Fantasy card games are all the rage right now, and some of the biggest developers in the gaming industry have got in on the act. Because these offerings make such good use of technology and aim to enhance the player’s experience, there is a feeling that they could push more simplistic card games of old out of fashion. If their longstanding forefathers like blackjack and poker want to compete, they may need to take on modern elements to attract younger players.
The collectible card game craze arguably began with Magic: The Gathering in 1993, which moved online in 2002. This spinoff of Dungeons & Dragons from Wizards of the Coast made other game creators realise that there was potential for their worlds to be represented in other games. One of the most notable examples of this is when Blizzard Entertainment brought out Hearthstone in 2014. This was a direct spinoff of the hugely popular MMORPG World of Warcraft, and instantly became one of the most popular card games on the market. This trend has continued, with CD Projekt Red releasing Gwent recently. The game was taken directly from The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt but has since been adapted and refined over two years of tweaks and updates.
All of these fantasy card games have come about thanks to traditional games that were played with numerical decks. They are grounded in some of the concepts that make these games work, such as mathematical probability, chance, and winning based on value. Having these constructs in mind helps developers to design and balance the games, and make sure that they are as fair as possible. Because they exist online, the games are constantly updated and any issues are fixed as they arise. Developers also put modern technology to good use, with impressive effects appearing on the board.
Due to this surge in popularity, there is the question as to whether these games could one day cause traditional card game offerings like blackjack and poker to become obsolete. Luckily for those games, this doesn’t appear too likely to happen. Poker popularity is still on the rise, and the 2018 World Series of Poker where John Cynn took down the top prize had the highest number of entrants ever at 7,874. Poker has adapted to changes and advancements online, and now there are different variants of the game, such as Three Card Poker online, available. Allowing the player to battle it out against a dealer instead of against other players, this is a more quick-fire way of playing which would appeal to mobile audiences.
The other major factor working in the favour of blackjack and poker is that there is an opportunity for players to win money. This hasn’t been a theme of fantasy card games and until it is there is no chance that the newer games can usurp their ancestors. The only way to make money from them at the moment is to play them professionally on the eSports circuit.
Fantasy card games are still on the rise, but until they have gambling elements there is little chance of them threatening stalwarts like blackjack and poker. Their existence, however, could lead to more developments within the traditional games to help boost their appeal with modern audiences.