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The RaNd0m Report

My Opinion on Major Card Games

11.04.02  Hey all! I havenít written in awhile, so I decided to write up an article. There will be no readerís response section this time, simply because itís been so long since I last wrote. There might not be one again eitherÖ unless I get lots of email again =).

Now most of you probably know my opinions on lots of games. I love to play Magic. I think itís actually becoming my favorite game to play. Yu-Gi-OhÖ well Iíve voiced my opinion on that quite a bit havenít I?

Anyway, hereís my basic rating system. I will rate each game by itís gameplay, tournament structure, and popularity. At the end of this article, Iíll give my final rankings.

The TCGís

DragonBallZ (The late-bloomer)

When DBZ first came out, it looked like a REALLY random game. In fact, very few people played itÖ and it looked like it would die. But something happened. It DIDNíT. In fact, it became a mainstay in TCG society.
Gameplay wise, itís kinda complicated. But the whole idea of energy levels, physical attacks, energy attacks, and other cards is great. I think that this is one of the better games gameplay wise, simply because itís ORIGINAL compared to the other games.
Tournament Structure I wouldíve said was weak about 6 months ago. But obviously Iíve been proven wrongÖ just a couple months ago, the DBZ World Championships gave away FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS to first place! Thatís better prize structure than even Pokemon! Great prizes. Sounds like a good structure to meÖ but the absence of qualifiers and the like lower my rating.
At first, it really wasnít that popular. But more and more, late bloomers have entered the card game! Back when Pokemon was at itís peak, there were few DBZ players in my area. But nowÖ when I go to magic tourneys, there are tons of them! Tons! Surprisingly, this game didnít start off with itís run, but seems to be finishing with it! X_X. Itís popularity rating is waaaaaay up from what it use to be.
Oh, and I better talk about the show, right? Man, it is AWESOME! Iím being serious here. Staring down for 20 minutes is like, the best!  And 5 minutes in DBZ time take 7 episodesÖ lol. Actually, I think itís a great anime.

Gameplay Rating: 7.5/10
Tournament Structure: 4/10
Popularity: 6/10

Yu-Gi-Oh (The current fad)

Iíll admit Iím surprised at how popular it HAS gotten. I didnít honestly expect it. It just seemed to be Ö a fad. Well, whether or not it remains popular, which I seriously doubt, I have to at least give it credit for the run it HAS made.
Ok. I really donít like the gameplay, and thatís the main reason I have not gotten into it. It doesnít seem like they put a whole lot of time into thinking the mechanics. Already there is like one deck you can play, and playing a different deck almost guarantees losses. Did that happen with Pokemon too? Yeah, it did. So maybe Yugi has hope after all.
Tournament StructureÖ WHAT tournament structure? Yeah, I guess it is too early here too. But the sanctioning system is at least a plus. So maybe if Yu-Gi-Oh gets a tournament system (major tournaments, qualifiers, etc.) it can be successful? I donít know. But it does have potential.
Popularity is through the roof. In fact, I rate it second only being beat by Magic. Iíll explainÖ but truthfully, the big issue that turns me off about the game is this: They claim itís for a more mature audience than Pokemon. Now remember, I am an avid Pokemon player. Iím almost 15 years old. I see Yu-Gi-Oh players that are mostly (although there are exceptions) UNDER 13. How can they say Pokemon is less mature? LOL, I get emails from kids that are like, 9, telling me itís for more mature people. I just donít get it. =\
Hmm. The show is really weirdÖ but itís not horrible either. But the idea of playing a card game to save the worldÖ is REALLY weird.

Gameplay Rating: 3/10 (Harsh, I know, but remember: Itís just my opinion)
Tournament Structure: 3.5/10
Popularity: 8.5/10

Pokemon (The dying game)

Yeah guys, it is indeed dying. At least, it seems. Then again, it has been dying for like, 2 years now hasnít it? WellÖ there is more reason now to justify this.
What are you guys doing during the off-season? Playtesting MMF? I havenít seen a whole lot of it. Playing in your league? Thatís cool. Prepping for tournaments? (Uh, RaNd0m, WHAT tournaments?) OhhhhhhÖ I see. There arenít any. Yeah, thatís the problem. Wanna know what Iíve been doing while Iíve been slightly idle from Pokemon? Playing Magic. Prepping for the JSSÖ getting ready for the Chicago PT Qualifier coming up.
We now know that the GCís and SCís will not start until next year. Wanna know what that means? TONS of you 14 year olds are disappointed. Youíll turn 15, and odds are if you arenít rich, you wonít be playing in any major tourneys anymore. Itís a shame, really.
The gameplay is excellent. In fact, it has one of the best, if not THE best, gameplay mechanics in the TCG world. Hey, you think a TCG becomes really popular if the game is dumb? I think NOT.
The tournament structure is very good, although really bad for the 15+ crowd. However, compared to other games, it isnít bad. I could go into another speech about how the 15+ deserves more, etc., but I think you guys know my opinion already on that. Itís frustrating. =\
Ok, in the TCG world, this is one of the more popular games. MOST of the non-Magic: The Gathering players have at one time played Pokemon. Itís true. In fact, Pokemon was single-handedly responsible for bringing TONS into the TCG World. So itís popularity has decreased like wildfire in the past two years, but it still gets a high rating simply because of what it has done for the TCG world.

Gameplay Rating: 9/10 (It wouldíve gotten 10, but flips sorta made the game a bit chancy. JUST a bit =)
Tournament Structure: 7.5/10
Popularity: 7/10

Magic: The Gathering (The best game. Period.)

Yeah guys, you should try this game. The more and more I play it, the more and more Iíve come to love it. The mechanics are great, and the fact that it IS newbie friendly makes it THE BEST game in the TCG world.
If youíve played it, you know why the mechanics are great. No flips, just skill. Deckmaking skill. Sure, there is luck of the draw, but thatís in every card game. The game is one of the best to play casually. And it is THE best to play competitively.
LOOK at the tournament structure. Itís insane! They have like, 6 or 7 chains of tournaments running in a certain year! Chains of MAJOR tournaments! And the prizes, oh my goodness, 30,000 dollars? Insane! Simply insane! And the agesÖ? There are tournaments for all ages. ALL ages. You could be 13Ö and you can play competitively. Thatís what the JSS is for. Heck, you could even try for Pro Tour. =) AND you can be 16, 17, whatever, and have a hell of a lot of fun.
Popularity wise, I think this hits the bud. Many will disagree, but Magic DOES sell the most. And I think it is the most popular TCG ever. And it will always BE the most popular TCG ever.

Gameplay Rating: 10/10
Tournament Structure: 10/10
Popularity: 10/10

(Is that possible? I just ratedÖ MagicÖ 10/10Ö on everything! And Iím not kidding you either. If you havenít played this game, you ought to check it out.)

Sailor Moon (What ever happened?)

I tried this game once. My sister loves it. And there still are a lot of people who like(d) it. AnywaysÖ the game has ultimately died. No longer played.
Gameplay, it was interesting. I think it was moderately good. There were some flaws, but overall it wasnít bad.
Tournament StructureÖ lol. Um, Sailor Moon never really escaped itís Casual nature. In fact, Ölol. Iíve never heard of a Sailor Moon Tournament. =)
Popularity never hit an extreme. But it was a pretty solid game at a time.

Gameplay: 4.5/10
Tournament Structure: 1/10
Popularity: 4.5/10

Lord of the Rings: (The next big game?)

Yeah, this oneís becoming popular, slowly but surely. I predict this to be the next huge game to rival big bad WotC. Yu-Gi-Oh will be short-lived, and this game will rise to the tops.
Why? Well simple. It can be played by anyone. The only other game that even shows this kind of ability is Magic. Adults who enjoy Tolkien will enjoy this. KIDS will enjoy this. TEENS will enjoy this. Everyoneís satisfied. And they donít have a big bad TPC to give them problems either. =)
Gameplay seems to be very interesting. I havenít actually played a whole lot yet, but I think itís very good gameplay, at least at a basic level.
Tournament Structure actually exists for it. Decipher, the company who makes LotR, actually has a few world tournaments. Once it improves to a local level tournament system, itíll soar.
Popularity is on the rise. This will be high simply because it is a great series. The books are great (if you can get around the detail -_-) and the movie was definitely cool. Look for more on LotR.

Gameplay: 7/10
Tournament Structure: 6.5/10
Popularity: 7/10

Harry Potter (The disappointment)

Truthfully, I expected a bit more out of the game. The game did NOT satisfy the hype at all. In my opinion, it wasnít made too well.
Gameplay seems alright. But the discarding off the deck idea didnít really work for many of the people who wanted to play this game. It isnít as satisfying to whisk away someones deckÖ you wanna beat them up =D
Tournament structure has yet to show up in a big way. I think there was some HP stuff at Gen-Con though.
Popularity was HUGE at firstÖ then died down. Again, I think it was disappointing to many.

Gameplay: 5/10
Tournament Structure: 4/10
Popularity: 6.5/10

RaNd0mís Final Ratings On the Major TCGís

Top TCG Overall
1.) Magic: The Gathering
2.) Pokemon
3.) Yu-Gi-Oh
4.) Lord of the Rings
5.) Harry Potter
6.) DBZ
7.) Sailor Moon
(MLB Showdown would probably go at 7, and SM at 8, but I didnít research it, so I didnít review it.)

Top Gameplay Overall
1.) Magic: The Gathering
2.) Pokemon
3.) DBZ
4.) Lord of the Rings
5.) Harry Potter
6.) Sailor Moon
7.) Yu-Gi-Oh (Ouch)

Top Tournament Structure Overall
1.) Magic: The Gathering
2.) Pokemon
3.) Lord of the Rings
4.) DBZ
5.) Yu-Gi-Oh
6.) Harry Potter
7.) Sailor Moon

Top Popularity Overall
1.) Magic: The Gathering
2.) Yu-Gi-Oh
3.) Pokemon
4.) DBZ
5.) Lord of the Rings
6.) Harry Potter
7.) Sailor Moon

Those are the major card games. These were just my opinions. I mightíve missed one or two of your favorites, and if I did, Iím sorry >_<. In fact, I can already think of a few I did miss.
The TCG world is a huge place. HUGE. There are tons of options for a card game lover to choose. So pick what best suits you. Donít pick one just because everyone else is, but pick a game that you like because your friends can do it with you, or because you simply LOVE it.
There are many of us who simply fell in love with Pokemon. And we hate to see it die. That is why the 15+ revolts happen. That is why we ďbickerĒ and ďwhineĒ. Not only because we want equality with the 14-, but because we donít want to see the game die. Which it will at this rate.
And donít forget, we are consumers. WotC probably knows that. We donít have to stay because we have a loyalty to the gameÖ and the reason most of us are left is because of that loyalty. But we donít HAVE to buy packs. We donít HAVE to do any of that. Just like they donít HAVE to give us trips, gameplay, etc. So weíll see. But Iím really worried that the game only has a few months left before itís gone. And thatíd be a huge shame. Because Pokemon is one of the best games. Ever.
By the way, I am in no way encouraging a boycott against Wizards. Thatís not what Iím saying. This has nothing to do with companies at all. Wizards IS a great company. Theyíve revolutionized the TCG world. I just wish they would give Pokemon a bit more respect as a MAJOR card game than they are giving it.
Anyway, Iím playing Magic.  If I was boycotting Wizards, itíd be counterproductive to play their other game.

~ RaNd0m
Pojo Featured Writer

AIM: JonSchweppe is here to provide guidance to all Pokemon trainers out there.  Whether it's the Gameboy Game, N64 or the Trading Card Game, provides all the wisdom you desire. 

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