I’m Chaz Marler from Pair Of Dice Paradise, and I, like so many others, have a cautionary tale to share, about the dangers of succumbing to the lures of the collectible card game, or CCG. It was the mid-90’s, that decade that began six years after Hot Pockets were invented, but ended six years before Jim Gaffigan would publicly ridicule them on a stage in Chicago. It was during this strange collection of years that I fell victim to the siren song of the CGG. And, like so many others, mine was Magic: The Gathering.
At our peak, my friends and I got together to play Magic twice a week. And this was while I was still just a broke college student. But don’t worry. No, I didn’t blow my student loans on Magic cards (LAUGHING INCREDULOUSLY)... I blew it on a computer.
That’s not to say that none of my collegiate funding didn’t find its way into the pockets of Wizards Of The Coast. (TAKING CARDS OUT OF BOXES AND PUTTING THEM ON THE TABLE.) On the contrary, I was engulfed. From Fallen Empires through Ravnica, the result was… well, a lot of cumulative upkeep.
Eventually, my student loan payments and I decided that it was time to move on, and that I would invest in the CCG no longer. It was actually liberating, what with no longer chasing rares and habitually cracking packs. (OPENS A MAGIC PACK, INHALES DEEPLY.) What? I’m not made of stone, you know.
Ever since rebounding from my “Magic: The Accumulating” phase, surprisingly, my collectable card craving has sat silent, satiated. And, as the years continue to churn by, I’ve wondered if the bug has worked its way through other people’s systems too. Is the collectible card game market as we once knew it, dead?
Now, I know that Magic: The Gathering itself isn’t dead. It’s THE product that keeps many game shops afloat. I’m referring to the CCG formula in general. For example, Wikipedia lists twenty-one collectible card games that were released in 2006 and twenty-one more in 2008. But in 2013? Just five.
So, does the collectible card game still have traction in the marketplace? Or, is it a concept that, even if it appears to still be hot on the surface, is it just a shell masking a cold and lifeless interior… like a collectible cardboard Hot Pocket?