Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Spellfire is Still Alive!

When I was an early teen, into my middle teens, and even (I think) through my first couple of years of my third decade of life, I played the collectible card game Spellfire. You've probably only heard of it if A) you are a massive nerd, B) you are a Dungeons and Dragons nutcase, C) you played Magic: The Gathering, or D) you are a massively massive nerd.

I played Spellfire, which is essentially a Magic knockoff, with my brothers on countless vacations. For some reason it was our game of choice when we were traveling. Randy and I were both, unfortunately, pretty big Dungeons and Dragons nerds. We never got to the point where we sat down and played the pen and paper AD&D games, but we had all of the old gold box AD&D computer games and played D&D knockoff board games like Hero Quest.

For a while I thought that Spellfire would come and go like many other knock offs of popular fads, like pogz or trolls. Somehow it held on and there were expansion set after expansion set released. When we stopped playing I think that the game was on its 11th or 12th expansion. With each expansion being 100 cards and there being 400 cards in the initial run, that gave us about 1300-1500 cards to work with. And boy did we have a lot.

We mostly played with the first series cards and the first 5 or 6 expansions. We had some later run cards, but from the first five sets we had almost all the cards. In total, we must have had a thousand or two cards that we'd play with. It eventually got to the point where making a deck was way too complicated so we modified the rules.

Instead of playing with a regulation deck, we'd play with all of the cards we owned with our game being one perpetual war. We took all of the limiting rules and either jacked them way up or threw them out altogether. It got to be pretty wild and half the time we'd have to make up what certain cards would do at certain times because things would get so nuts, but it was fun as hell.

For the heck of it, I did a search on Google to see what came up for Spellfire and it seems like there is a fanbase for the card game. It's been well over a decade since the game was created so I didn't expect to find much, but quite the opposite was true. Now I know that Magic is still popular, but I figured it to be the only collectible card game that made it through the 90's and still was played. I was wrong.

The first thing I found was the official Spellfire website. It contains rules, news, and other things you'd assume to be there. What is interestingly present is four complete expansion sets that were custom created by users and posted online. You could print them out and use them for games. I don't know how you'd do that, exactly, so that they'd match the rest of the cards, but it's cool that the cards were made nonetheless.

Of course, there's the Wikipedia page for the game. It doesn't really offer up much information, but it did turn me towards a couple of other Spellfire related sites. The first is the Spellfire community page. It appears to be pretty dead, however, with the last relevant post coming earlier this year. I was hoping for throngs of players, but it does look like traditional players of the game are rare.

With the death of the actual card carrying and playing member is the rise of online play. Yes, you heard it right, someone has taken the game of Spellfire and made an online component called Crossfire. I didn't look at it too closely, but it looks like a way to play Spellfire online with other Crossfire users. Interesting.

So... that's probably way more information than you'd ever want to know about a card game I used to play in my youth with my brothers. Now if I could only figure out what triggered my memories on the topic.

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