Beyond Pokemon: 7 Trading Card Games You May Not Have Heard Of
by Katie Coopersmith ©2018 Gifts for Card Players
Trading cards have been around for about 125 years. That’s a long time; and, as you might expect, some pretty crazy games have come out in that time! Some have been institutions in and of themselves (ever heard of Pokémon?), but others are a little more, shall we say…niche.
We challenge you to find cards from all of these different games…they may not all have made it big, but odds are, they’re probably hidden in a plethora of thrift stores and comic shops all over the world! As you’ll see, we’ve thrown in a pretty huge variety of card types, from the fantastical to the ridiculous. We hope you’ll find at least one set in here that piques your interest. Happy trading!
Star Pics Saturday Night Live trading cards
Yup, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Back in 1992, some marketers behind this ever-popular weekend phenomenon of a show (which had been around since the 1970s, mind you) decided to release a set of 150 Star Pics trading cards. The set included most or all of SNL’s best-loved characters from the first 17 years of its existence, such as Wayne and Garth, Roseanne Roseanneadanna, and the Blues Brothers. Some cards (Chris Farley, Mike Myers, Adam Sandler, etc.) are even signed. The cards also came with an authentication sticker…you know, because of all the counterfeit SNL trading cards floating around out there. 😉
We’re not sure what you could do with these cards besides shove them in a binder or use them to act out skits from the show, but let creativity be your guide!
This game is ridiculous – in a good way. Shadowfist is based on the Chinese philosophical concept of feng shui; players can take control of the Shadowfist world by promoting positive chi-flow throughout the world’s nations. It also involves time travel, warfare, and components of real Asian history. Shadowfist’s website describes it as “equal opportunity butt-kicking” and “the best multiplayer game for 20 years and counting!”.
This game is a perfect fit for history geeks and anyone who likes a good, complex world.
Desert Storm trading cards
I know what you’re thinking – trading cards for a war?!? Nope, we’re not kidding…these actually exist. There have also been card sets created for World War II and Vietnam. Sounds a little morbid, but who knows – maybe these cards target those same leagues of children who collect army toys? Standout cards include General Kelly, General Charles Horner, and even a General Colin Powell/Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney combo card!
The Middle-Earth Collectible Card Game
Calling all Tolkien geeks! This trading card game, released in 1995, is incredibly aesthetically beautiful, and much of its artwork was actually done by the artists whose work appears in the Lord of the Rings books! A number of expansion packs were also released throughout the late 1990s.
The game can be played by one to five players, each of whom is represented by a different wizard.
Garbage Pail Kids trading cards
This one is perfect for satirists and anyone who likes dark humour. Remember the Cabbage Patch Kids? Well, the Garbage Pail Kids are essentially just a cheeky send-up of those bizarre, freckled dolls – in trading card form!
The first set was released in 1985, and featured characters such as Glandular Angela and Half Nelson. More recent editions have been released since then; this millennium’s cards have even featured fake Facebook profiles.
Vampire: The Eternal Struggle
Before Twilight, there was Dracula…but after Dracula, there was Vampire: The Eternal Struggle. This multiplayer game set in the World of Darkness was released in 1994 and produced until 2010. It differs from other multiplayer games in that it has a strong group play component. Each player has a designated “prey” (another player), whom they must stalk throughout gameplay. Scary!
Pachimon was a deck of collectible playing cards, each card featuring a made-up “Kaiju” (giant monster). Many of these kaiju were spin-offs of existing monsters in pop culture, such as Godzilla.
However, if you wanted to buy a Pachimon, you wouldn’t go down to the comic book store…no, Pachimon cards were given out with jars of mayonnaise! Putting Happy Meals to shame, huh?