech Mage deck. Rather than finding a way to cope with the existence of such a play style, many players would rather see it eradicated completely.


"Ones that make it" (some fan cards actually make it into published games!)

Some publishers generate a lot of hype around getting fans to submit their own ideas for cards. In the case of Yu-Gi-Oh! they let children submit drawings of cards that they wanted to see and then got their pro artists to actually produce them. Additionally, Fantasy Flight allowed 2012 Netrunner champion Jeremy Zwirn to design a card to be put into a future expansion of cards.

(pictured) Actual Netrunner card designed by a skilled fan.

"Sonic the Hedgehog" cards 

Just... what.
I mean....
Every single trading card game...
Every single anything...
There's just weird Sonic the Hedgehog fans...

Why don't you try it yourself at home? Because you're more of a reader than a doer aren't you? Well here's some more CCG related stuff to read./watch.

Gaming Netiquette in Hearthstone

103% and Watchiit Play Hearthstone

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