I’ve decided to start a new semi-regular column, which I have lovingly named Frontiersman Gamer. Here I’ll talk about games – video games, board games, card games, etc. – that will probably not be familiar to the average video gamer. In the beginning I’ll be focusing on tabletop games, and in this one I’ll be starting with the very familiar name of Richard Garfield.
It would not be a stretch to say that readers would be familiar with Magic: The Gathering, the popular collectible card game designed by Richard Garfield. Readers may also be familiar with other collectible card games (CCGs) such as Yu-Gi-Oh, Pokémon and Cardfight! Vanguard. The premise of these games is straightfoward – you collect cards buy purchasing multiple booster packs and preconstructed decks, you construct a deck out of your cards, and you compete with a friend in a head-to-head battle.
But there exists a plethora of other card games that do not fall within the category of collectible card game (in fact, they might be more aptly described as board games despite lacking, well, boards). One of which was designed by Richard Garfield himself many years ago. Trading random packs of cards for core sets and expansions with fixed decklists, you can often get complete game experiences out of the box without the need to invest in building a competitive deck (though drafting does go some way to solving that issue for CCGs). Sometimes they do away with the premise of players battling head-to-head entirely. Let me expose you to a series of games where the story that emerges is sometimes more enjoyable than the mechanics of the game, and where building cities can be just as fun as fighting orcs.