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Dragon Ball Z creator's Sand Land is being turned into a card game from MTG creator Richard Garfield

Sand beats paper?

Sand Land animated series screenshot
Image credit: Bandai Namco

In the latest edition of headlines that sound like wish-fulfilment post to an anime subreddit, Magic: The Gathering’s creator Richard Garfield will help design a card game based on the Sand Land manga from late author Akira Toriyama.

Sand Land Tactical Card Game will adapt the one-volume graphic novel created by Toriyama, who’s most famous for giving the world Dragon Ball and Dr. Slump. He recently passed away, leaving a massive legacy in his field and, apparently, a tie-in card game that managed to tap Garfield to help design or consult on the project.

Publisher Bandai Namco is keeping information close to the chest and will apparently wait until Gen Con 2024 to publicly sell any decks or other products. What we do know is that the main cast of protagonists and villains from the Weekly Shonen Jump manga will helm constructed decks as players compete one-on-one. Constructed decks will be sold in blind boxes that might contain one of 10 planned decks, or “patterns” as the official website calls them.

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Sand Land Tactical will supposedly be designed such that players will only need to purchase a set amount of cards to gather all the pieces they need to build decks and customise their strategies. Bandai Namco characterised their expansion plan as “[offering] reasonable updates to expand play”, which still leaves a lot of wiggle room. But it seems as though this tie-in card game won’t go hog-wild on monetization directly out of the gate.

We already know three of the deck patterns will build around co-protagonists Beelzebub, Rao and Thief, along with initial antagonist General Are, and a single gameplay image shows, well… not a lot beyond a row of attackers, a deck leader slot in the back and room for equipment or other supplementary cards. Garfield said in a short explainer video that Sand Land Tactical is designed to combine elements of deckbuilding, competitive play and miniature wargaming.

Sand Land might be the least well known of Toriyama’s work, eclipsed by the long shadow of Dragon Ball and his work designing creatures for the Dragon Quest video game series. The surprisingly short manga has found a breath of contemporary fame, though, as both an animated series and official video game adaptation are currently in active development.

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