While some of us had chalked up D-Spirits and Akora as the end of the Kickstarter era, a TCG known as Nostalgix was quietly chugging along behind closed doors. Launched in mid-November, the project managed to shatter basically every record as it accumulated more than $900,000 in a mere two months — making it one of the largest Kickstarter TCG campaigns to date.
The game markets itself as an “interdimensional custom card game” with a focus on broad appeal. According to Zaba, the organizer of the campaign, Nostalgix places a huge emphasis on approachability and ease-of-play. Their claim is simple: players between the ages of 6 and 60 will understand how the game works by their second turn.
I wont lie — Nostalgix looks cool. The artwork feels like a blend of science fiction and early Pokemon. The card design and holographic elements look quite unique as well. I especially enjoyed seeing cards like Phagebot which is an obvious play-on-words and reference to a bacteriophage. It’s clear that these artists didn’t just pump out some generic storybook batch of characters — someone thought about what they were drawing.
There are definitely a few things that confuse me though. The marketing material emphasizes how Nostalgix contains a blend of mechanics inspired by the “long, rich history of TCGs”. The text then goes on to describe absolutely no part of said mechanics. Having watched an entire game of Nostalgix TCG, I struggle to see any real mechanics to speak of at all. The game could not be any more basic.
The critique above shares the same complaint. Of course, that is not to say that there is anything wrong with a basic game. This is after all consistent with the brand’s mission of making the game easily understood. I was just hoping to see something really cool and innovative — perhaps something on par with MetaZoo’s ‘4th wall’ mechanic.
Ultimately it’s hard to get hung up on something so little when the Nostalgix team has otherwise been executing so well. The cards look great. The retail boxes are unique and eye-catching. The game actually has published lore. The list goes on and on. They even have their entire inventory already listed with Peachstate Hobby Distribution — one of the most notable distributors in the industry. None of these things are to be taken for granted. Many aspiring card games have seriously struggled trying to get their ducks in a row prior to launch.
All in all, I would say the game looks compelling and it’s definitely worth checking out. Of course, this recommendation comes with all my usual criticisms of crowdfunded TCGs. I am not trying to single out Nostalgix here (virtually all of them are guilty) but there is just something off-putting about the nature of these Kickstarter projects. It feels like a race. More funding. More stretch goals. More marketing. More speculation. At some point the aggressive effort to maintain the campaign’s momentum starts to contradict the spirit of what is actually at stake: a playable game.
Let me know what you think about Nostalgix below. Personally, I think they are shaping up to be a serious contender in the TCG space.