CCG Design Resources

Greetings Methuselahs,

I’ve been thinking about CCG design recently.  It’s incredible to me just how many games have been released in the genre, and while it’s an undeniable fact that many of them are terrible games that were made simply to join in the cash grab that followed in the wake of Magic, there can also been good design elements in an otherwise terrible game.  I’m blessed to have ICL in my local playgroup who has played a huge number of different CCGs, and can readily describe the merits and pitfalls of each.  Anyway, I recently decided to take a look at what actual designers were saying about CCGs.  Below is a list of resources that I’ve found that discuss the topic in general.  Next week I’ll talk a little about what thoughts these resources have provoked in me about VTES, for for the time being I’ll just post these here for your enjoyment.

Ludology: CCGs and DBGs – a podcast episodes featuring guest star Mike Elliott (designer of Quarriors and Thunderstone, who has done design work for Magic and other card games).

Ludology: the ABC’s of CCG’s – a podcast episode featuring guest star Mike Fitzgerald (designer of Wyvern, the Mystery Rummy series, and Hooyah, who has also done significant design work for Magic, Pokemon, and other games).

Hearthstone: 10 Bits of Design Wisdom – a lecture given at the GDC conference on some of the things that the Hearthstone team learned while they were designing the game, and goals they had for their game.

Remaking Magic – this is an awesome podcast series on game design through the lens of Magic: the Gathering.  If you aren’t familiar with Magic, you might have a hard time following it, but it has some excellent insight on game design in general, and the lessons they talk about apply to games beyond Magic.  I’m just discovering all the wonderful topics they’ve covered, and you can bet that some of those topics will be featured in future posts on this blog!

Rarity and Power: Balance in Collectible Object Games – an article by Ethan Ham from his experience designing an online CCG called Sanctum. is run by the designers of games like Puzzle Strike, Codex, and many others.  They’ve written a number of excellent articles on the topic of CCG design, including:

Eric Lang (designer of several LCGs) put out a series of tweets on game design.  They have been collected into this article.

A very interesting article on the drawbacks of Rock-Paper-Scissors design.

An article from Richard Garfield about designing VTES along with excellent commentary from the Stockholm Jyhad blog.

Boardgamegeek has collected a fantastic list of online resources for making cards and card games.

Edit: Here are a few other resources that I recently came across:


Do you know of any other good resources on designing CCGs or other card games?  Post them below – I’d love to listen/read whatever you find.  Until next time, may your bleeds never be bounced, and all your votes pass!



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