The TCG/CCG as a game model is largely defunct in modern gaming with the exception of a few large, omnipresent titles like Magic, Yu-Gi-Oh, and Pokemon. It’s basically designer-suicide to attempt introducing a new collectible card game to the market, though that doesn’t stop enthusiastic, albeit misled parties from attempting each month on Kickstarter. Part of the reason people keep trying, I think, is because the genre incorporates so many exciting aspects: the rush of opening packs of cards and the chance of finding something rare, the mental exercise of pouring over a collection for hours constructing card synergies and strategies for the perfect deck, the social interaction of trading, collecting, and competing, and the satisfaction of seeing your hard-earned deck emerge victorious.
The problem, however, is that Collectible Card Games can take a whole lot of time, and a whole lot of money. Although I loved the aforementioned elements when I collected Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon, the fact is that I don’t have the time now to dedicate to collecting, and there are many other pulls on my wallet that really preclude me diving heavily into a TCG again. The concept of the TCG is one I’m still quite fond of though, and each time I watch Yu-Gi-Oh it makes me wish there were some way for me to live out all those experiences again without the other commitments.
Well, imagine my elation when I started hearing about Millennium Blades (on Kickstarter now), a deck-building game that simulates the full experience of collecting, building, socializing, and playing a Collectible Card Game. Published by Level 99 Games, who you may know for their excellent squad-based card game Pixel Tactics, Millennium Blades starts players off on pre-release night with a starter deck of a fictional collectible card game by the same name, and challenges them to develop their collections through opening new packs, selling, and trading in order to compete for the World Championship.
You’ll find all the tropes of TCG/CCG collecting, and it’s pretty amazing that designer D. Brad Talton, JR. appears to have successfully emulated the various processes and experiences of collecting a card game, right down to the excitement of stumbling across ultra rare or promotional cards. From turn-to-turn players develop their collections and decks, and fuse cards to build their strength for the tournament phase, which then pits the players against each other in points-driven rank contests to see who can acquire the Victory Points for that competition. Finishing collections, making money, and earning friendship points for helping other players are also legitimate paths to victory, meaning Millennium Blades should accommodate many different playstyles and allow each person to pursue what they enjoy most in the TCG experience.
The designer Brad, and JR Honeycutt from Level 99 Games were kind enough to answer some questions for me about the game:
What was the initial impetus behind the idea for making a game about playing another game?
How long after that initial “this could be cool” moment did you wait to actually conceptualize the first iteration of the game?
What elements of the TCG play and collecting experience did you think were important to try and simulate in Millennium Blades?
Were there any of those elements that got cut from the game as it’s now presented on Kickstarter? If so, what were they and why were they cut?
Some of the stretch goals add in some additional game features or mechanisms, like the cooperative mode or the Event Venues. Other Level 99 Games have a great deal of room for content expansion- do you see Millennium Blades having that same sort of potential, and do you have any ideas you could share about future mechanisms you might like to experiment with adding?
I love the art for the game, and multiple characters remind me existing characters from various shows like Yu-Gi-Oh. Are there any characters from other TCGs or shows you particularly wanted to pay homage to or give unofficial cameos as you thought through the design?
Games from Level 99 Games usually include some cool cameos from friends in the industry, be they characters or actual people. Millennium Blades has a few of these, and Pixel Tactics Deluxe was chalk-full of them. Are these usually from people reaching out to Level 99 Games, or do you contact people asking to use their likeness or creations?
Are there any people or characters in particular who aren’t currently in Millennium Blades you think would make for especially cool sponsor cards?
Like previous Level 99 Games Kickstarter campaigns, Millennium Blades has a whole lot of base content to offer, and a lot of additional content being added through stretch goals. The base game is no slouch with over 500 cards included, and to add to that there are sponsored promotional card sets and new expansion cards getting unlocked on a daily basis thanks to funding goals, and social media stretch goals. A new cooperative game mode was even added, as were event venues and Millennium Accessories which add new mechanics to the game. Backers recently also unlocked the game’s first full expansion as an add-on which includes well over 120 new cards at this point in addition to new playable characters. At this point there are still a few days left in the campaign and it’s going strong, so I think current and future backers still have the chance to unlock even more content to add value to everyone’s investment.
You can bet this is one I’m backing, so look for our full review of the game after release! In the meantime, click the link below to learn more and support the game, or even get yourself included as a card! I’m even tempted myself to sponsor a COG Steampunk character 😉 VISIT THEIR KICKSTARTER TODAY!