Why Game Card and Collectible Card Games Are More Than Just a Hobby

Card games like Pokemon or Magic have more than entertainment value. They also offer hidden educational benefits.

Card gaming can be very complex. The community has its vernacular and jargon that can be difficult for outsiders to understand.

Cards are generally produced in different levels of scarcity, which players refer to as commons, uncommon, and rares. The cards are then grouped into sets. This is part of what makes it attractive to players. It can be great fun to discover new cards and to find a rare. 

It’s Fun

Card game sleeves protect cards while you find a great way to spend time with friends. Playing promotes social-emotional learning and concrete educational outcomes in students.

Many trading card games have a theme, genre, or source material influencing the cards and their gameplay functions. The artwork and names of the cards generally represent these elements, with some supplemental text explaining the card’s game function. For example, a dragon card may have its illustration and stats or a particular keyword that refers to the creature’s ability in the game.

Interest in these games grew exponentially during the COVID-19 pandemic, attracting speculators who buy and sell rare cards for a profit. This creates a second market for these types of games.

It’s Social

Game card and collectible card games have a social aspect that can be found at the level of gameplay but also at the more significant community interaction level, such as forums and online chat rooms. Many players enjoy seeing like-minded friends meet and build a trading card collection together.

Each card in a game may represent some specific element derived from the game’s genre, setting, or source material. This is often illustrated and labeled on the cards along with a keyword that describes the card’s function in the game, such as “flying.”

Some collectors specialize in specific creators of games or even brand-name playing cards. Other special interests include comics, animals, cars, railroads, geography, history, wars, pinups, royalty, and music.

It’s educational

Card games are usually separated into their category in the hobby games market. They can range from card games with all the cards you need to play in the box to those requiring players to build their deck as they play.

Often, these card games are educational at their core. For example, some card games include educational content in the form of “flavor text” (the little bit of written information on the back of the card that provides a narrative context) or illustrations of important historical figures.

In addition, CCGs often become digital, which increases their accessibility and potentially allows them to reach a much broader audience. These games’ motivational and powerful aspects make them ideal school learning tools.

It’s a Hobby

Whether it’s trading cards or card games that come with all the cards in the box, the price of a card is driven by supply and demand if there are many more card collectors than those interested in buying them, the card’s value will increase.

Collectors will take great care of their cards and protect them from damage or wear and tear. They’ll also invest time and effort into learning the rules of a game and its history.

Some manufacturers went one step further and actively helped the war effort by hiding maps and money in the various games they manufactured and sending them through the Red Cross to prisoners of war. This was known as cross-merchandising. Card backs were often decorated with elaborate patterns to hide marks from grubby hands.

It’s a Relaxation Activity

The fast-paced nature of video and board games can tax young minds. Playing a card game allows players to slow down, focus and enjoy a more laid-back activity.

The artistry of card games also sets them apart from other game genres. Most cards feature illustrations or images and sometimes include flavor text that ties the card to its setting or subject matter.

Non-collectible card games are easy to carry and fit into a pocket, purse, or handbag. This makes them ideal for children and adults on the go, especially when a quick game of cards is needed to break the ice at a gathering or meeting. Card games also help to ease communication and promote a healthy sense of competition and fun.

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Barb Webb. Founder and Editor of Rural Mom, is an the author of "Getting Laid" and "Getting Baked". A sustainable living expert nesting in Appalachian Kentucky, when she’s not chasing chickens around the farm or engaging in mock Jedi battles, she’s making tea and writing about country living and artisan culture.
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