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This is the game about games that games have been waiting for. The Non-CCG CCG Board Game about collecting uncollectible cards and playing a non-existent 1000 year-old CCG. So meta - my soul just broke the fourth wall.
This really is a CCG Hobby simulator in a box. So many cards and strategies to evaluate that it should remain fresh for years without an expansion--but expansions will come because a game built around CCGs has to have new sets, right? I'll reevaluate this after a half-dozen or so plays, but, for now, it is my favorite new game this year.
This game perfectly captures everything about CCGs. The market phase is frantic and fast, and the tournament phase is extremely clever tableau building. The theme pulls you in and is definitely strong, but it's the mechanics that keep you interested for all three rounds. Love it. Edit: gave to Jorge after his car got stolen with MB in it. I can't replace the car, but I can do this much. Edit 2: the cops recovered his car and his game was still entirely intact. He returned it to me. Funny how things work out.
W/ Exp: Promo Packs 1-5, Set Rotation MB comes out maybe once or twice a year but it plays right into our favorite memories from playing Pokemon/Magic growing up. I always describe it as Magic: The Gathering: The Simulator. A lot to process and take in, and you need to read quickly to have even a little bit of an idea of how your deck would work, but it's well worth it.
While my IRL CCG experience is limited to the Pokemon and Yugioh days of old, I find myself wholly immersed in the world Millennium Blades creates. Building collections is fun, the search for elusive cards is desperate, the trading mechanism is simple but clever (you'll still have that annoying friend who denies your trade even if it tips in their favor; just to spite you), and tournament play is streamlined, but full of synergistic opportunities. While the card references are very on the nose, Millennium Blades provides strong commentary on CCG culture and proves itself a worthy replacement. But beyond all else, Millennium Blades places fun first. The game gives you access to everything from the get go. If you want to cannibalize your starting cards to make a collection, or fuse them for a powerful promo, or drop all of your money on packs, or try to scrape up deals at the store, there is nothing standing in your way.