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Have you played... Kardboard Kings?

Buy and sell your cards right

I'm one of those people who thinks there should be National Service, but only for making everyone work in a customer facing position in retail before they're 25. You might think "Alice, it seems like you're making the time a guy shouted at you and threw jeans on the floor because they were too long for him everyone else's problem, do you think you have some lingering resentment?", and my response is that you've made a really specific assumption there, I have no idea what you're talking about. Anyway, if working in retail was like running the shop in Kardboard Kings, then everyone would love it.

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Everyone loves card games, but Kardboard Kings isn't a deckbuilder. You facilitate other people building their decks, running a shop that sells individual cards for a Magic: The Gathering-esque trading card game. You order stock, new and used, from different traders online, so every day starts with opening your post to unpack them. It's very cute. There's quite a complex internal economy involved, with new sets coming out that affect the value of old cards, and news stories that will drive the price up or down of certain colours or types of cards in a few days time. It allows you to plan ahead, so you can sell off your stock quick or stack your shelves with the most sought after products. On a basic level you're trying to make enough money to keep your shop open.

A collection of cards in Kardboard Kings, stored in a trading card binder, from a collection called Dark moon. They're black and grey line drawings of magical looking animals - a fox with trees growing out of its back, a close up of a beetle full of leaves, a cat sitting on a broom

But my favourite thing about Kardboard Kings is the art. Every card has character art, designed as distinct sets with recogniseable styles. It's legitimately possible to have favourite cards, and I'd encourage it. My favourite single card is the Traveling Knife Salesman. It's a common card. I just really like that dangerous little motherfucker. My favourite set, though, is the Dark Moon, which is a new set released early on. Their art is all kind of goth-looking black and grey linework, and I dig it.

There are extra bits too: you can throw unpacking parties, you're sort of guided by a parrot, and there are regulars who turn up and offer lucrative trades or preorders. There's also like, an international card thief with a kind of Arsène Lupin vibe - but for cards. Recently the devs brought out a DLC called The Island, which introduces the battling side of the trading card game. If only all shops were this chill.

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