Symposium, 2 September 2021: The Cooperative Adventure Card Game

The Mad Titan's Shadow - Fantasy Flight Games
Cards from the upcoming expansion to Marvel Champions, The Mad Titan’s Shadow

“Cooperative Adventure Card Game” (CACG) is my term for the genre that includes the LCGs I’ve been bringing to my last few symposia. What is it, though? Clearly the genre comprises not only The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, Arkham Horror: The Card Game, and Marvel Champions: The Card Game, but also other games like Legendary: Marvel and the re-skins of Legendary, as well as several other games such as Sentinels of the Multiverse. Interestingly, the category should probably also include competitive games for which designers have provided cooperative and/or solo modes: most interestingly, Middle-earth Collectible Card Game had such a mode starting in 1996.

So how do we distinguish, and why should we distinguish, among them? Should we bring cooperative board games — especially dungeon crawlers playable in coop mode like Gloomhaven, Descent (when played via app), and very interestingly, Descent‘s transmedia-franchise re-skin, Star Wars: Imperial Assault, some of which make extensive use of cards, into the conversation?

I can think of three topics I’d like to consider off the bat, and I’ll probably think of more by Thursday.

  • How does a CACG’s elaboration of and participation in a transmedia storyworld like The Lord of the Rings distinguish it from a CACG whose narrative unfolds in a different sort of possibility space?
  • How does the mechanic of deck-identification in the LCGs , where players’s decks correspond to their characters, distinguish it from Legendary, in particular, where players recruit hero actions to build their decks? Relatedly, how do the deckbuilding aspects of the LCGs, where decks are set before the game, make them distinct from “true” deckbuilding games, where the player constructs their deck in the course of the play-performance session?
  • How do the expansion models of the LCGs and other CACGs differ among themselves and/or with other genres of game?

We’ll convene the discussion on Discord at 8:30 Eastern/5:30 Pacific, with a Twitch stream to have a look at some cards if it seems worthwhile.

About rogertravisjr

Classicist, game critic, game educator.
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