Putting the Community Into CCG

I was cruising through my emails when I noticed a strange one. It was a submission form email from blackredgaming.com, the first I have ever received. The contents of the email were even more shocking. An upcoming indie studio asked if I could talk about their game. Ecstatically, I said yes (people are noticing my writing?!), and now I am here to talk about their new game: Collective.

Before I get into it, I have a few things to say. They have not in any way paid me to write this. I am doing this because I want to, not because I am paid to. Any and all thoughts about the game said here are my own. Finally, this is not an analysis of my time with the game, as for the game is still in its early stages. Instead, I will be talking about the bullet points made from the trailer. If I do get my hands on a copy, I’ll be sure to talk about my time with the game then. But for now, let’s get into what exactly this game is.

Collective is a card game in the likes of Hearthstone with one very big difference: the cards are made by the community. The game offers tools that can be used to create your own cards from scratch. These tools allow you to create the art and stats of the card, and your created cards can be tested against others. But the really exciting part is that you can upload the cards you created to their subreddit (r/collectivecg) where the top ten most upvoted cards each week get put into the game for everyone’s use. As it stands, the game has already built a small community through its early closed alphas. The game has so far had seventeen weeks-worth of new cards added into the game with over 10,000 being submitted. Collective’s Discord channel is full of users that talk about all things Collective including collaboration on cards and even some small sub groups have spawned out of this game.

A piece of the card editor.

A piece of the card editor.

I’m not gonna lie; the two main elements of Collective are things I am not the biggest fan of. Even though I enjoy the structure and gameplay of card games, I never find myself really getting into one for some reason. And games that involve building things (Doom SnapMap, G-Mod, etc.) tend to overwhelm me, though I do enjoy playing community created content a lot. But I find myself actually interested in playing this game. Whether it be deck building with community cards or the various gameplay offerings available including a sort of rogue lite singleplayer, there is something here that I don’t get with other games. Also, while I find building things like levels to be overwhelming, I think that building a card won’t be that bad. I suck at art, so I’ll have to get someone else to do that part for me, but building something as simple as card won’t be bad for me. And even if it is, I won’t sweat it because I can still play with other player’s card creations. Gameplay talk will be for another day, but what is being shown so far has intrigued me in ways other card games have not.

Funny, because I also have a half-skeletal tiger pet who also likes to hold sharks.

Funny, because I also have a half-skeletal tiger pet who also likes to hold sharks.

The game is going to be free-to-play, but don’t let that scare you. You won’t be ripping open digital card packs and hoping for the one that glows purple or anything like that. The game has plans on using paid currency for things like heroes or use of the card editor (though both can be purchased with earned currency), but no money can be spent on obtaining cards. Cards are instead added to your deck by leveling up in-game. The one thing that drags me away from free-to-play games are people with unfair advantages because they paid more than me, so having all cards be accessible to all players alleviates my concerns of the game.

One smaller aspect I like about the game is its lack of theme. While the game has a fantasy look to it, Collective isn’t subjected to it. You can have a card of a baby dragon next to a card of a computer next to a card of robots in your deck. You aren’t subjected to only see wizards and elves; you can see just about anything created by the community or yourself. It’s a small detail, but one I enjoy.

One thing I personally would like out of the game in the future (I did say these thoughts are my own) is to have some of the card uploading and voting to be within the game. I think the subreddit is fine, but it would be nice to have all of that contained inside of the game. But if the subreddit way works better for card voting and whatnot, then that’s fine.

I can’t speak for the gameplay of Collective (though I will soon), but from what I have seen so far of this game I think it is something worth checking out. The game’s take on microtransactions doesn’t feel unfair and its community creation aspect as well as the community around the game is really cool. As it stands, you can go over to collective.gg and sign up to get onto the alpha wait list.

That’s going to be a wrap. I would like to thank Nick McCo and Alec Boutin of Odious Studios for reaching out and giving me this opportunity. And as always, thank you for reading.

Here is a trailer talking about the community aspects of the game and more: