“Kingdom Hearts,” “Digimon” & More: Why Some Card Games Fail to Hold Players’ Attentions

It’s clear that games like Magic: the Gathering and Yu-Gi-Oh! are games which hold a crowd’s gaze for a long time. They’re not just fads and they are even seen as culturally-relevant as vital games in history. It seems to me that these games will last as long as the public’s attention wills it, however, and this begs the question:

What about the games that have failed to hold the attention of players for longer than a few months to a year? What happens when these games are forgotten about and inevitably fade into obscurity? Games like Kaijudo (which used to be Duel Masters) and the Digimon Digi-Battle Card Game, while iconic for a while based on their source material, fail to flourish in a serious games market as little more than a collectible.

Why Do Some Card Games Fail to Hold Players' Attentions?
Source: Wizards of the Coast

I remember learning to play things like Duel Masters in an environment which was densely populated by Yu-Gi-Oh! players, and while I had a bit of fun spending my hard-earned allowance on the franchise for some time, it was clear to me that there were not enough players to support this game. I promptly gave up on Duel Masters within maybe two to three months.

I don’t even think I had the chance to play Digimon. I only ever collected them, and couldn’t even really find them in stores. I couldn’t even start to play, for that reason, and so any potential that the game had was ultimately wasted. Despite its popularity as a television show in America, I had a lot of trouble getting fully-immersed into the franchise. Maybe I was too young, but my one case doesn’t excuse that the game wasn’t more popular.

Why Do Some Card Games Fail to Hold Players' Attentions?
Hey, at least I still remember these guys! Source: Bandai

And then, what about the games that, despite their franchises’ popularity in other countries, don’t even see shelves in the United States at all? Way back before I started playing Magic, I had seen Yu-Gi-Oh! cards in Japanese before I ever saw them in English, and I remember the immediate fear that the game wasn’t going to be printed in my language. The show and card game got so popular soon thereafter that my worries were alleviated. But what about games likeKingdom Hearts?

Why Do Some Card Games Fail to Hold Players' Attentions?
Source: Fantasy Flight Games

I have done a little bit of digging and it took a very long time before these cards saw any sort of English print. By the time, I reckon, that these cards were printed to an English audience, Kingdom Hearts II was already out and people were awaiting Kingdom Hearts III with a bated, but wavering, breath. The game likely did not take off in America mostly because people were tired enough of waiting for what they actually wanted.

So, the crux of what I’m writing about is that there are many, many games like these three examples – and not even just card games – that need loving by the masses. The American market (my local example from which I can derive information) has stiff competition when it comes to card games. Magic: the Gathering and Yu-Gi-Oh! are both huge in hobby game stores, as is the Pokemon Trading Card Game. Some other games seem to be gaining traction, like Keyforge, but one can’t help but worry that Keyforge is going to falter just like Duel Masters did. This causes me to shy away from that one, and that’s the problem! If not enough people play a game, it will crumble under the lack of attention. That’s why a lot of games need to be given more attention.

Finally, this is just my experience locally. There is no reason why these games don’t all deserve more play. They’re not inherently bad games. They’re just underplayed at worst. Besides, just remember: Magic started as a small project all the way back in 1993 – look at it now.