“Living Card Games” (LCGs) offer a different distribution model from traditional collectible card games (CCGs), avoiding blind-purchase packs.
LCGs like Doomtown: Reloaded, A Game Of Thrones: The Card Game, The Lord Of The Rings: The Card Game, Marvel Champions: The Card Game, and Arkham Horror: The Card Game provide unique gameplay experiences and themes.
LCGs are supported by expansions, but missing a cycle of releases can make it harder to catch up, although some LCGs have second editions or continued fan support.

“Living Card Games,” coined by publisher Fantasy Flight Games, are essentially collectible card games that use a different model for distribution. They still involve cycles of content in the form of expansion packs but without the infamous blind-purchase model associated with CCGs. Furthermore, every LCG has a “Core Set” that acts as a standalone experience that allows players to fully experience the game without any further purchases.

RELATED: Best Board Game Expansions

The issue with LCGs, and other games that follow its structure (often referred to as “expandable card games”), is that it can be hard to jump into one after its initial launch cycle unless it’s heavily supported. In most cases, missing a cycle of expansions makes it hard to come back later down the line and get a hold of more content. However, many LCGs are supported by fans after they are discontinued (though this list won’t include those), and other LCGs often get second editions. The following examples provide options for LCGs that are still available at the time of writing, though some are more readily available than others.

5 Doomtown: Reloaded

Based on the trading card game Deadlands: Doomtown, which was based on the Deadlands RPG, Doomtown: Reloaded is classed as an “expandable card game,” likely due to the fact that the term “Living Card Game” is a trademark of Fantasy Flight Games.

RELATED: Tabletop RPGs With Weird Western Settings

Doomtown: Reloaded sees players control decks packed with various gunslingers and Wild West equipment and locations, playing cards in and around a town square in order to have more “Control” than their opponent has “Influence,” the two key resources of the game. Although Doomtown: Reloaded products are currently sparse, sets and expansions can be found on the Pine Box Entertainment website.

4 A Game Of Thrones: The Card Game (Second Edition)

This second edition, released in 2015, has managed to keep A Game Of Thrones: The Card Game alive, and supports two-to-four players. This game is a competitive versus game that has players controlling factions battling against each other in combat challenges and using various “plot cards” that decide the structure of each round.

RELATED: Video Games To Play If You Like Game Of Thrones

A Game Of Thrones: The Card Game has eight playable factions to choose from, all of which will be recognizable to fans of the books and/or hit television show. The game also includes “neutral” cards that are available to all factions and can be used for deck-building. The game is fairly straightforward, being played over several rounds made up of seven phases until someone manages to gain fifteen power, mostly done by defeating opponents in challenges. For fans of Game Of Thrones looking for a card game to play with a friend, this game is worth a shot.

3 The Lord Of The Rings: The Card Game

This cooperative game based on the legendary Lord Of The Rings franchise recently received a revised edition in 2022, helping to keep the now-classic game alive. This revised edition adds a campaign mode that has players adventuring over several scenarios, as well as support for one-to-four players in the core box alone.

Although it’s one of the more tedious games to set up and pack away, The Lord Of The Rings: The Card Game is a grand adventure that brings players together through dangerous encounters. Players will build up their decks over the course of a scenario, gathering strength and sending their heroes on quests, adventuring to locations, and encountering various enemies. For fans of both LCGs and The Lord Of The Rings, this game is a must-try.

2 Marvel Champions: The Card Game

One of the most recent LCGs from Fantasy Flight Games, and one of the most supported, Marvel Champions: The Card Game is a thematic cooperative game for one-to-four players, though it’s arguably better when played with at least two. The game has players control various heroes (the core set includes Iron Man, Captain Marvel, She-Hulk, Spiderman, and Black Panther) battling against various villains, who act as the scenario.

RELATED: The Best Marvel Board Games

Unlike most other cooperative LCGs, Marvel Champions: The Card Game doesn’t have a campaign, and instead takes the more accessible approach of skirmish scenarios where the only goal is to take the villain down and live to tell the tale. These villains also have “Master Plans” that essentially act as a timer to the game, which results in an eventual game-over. Furthermore, Marvel Champions: The Card Game adds extra immersion and theme by giving each hero their own “Obligation” (such as She-Hulk’s job as a lawyer) and Nemesis (like Spiderman’s nemesis, the Vulture), which makes the heroes feel like more than a deck of cards. For fans of Marvel that are looking for a fast-paced, action-packed card game they can play with a friend, Marvel Champions is a great choice.

1 Arkham Horror: The Card Game

Perhaps Fantasy Flight’s most popular LCG, Arkham Horror: The Card Game takes the cooperative card game structure and wraps it in grim-dark Lovecraftian horror. Arkham Horror has players control investigators, represented by their own unique (and customizable) decks, searching for clues and upgrades across a campaign of scenarios, with several expansions furthering the story and providing plenty of content for fans of the game.

However, players should be warned that Arkham Horror is not for the faint of heart. This game can be brutally difficult, despite the fact that players can’t technically lose, instead marking their failures down, potentially gaining various traumas. Players looking for something lighter or more accessible might want to take a look at Marvel Champions instead.

MORE: Marvel Champions LCG – How To Get Started

 Living Card Games can sometimes be hard to jump into, but these examples are a good place to start.  Read More