Adventure Time’s fictional card game-made-real, Card Wars, is back on Kickstarter crowdfunding a reprint an ultimate edition of the competitive brawler just in time for its 10th anniversary. Weighing 16 pounds and packaged in a box that might concuss someone if dropped from a height, Adventure Time Card Wars Ultimate Edition looks like it lives up to that lofty title.
Based on the Adventure Time episode, “Card Wars”, this eponymous card game was created by Matt Hyra and Cory Jones - former and current Cryptozoic Entertainment designers, respectively. The duo expanded the admittedly arcane and zany rules as presented by Jake the Dog in the episode into a full-blown, playable title that was released in 2014. While not the most dense or complicated card game, it found plenty of success with tabletop players and fans of the longrunning Cartoon Network animated series.
Over the intervening years, Cryptozoic has developed and released tons of supplemental packs and expansions, including the sizable sequel-ish Doubles Tournament allowing for 2v2 matches. Now, the publisher is offering fans new and old the chance to grab all of that design work in one massive collector’s edition box. The ultimate edition is heavy stuff - weighing up to 16 pounds if you get everything on offer - and will cost you a pretty penny to ship if you live outside the US. But for real Card Wars fanatics, the siren call of a colossal rectangular box that can fit everything inside may prove too strong.
If you’ve never sat down and flopped a pig before, Card Wars is a deceptively simple game on its face. Two players face off in a head-to-head match (or two teams of two in Doubles Tournament) with a deck of 40 card, a Hero that helms the deck and 25 Hit Points. Each turn, players use their two available action points to play cards from their hand to their respective half of the battlefield. Cards cost between zero and 2 action points, but they must be played onto their corresponding landscape (think Magic: The Gathering’s 5-colour lands).
Creatures attack up their designated lanes, dealing damage to creatures in their way, but otherwise chipping away at an opponent’s hit points. Some creatures can instead Floop once per turn, activating powerful abilities in a way that is definitely mechanically and taxonomically distinct from MTG’s tapping. The first to reduce an opponent to zero Hit Points wins, which sounds easy until cards actually start hitting the table.
The base Card Wars game comes with 12 different decks and their corresponding heroes - a whopping 480 cards in total. Add in Doubles Tournament’s additional 164 cards across 4 decks, and you’re purchasing a small dog’s worth of cardboard, tokens and other components. Cryptozoic says the collectors boxes will have foam inserts that make storage safe and snappy, and everything should fit snug inside the box and unpack easily on game night.
The Kickstarter campaign for Adventure Time Card Wars Ultimate Edition runs through December 15th and has already raked in nearly $450,000, well over its $80,000 original ask. Cryptozoic currently expects production to last until mid-2024, with packages shipping to backers by the end of August or beginning of September.
Card Wars isn’t the only tabletop adaptation of Adventure Time, as the designers at Forever Stoked are currently designing a tabletop RPG based in the Land of Ooo. It looked as though the RPG would use a new, innovative system based on a “Yes, And” logic to fiction-forward roleplay, but new information in the Card Wars Kickstarter FAQ now points to a shift towards developing a version set firmly and firstly in the popular 5th Edition rules - the same stuff that powers Dungeons & Dragons. Dicebreaker has reached out to the publisher for more information.