Card Games: The Big Three Part One

Playing cards are, traditionally, four suits (Spade, Heart, Diamond, Club) ranging from two to ten with four face cards, plus two jokers per deck. These decks are used from Go Fish to High Stakes Poker… And they are boring as sin, so lets talk about something WAY more fun, colorful, and expensive: Collectible Card Games! This is a triple part exploration of three of the best selling card games on the market, and I took it upon myself to play all of them. Yes, all of them! Let’s begin!

Now, as some one who is grouped into the Millennials/Gen Y/Whatever, I’ve more or less grown up with these games hovering in the background of my existence since I began grade school. I still vividly recall conversations about the elusive Holographic 1st Edition Charizard, and how only the chosen one who would lead our people to Valhalla could own it. Perhaps that’s a slight exaggeration, but only barely I assure you. Now, we’re going to start with a game that I still don’t completely understand. Yu-Gi-Oh. It’s Japanese, it’s odd, and I completely missed the boat on getting into it.

Yu-Gi-Oh would begin as a Japanese comic (Manga) in 1996. You can tell, because every one in the series has giant hair and looks like they got dressed in the dark. In 1999 Konami would create a tie-in card game, which would be released stateside by a Upper Deck Cards around 2002. I was twelve in this point of my life and “so over” any thing that wasn’t “mature.” So, yes, I was a little snot like every boy that age is, and I didn’t understand Yu-Gi-Oh nor did I really care to. However, I seem to be in the minority as several friends (ranging from 21 to 25) seem to remember this game with great love and gusto. So, recently, I purchased a deck, and gave it a shot.

And I can safely say? I still don’t get it.


I'll admit he's handsome for a fictional wizard on cardboard, though.

Postmodernism? Sure. This? Completely alien to me.

The card game, to my knowledge, is supposed to have a pseudo-Egyptian theme. Or at the very least, that’s what I assumed, but as I played I found the following:
-Pits to hell
-And lots of attractive young men and women in various stages of not wearing clothes

I was confused to say the least. As I was informed, this disoriented feeling is completely normal. I also was informed that in 2009, Yu-Gi-Oh was declared the best selling card game of all time.

Allow me to reiterate the obvious: I am in the minority here.

Mechanically the game is… Okay. I find it a bit of a mess, but it’s an understandable, easy to comprehend mess. Each player starts out with 8000 HP (Hit Points) and take turns playing Spells, Traps (spells that need to be activated) and Monsters. The game only allows five monsters on the field, and in order to summon bigger monsters you have to sacrifice some of the smaller monsters already in play. Each player summons monsters, attacks, and uses their spell and trap cards to knock the other person down to 0 HP, or remove all cards from their deck. Whoever isn’t dead, wins.

It’s very graspable, but I still found myself more confused as to the why of the game. Because for the life of me, I couldn’t understand why I somehow had a Dark Magician and three Robots of various colors coexisting while opening up a black hole and bringing out a tube that would reflect every thing back to my opponent. Thematically, I find it incomprehensible. This, along with a few other gripes (the fact that some of the numbers could be easily rounded, or that that cards are smaller than your standard playing card) are really my only critiques that can’t be brushed off as me just being a bit too old for it.

Over all, it’s a fine game! Just one that I find silly.

Now, before any one accuses me of being unfair: I should note that I was, and continue to be an unironic fan of the show Digimon, so please take my complaints with a healthy serving of salt and the understanding that this is a game meant for children and I am a 23 year old man who just doesn’t get it.

This episode ended up with them chanting at the monsters to death.

Yes, those are two oddly dressed children tied up on an altar with ghosts seasoning them. I somehow found this less silly than Yu-Gi-Oh.

I clearly have no room to talk.

Next up, we’ll talk about the ever-present and much beloved Magic the Gathering. Stay tuned!


2 thoughts on “Card Games: The Big Three Part One

  1. I also missed the boat on this card game. But probably because at 12, I thought it was a dumb “boy game.” I remember trying to play games like this with friends at parties, (I don’t remember if it was Yu Gi Oh specifically) with tons of steps, weird rules, and confusing exceptions to rules. To this day, I still prefer simpler card games like Apples to Apples. Even Uno gives me a headache!

  2. I enjoyed how you walked into the collective card games from traditional playing cards. Your posts have a nice element of humor to them and growing up with these games lurking around make it stand out even more probably. It was very humble that you discussed your disorientation while playing the game. Very well written and smooth too. This makes the review and critiques seem even more valid.

    You say that you’re confused as to the “why” of the game. Maybe there’s something in the Manga or TV. Show that clarifies the why. Assuming there actually is a legit one. Or perhaps it’s just something only a child can get, something we lose in age. But that’s pretty sad, so let’s hope not!

    Excited to read the next installment of card games – especially the Pokémon review! The cards were cool when I was a kid, but still to this day, if given the chance, I would pick up and play the Gameboy Pokémon games without hesitating. And Digimon was pretty awesome too!

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