Scrye Collectible Card Game Checklist & Price Guide
Not long after Krause Publications purchased Scrye magazine from its original publishers in 1999, I realized there was more material in the magazine’s archives than we could easily locate. Dozens of collectible card games had been released since Magic: The Gathering first appeared in 1993, and it was clear that if we didn’t get a handle on the reference material, a lot of information would soon be lost.
As usual at Krause, any attempt at forging a successful collectors’ reference for yourself usually turns into a possible book project. After all, if it worked for you, it could work for other fans. So as we organized our own tens of thousands of game cards, we set to work on developing a tool for others to use: the Scrye Collectible Card Game Checklist & Price Guide.
There had only ever been one attempt at designing a compendium guide to my knowledge; it had been a small paperback, without too much in the way of background. We chose to go in the opposite direction, listing as much information as we could find, including names of designers and original production runs where we had them. We also determined to include every game that fit our criteria, no matter how obscure.
The result was a mammoth undertaking — and a huge book, now used by thousands of gamers to record their card collections. For me, the highlight, beyond the very fun reviews, is the year-by-year history of collectible card games, which indexes every release by ship date and vividly shows the boom and bust cycles in the hobby.
A second, much expanded edition was released in 2003 — and there have been so many more CCGs since then that I shudder to think of how big a future volume would be.
This book is out of print, but you might find it at Amazon.
Much of this volume is about Magic, and I played my first game of Magic: The Gathering late in 1993, the year it came out, against one of the ad salesmen working with me on Comics Retailer magazine. We could each sense a good thing, and adding reports on the Magic phenomenon to the magazine helped it past a rough stretch in the comics industry. Later, the magazine would be renamed Comics & Games Retailer — all because of one card game!
I led one of the playtest groups for one of the games in this edition: Blood Wars, the Planescape-setting-based CCG from TSR. My review in the book says basically the same things my report to TSR did: interesting idea, but multiplayer CCGs are really tough to carry off. The game itself went away fairly quickly, coming out during the first CCG glut.
The rarest games in this book? I’d have to go with Monster Magic and Terror. They’re genuinely hard to find, and we even doubted Monster Magic’s existence in our first edition until someone found them. A competitor ran reviews on both games after we first mentioned them in print, and while I freely offer the benefit of the doubt, I’d be astounded if they found copies themselves. I doubt I could find more copies if my life depended on it.
The biggest obsessive-compulsive game in the book is certainly Banemaster — in the sense that several people spent endless hours chasing what the original card list might actually have been. Between printer’s errors and misspellings on cards, this one was devilishly hard to index. We probably still don’t have all the cards that exist!