For the longest time I’ve not been a fan of Collectible Card Games (CCGs) but I’ve not been able to articulate it. I’ve had numerous friends into Magic: The Gathering and similar things, but I didn’t care for them, and in a way, I didn’t trust them. The dynamic turned me off, pushed me away. Part of my attitude could be hit upon a sense of imbalance in the play mechanics, or the distant abstraction of the actual gameplay to the world it depicted. I had no sense of the imagination from placing cards down that I could get from a table top RPG, nor was it as visual as a board game, and definitely nothing on par with any video game. Until I started thinking of it in modern gaming, and less interactive terms.
When you buy a pack, you don’t know what is in it. It is a lottery, a gamble. Sure your employment of a card takes skill, but purchases are either dumb luck with a pack, or plain investment at a store. The other player has that tool in their possession and you don’t because they got lucky in buying a pack, they spent a lot of money on a lot of packs, they spent a lot of money on just that card, they won it (an honorable method in some ways), or a generous player gave it to them. You are facing that card combination because of finances or luck in most scenarios, and your choices are limited by your finances and luck.
I think this is what ultimately has kept me away, CCGs are to me, pay-to-win DLC wrapped in a casino, for an abstraction that brings no immersion or imagination. This wasn’t a planned out post, just a mild revelation as to my own opinions from earlier today. Now I know why I reject that genre, and frown when I encounter its being played.