Trading card games (TCGs) are collectables that combine traditional card games with strategy. Players begin with a starter pack and build their set through playing with opponents. Booster packs, which allow the player to strengthen their deck, can also be used.
winners receive a prize pool of $500,000 as well as the title of World Champion.
This started with Magic: The Gathering in 1993. Created by Richard Channing Garfield, the game has players take on the role of wizard or ‘planeswalker’, summoning creatures and casting spells to lower opponents health, the first person to reach zero loses the game.
After its release at the Origins Game Fair in Texas, Magic: The Gathering proved to be an immense success as its stock had completely sold out. Despite the popularity of video games and electronic gadgets, Magic had left its mark on gaming history.
Magic inspired new types of games…It spawned tournaments and other competitions, and even full-fledged professional tours.
Among those influenced by Magic were Yu-Gi-Oh! and Pokémon, both extremely well-known examples of TCGs. Since being released in the 90s, each has sold 22 billion and 27.2 billion units worldwide, respectively. Both are catered to players of all ages and have their loyal fanbases.
Pokémon, in particular, spurred a cultural phenomenon. Having already established its fandom in Japan with the Game Boy’s Red and Blue (1996), Nintendo decided to bring the series to the West through marketing other merchandise and tie-ins: an animated series, toys and of course, trading card games.
[T]he Pokemon Trading Card Game is the first and oldest trading card game in Japan. Each card has its own effects, meaning players can enjoy building a deck of their choosing, then using that deck in a strategic battle against their opponent.
This YouTube video posted by TheJWittz explains the rules of the Pokemon Trading Card Game for beginners.
The competitive nature of Trading Card Games has become international. The largest trading card tournament to date was the 100th Yu-Gi-Oh! Championship Series in 2012 with 4,364 entrants, earning the event a world record.
Pokémon’s first World Championship in 2002 was run by Wizards of the Coast (who distributed Pokémon TCGs from 1998 to 2003) and held in Seattle.
Since then, the event happens every August, excluding 2003, due to Wizards of the Coast transferring their license to Nintendo.
Trainers (divided into three age divisions – Junior, Senior and Master) are invited to contend for the share of a large cash prize, where they can use their strategies to try and pull off effective attacks under a time limit. Whoever wins two games out of three is the match-winner.
There has been plenty of excitement surrounding the 2019 Pokémon World Trading Card Championship at Washington D.C. Featuring the strongest competitors from around the world, winners receive a prize pool of $500,000 as well as the title of World Champion.
The event was invite-only, but fans from across the globe were able to watch the nail-biting game through online streaming platforms, such as Twitch.
— Alice Anderson (@AliceAnders0n) August 16, 2019
The 2019 Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship also took place this month in Berlin. This game promised the title of “King of Games”, determining the “No.1 Duellist” in three categories: The TCG Main Event, TCG Dragon Duel and Duel Links.
The winner receives a very rare trading card worth thousands of dollars that is also illegal to use in official tournaments. This year’s champion of the Main Event was Japan’s Kouki Kosaka.
— Yu-Gi-Oh! TRADING CARD GAME (KONAMI Europe) (@YuGiOhTCGEU) August 11, 2019
Here are a few examples of some public trading card game tournaments occurring around the UK in the not-so-distant future:
Bexleyheath Trading Card Games – 23 Aug 2019
This event will be held at Bexleyheath & District Scout Centre at 6.30pm.
Trading games include CardFight!! Vanguard, Pokémon League and Yu-Gi-Oh!
The club promises a friendly environment, offering help to new/younger players so they can become more confident in playing at main tournaments.
Entry fee is £3 per person, with a price reduction for two or more members of the same family.
For further information click here.
Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship 2019 Celebration Event – 25 Aug 2019
Hosted by Lost Ark Games at Stevenage Centre, doors open at 10 am and the first tournament begins at 11.30.
While duellists from across the world have recently competed in the World Championship in Berlin, local fans can join together to take part in the Yu-Gi-Oh! trading game from mid to late August.
This particular event’s 1st place prizes include a WCE 2109 Play Mat and Konami Sealed Card envelope. Entry fee is £5 per player.
Check out the Lost Ark Games Facebook page for more details:
Pokemon TCG Tournaments – 1 Sep 2019
Starting from 6 pm at R-CADE Glasgow (entrants must sign up before 6.30pm), this unofficial Pokémon event consists of competitors taking part in three time-limited matches against one another. Upon completion of three matches, there is a final battle between two players for the winning spot.
Visit this page to learn more: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/pokemon-tcg-tournaments-tickets-69042841999
The Brotherhood Games TCG Tournaments – 8 Sep 2019
Known as one of London’s leading Trading Card Clubs, The Brotherhood Games takes place in SilverLock TRA Hall. The club runs tournaments every Sunday, from 12 pm to 6 pm.
Each week has over 30 players coming together to play games such as Dragonball Super, Yu-Gi-Oh! and Pokémon. Gamers have the option of playing non-competitively with friends and/or taking part in exclusive events.
They also buy and sell packs of cards, sleeves, decks and mats.
Entry fee is £5/6, depending on the game.
Have a look at their Meetup page if you’d like to register your interest.
Remember if you can’t make any of the events this, there will be next year! That’s right, the trading card championships return each year with more and more excitement and surprises.
Hey! I’m Sophie, a Crime and Games Writer for iTHINK. I graduated wth a degree in English Literature and Film and Screen Studies. I love to read, play video games and watch “so bad they’re good” films.
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