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February 2004 | Vol. III - No. 2
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Tapping the Deck: The Future of Trading Cards


The fervor that surrounds Japanese style trading cards is not a recent phenomenon. The popularity of animation has thrived for decades through movies, games and other media. Anime fans were simply waiting on a card release that would live up to their expectations for popular cartoons such as Dragonball Z and Yu-Gi-Oh!

The trading card craze isn´t just limited to Japanese cartoons. Their recent success in the North American market has led to the production of card games based on several well-known movies, including Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings. Magic: The Gathering is also seeing resurgence through upcoming expansion sets.

Infogrames, the creators of the Dragon Ball Z CCG series, released their newest booster set, Kid Buu, in November. The deck features a number of new cards, including Red Hunger Drill and Black Swerve, both of which are sure to add depth to the arsenal of cards in any player´s deck.

Yu-Gi-Oh!, currently the most popular trading card game on the market (both Topps and Upper Deck produce variations of the game), is scheduled for a face-lift. Konami Corporation and Upper Deck have decided to retire five of the eight original sets in order to keep the game collectible. The September release of Yu-Gi-Oh! collectible tins marked the last chance for collectors to find cards from any of the five booster sets, which include Pharaoh’s Servant, Labyrinth of Nightmare, Metal Raiders, Legend of Blue-Eyes White Dragon, and Magic Ruler.

With the recently released and upcoming prequels to the original Star Wars trilogy, Wizards of the Coast (ToyDirectory) has created a game that is based on the epic battle between the Rebels and the Empire. The newest expansion set is The Empire Strikes Back, which increases the total number of expansion sets to five. The 210-card set also introduces new card types, including both Armor and Enhance cards.

Several other major motion pictures have been captured as card games for exciting battles between good and evil. Both JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings trilogy have found their way into the battle arena. The Lord of the Rings’ most recent release, Return of the King, was scheduled to coincide with the December 17 opening of the movie, with Decipher, the game´s production company, announcing plans for the release of new sets and boosters over the next three years. The Return of the King set includes a total of 365 cards, including 121 commons and uncommons, as well as 121 rare cards and two premium cards. The game will also be mirrored in a parallel foil set.

Magic: The Gathering has been one of the most popular trading card games in the relatively short history of non-sports trading cards, and it is still going strong with the late November release of the new set, Mirrodin. The set consists of 306 black-bordered cards, and it introduces a new card type—Equipment Cards—featuring the introduction of new characters and a new setting.




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