Hello Mysidians, I am back with another article after spending the weekend in Washington State at Lake Cavanaugh. I was down there for a big group trip with 13 friends. It was my first time attending this annual trip and as a rookie I had to complete some… challenges. Now I am back at work and there is not enough orange juice in the world to help me recuperate.
So you might be asking at this point, why the humble brag about my fun weekend out of town? Well, while there was a lot of “activities” going on all weekend, there was also a good amount of downtime for watching Netflix or playing some board games etc. I had brought some Magic the Gathering Battle Decks (purchased from Card Kingdom) and played a few games with my brother. Some of the guys began to watch us play, and a few people were intrigued. By the end of the weekend, two of my friends were completely hooked, and one had already ordered some Battle Decks online for them self. Almost everyone stopped by at some point to watch, and most did the exact same thing: they asked if they could look through all the unused decks so they could admire the card art. I had a few other people tell me they wanted to try it by the end of the weekend.
Where is this Hungover Guy Going with this Story?
Now I am not a very experienced MTG player, in fact I only tried it after getting hooked on FFTCG. I play MTG Arena once and awhile and that’s about it for my Magic experience. I am currently working on starting a Tabletop/TCG gaming club at the high school I work at, and I bought the MTG Battle Decks since MTG seems to be popular at the school. This way new students could get into the club and have matches on a level playing field deck construction-wise. While Magic is a very cool game, I like FFTCG more for a multitude of reasons.
Being a beginner MTG player, means that I don’t own any tokens. So what did we use while on this trip? FFTCG cards of course! Well the back of them anyway. One comment I heard multiple times was how much nicer the card stock is for FFTCG compared to MTG. However, another common remark was how epic and beautiful the art in MTG is compared to FFTCG.
The above cards are in Card Kingdoms "Dragon Horde" Deck.
Does Card Art make a Major Difference to Potential Players?
After this trip I had the thought: “What is appealing about FFTCG card art to me?”. I love Final Fantasy, and having played most of the games, I get a lot out of the gameplay art. However, I think some of the in-game/cutscene art, the older SNES game art, and lack of backgrounds/context might not be appealing to some new players. At no point did anyone look through my FFTCG cards on the trip, not even the players using the Vampire token deck, that would have been handling so many of them.
When I think about my local play group, all of us that had never played TCG’s competitively before (or at all), chose FFTCG because we were big Final Fantasy fans. Other new players that join our group come from games like Magic and YuGiOh, and for them, card art may not be as important. Instead, gameplay and balance are things that attract them to TCGs, and FFTCG has those elements covered.
I understand that people that have never played TCG’s is a hard demographic to target, and we are probably better off targeting people that play other TCG’s and people that play Final Fantasy games. However, I wonder if people would be more interested if they saw more original art, for example, art from FF Mobius that is commissioned from various artists. Some of the cinematic art also looks gorgeous, but some of the gameplay art (looking at FFXI in particular) does not appeal to players.
I do want to clarify that I love the XI cards. But that makes sense, I played FFXI and it brings back awesome memories whenever I see the cards.
The vampires of the "New Blood" deck vs FFTCG.
Is it Even Fair to Compare FFTCG and MTG?
I mean, MTG is the biggest game and can afford all the custom art they commission, whereas FFTCG has just started out, and is still testing the waters. Not only that, every set Wizards of the Coast produces (minus core sets) tell stories, and the artwork is a depiction of that. Of course different cards will have different backgrounds and events, there is context to the images.
This is where Final Fantasy and Magic can't really compare, since FFTCG's card types are so defined. Characters are just that, people and monsters from the games. Summons are specific entities as well. Magic can have a card like Contentious Plan because their card types are a little more vague and open.
Imagine if FFTCG had a card called "In Over our Heads" depicting the party watching Beatrix fight in Burmecia, or a card "Locke's Disguise" showing Locke's infiltration of South Figaro. For the record I am not suggesting FFTCG create new card types, but just providing an example of how it could work.
What was the Point of this Article?
To be honest I am not 100% sure of my rationale for writing this article. It is mostly an observation, as it was so cool seeing people flock to us playing MTG. Next time I’ll have to hide the MTG cards, so my friends only see me playing FFTCG.
One final point, I don't blame Square Enix for using the wealth of art they already have from their games. It makes a lot of sense, and there are some really iconic scenes and character depictions that draw Final Fantasy players in.
I am curious to hear what you; the reader thinks. Do you think FFTCG has a disadvantage reusing art that some players may not relate to? Does that matter, or are the core mechanics and enjoyability of the game more important?
-Alex Scott (I'll start signing these with my Facebook name)
P.S. For the record, FFTCG has lots of incredible art, from games and original, and don't even get me started on Amano artwork!
Check out and like/follow The Mysidia Facebook page to receive updates whenever new content drops!
Thank you to FF Decks for hosting mine and other content creator's articles on their site, you can check out their Patreon here if you want awesome perks for your FF Decks account!
Check out Cards of Ivalice for all your FFTCG product needs!
Alex is a FFTCG player from Vancouver, Canada. His favourite Final Fantasy is IV and his favourite Elements are Earth and Ice, although he has a soft spot for fire.