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Top 10 Collectible Games of 2006

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In 1993, Magic: the Gathering burst onto the game scene and essentially created a new category of game: the collectible card game. Today, Magic is still going strong and collectible games now come in many forms, but the CCG (or trading card game, TCG) remains the most common. Listed here are my choices for the best collectible games published in 2006.

The approximate prices included here are for one starter set. One factor to consider when buying collectible games is the need to purchase boosters, which can significantly increase the total price. It's always best to try a collectible game before you start buying it.

1. Dreamblade

Dreamblade Figure - Doctor Ape
Designed by Jonathan Tweet, Brian Tinsman and Rob Heinsoo; published by Wizards of the Coast / Hasbro; 2 players; ages 12 and up; $30 (approximate)

Dreamblade is a collectible miniatures game in which each player controls a 16-member army of miniatures with names like Zungar Bodyguard, Bloodthirsty Redcap and Gun-Possessed Killer. Play takes place on a 5x5 "dreamscape" map using several special attack dice and two regular dice. Each turn involves adding figures to the battlefield, claiming territory and battling your opponent. Be warned: some of the miniatures are grotesque.

2. World of Warcraft TCG

World of Warcraft Trading Card Game
Designed by Brian Hacker; published by Upper Deck Entertainment; 2 players; ages 12 and up; $20 (approximate)

Based on the massively multiplayer online roleplaying game (MMORPG) World of Warcraft, this game met with a very positive reaction. Announced a year before it was published, the game received large amount of hype. CriticalGamers.com said, "Was all the hype ... worth the wait? You bet your sweat bippy it was." Two factions battle for supremacy; each player controls one by playing cards to equip a hero with weapons and armor, use spells, recruit allies, etc. If your hero takes too much damage, you lose.

3. Anachronism CCG

Designed by Michael A. Brown; published by TriKing Games; 2 players; ages 12 and up; $14 (approximate)

Anachronism was originally published in 2005, but it's included here because it's a very good game and because I didn't publish a top 10 list for collectible games last year. Warriors from a wide variety of historical periods do battle in this collectible card game, which features The History Channel logo on every pack of cards. The available cultures include Norse, Greek, Roman, Chinese, German, Maori, pirates and many more. The gorgeous artwork adds to the gameplay experience. More expansions are planned for 2007.

4. Battlestar Galactica CCG

Designed by Matt Robinson, Chuck Kallenbach, Brook Willeford, Jim Long and Tyler Bielman; published by WizKids; 2 or more players; ages 12 and up; $11 (approximate)

Based on the SciFi Channel show of the same name, the Battlestar Galactica CCG finds players trying to earn enough influence to control the Colonial fleet. Each player chooses a base to start the game, then plays cards -- events, personnel, ships and missions -- as they try to win.

5. Axis & Allies Miniatures

Designed by Jonathan Tweet, Aaron Forsythe, Richard Baker, Paul Barclay and Devin Low; published by Avalon Hill / Hasbro; 2 players; ages 12 and up; $25 (approximate)

World War II is the setting for this collectible miniatures game. The base set comes with 48 painted miniatures of soldiers and vehicles, plus detailed maps of European battlefields. Each unit has its own stats card, and combat is handled by die rolls. Like Anachronism, this game was originally published in 2005 -- although expansions continue to be published.

6. City of Heroes CCG

Designed by David Williams; published by Alderac Entertainment Group; 2 players; ages 12 and up; $5 (approximate)

Based on the City of Heroes MMORPG, players are in for a treat with this game. The base pack -- at the low price of $5 -- is all you really need to play, although serious players will (of course) want to buy more. Each player is a hero with special powers, trying to defeat another hero. The game is very free-flowing compared to other collectible card games, giving it a unique and fun feel.

7. HorrorClix

Designer not credited; published by WizKids; 2 players; ages 12 and up; $15 (approximate)

This game is a cousin of HeroClix, which featured comic book characters from Marvel, DC and others. Each player assembles a team of monsters -- and then they do battle. The game features some creative elements, such as scenario-based play and plot twists, and unique special powers. Be warned: some of the miniatures are grotesque.

8. Eve: The Second Genesis CCG

Designed by Petur Orn Thorarinsson, Stefan Fridriksson and Reynir Hardarson; published by CCP; 2 to 6 players; ages 12 and up; $20 (approximate)

Another collectible card game based on an MMORPG, Eve: The Second Genesis is set in outer space thousands of years in the future. Corporations try to expand their influence by claiming regions and harvesting resources. Players build starship fleets and send them out to attack opponents.

9. Pirates of the Caribbean TCG

Designer not credited; published by Upper Deck Entertainment; 2 players; ages 8 and up; $10 (approximate)

Using Upper Deck's Quickstrike gameplay system and introducing "chamber cards" (cards with information hidden inside) the Pirates of the Caribbean Trading Card Game is very quick to play and works well with younger children. The chamber cards represent the major charcaters -- Captain Jack Sparrow, Davy Jones, etc. -- and each has a signature move (a strong attack) that can be used during the game. The Quickstrike system and chamber cards also were used in Upper Deck's Avatar TCG.

10. Marvel Heroes Battle Dice

Designed by Luke Peterschmidt, Matt Forbeck and Pat Linden; published by Playmates Toys; 2 to 8 players; ages 6 and up; $10 (approximate)

Small plastic superhero figures are placed inside six-sided dice, which players roll to determine who chooses the attribute (e.g. strength, intelligence, speed) which will be used in combat to determine a winner. Unfortunately, Playmates announced in September that this game has been discontinued and none of the previously announced expansions will be released. But if you find the base game or some booster packs available somewhere, go ahead and give it a try.

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