Living Card Games

I’ve been playing a lot of Netrunner and Marvel Champions recently so I thought I’d share my collection of Living Card Games with you and talk about why I think they are so great.

First off, what is a Living Card Game?

A Living Card Game (LCG) is a type of expandable card game, meaning new content is regularly added over time.

LCGs stand apart from Collectible Card Games / Trading Card Games (CCGs / TCGs) in the way that new content is delivered.

When you buy a booster pack for a game like Magic: The Gathering, or Pokémon the cards are randomised – you’re not sure what will be in each pack, and there is a chance of finding rare cards. In LCGs the content in each pack is fixed: everyone who buys the same pack will get the same cards.

Therefore, it is a model that eliminates the randomness of CCGs / TCG’s.

‘Living Card Game’ is a registered trademark of Fantasy Flight Games, meaning that while some other games might use a similar release model, they can’t call it a ‘Living Card Game’.

Why are they so cool?

For me, it’s the way that the constant adding of content expands the possibilities of the game.

With Marvel Champions, for example, each new hero pack adds new cards that can be used with any hero, so it might give you a new ally you can use, a new ability, etc. A new villain might include a modular encounter set that when mixed with a different villain produces a completely unique scenario. Each new release expands the possibilities exponentially until you have a massive variety of content. You can dive in really deep if you want to, and I love that.

What LCGs do I have?

MARVEL CHAMPIONS. A cooperative game that sees superheroes taking on villains. Super thematic and easy to pick up and play. I’ve played 250+ times and still love it. You can read my review of Marvel Champions here.

THE LORD OF THE RINGS – THE CARD GAME. I bounced off this one originally but dived in further and discovered an appreciation for it. Building your deck is key. Tons of content and I’ve barely scratched the surface.

ARKHAM HORROR THE CARD GAME. You want theme and immersion? Oh my goodness. It doesn’t get much better than this. A cooperative game that sees you tackling Cthulhu related mysteries. So good. It’s recently seen a change to its release model: each narrative ‘cycle’ is no longer released piecemeal across several ‘Mythos packs’, but rather is now released as a pair of big box expansions: one containing the campaign’s scenarios, and another containing new investigators and cards for improving your investigator’s deck). The game is much improved because of it, I think.

GAME OF THRONES. I’ve not played this one in a while but it’s a good competitive game. Enjoyable, but my least favourite of my collection.

ANDROID NETRUNNER. Sadly discontinued, now kept alive by a non-profit fan collective, for my money it’s the best designed two player tabletop game ever made.

I love Living Card Games: there’s something about their design which just clicks with my brain and excites it in a way that other games don’t. Since my first plays of Arkham Horror The Card Game I’ve been hooked and I don’t see that ever changing.

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