By: Jason Jarusinsky, CCG Editor

You may be looking at the title of this column and asking yourself, “What on Earth is a CCG?” We get that question a lot here at Engaged Family Gaming. These games can be a money pit for kids and parents who don’t now how they work. So, we decided to put a regular column in place. 

I will be taking some time to break down the basics, and make the process of getting started much less daunting. 

A collectible card game, or “CCG,” is a game that consists of building a deck of specialized playing cards. These cards are “collected” by purchasing pre-made “starter decks” and blind “booster packs.” The decks will usually include a predetermined number of cards that will vary depending on the specific game. The win condition will vary from game to game, but the goal is usually to deplete your opponent’s life total. For example, in Magic: the Gathering each player begins play with 20 life points. The most basic form of victory is to reduce an opponent’s life total to zero.

There are a lot of different collectible card games (CCGs) out there so it is easy to get bogged down. The best way to get started is to decide on one game you and your family would like to learn and concentrate specifically on that game. Some games are targeted towards different age groups so you will want to keep that in mind when shopping. For example, Pokemon is targeted at a young audiences while Magic: The Gathering is targeted towards a more mature audience. 

Once you have decided on a game, buying cards to start is pretty easy. They can be obtained in a variety of places and are often clearly marked “Starter or Beginner”. Normally they come in simplified versions of the game with everything you need to play, including instructions.

At that point, all you have left to do is sit down with family and friends, read the rules and play through a few hands to get the overall hang of the game. You might even be able to find instructional videos online depending on what game you choose. Most games I have played can be learned within an evening. In almost every case the game takes a few hours to learn, and then the next several years trying to master all the nuances that are contained within. This is one of the greatest lures of collectible card games (CCGs). They are often easy to learn, but challenging to master.

In future articles I will delve into many different games and what you can expect if your child runs up to you at a store holding a few packs with longing in their eyes! As always if you have any questions you can reach me at and will be happy to help you further.

Stay Frosty Friends!

Jason Jarusinsky


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