MetaZoo: Fad or The Next Pokemon?
Let's make one thing perfectly clear: the trading card game industry is a mess. From Yu-Gi-Oh to Digimon to Flesh & Blood, every corner of the market seems to have inflated like a balloon. In a world where card games are treated as financial instruments, it's not surprising that speculators have priced true enthusiasts out of the market. What good is a game if it can not even be played?
While some may be quick to point the finger at scalpers, established brands are also to blame. Just look at ambiguity we have been seeing from Pokemon or the ruthless tactics of Hasbro. Everywhere you look is bloodshed.
However, in the midst of this chaos, a faint light can be seen at the end of the tunnel. The tunnel is foggy and damp so it's hard to see exactly what the light is. Maybe it's an illusion. Maybe it's a charlatan. Maybe it's a miracle. As you inch closer, a strange word starts to reveal itself.
Say Hello to MetaZoo
MetaZoo is a trading card game originally popularized by a Kickstarter campaign. Unlike most TCGs which are predicated on their own unique lore, MetaZoo opts for a more 'public domain' approach.
Specifically, MetaZoo is based on cryptids. Cryptids are mythical creatures in common folklore such as Big Foot or The Loch Ness Monster. While MetaZoo is not the first cryptid-themed game in the world, MetaZoo is perhaps the first of them to utilize lesser known regional cryptids like the Dover Demon.
You see, when Pokemon was first released in 1996, no one cared about Charizard. While Charizard is now a household name, it took an incredible amount of resources for the brand to pierce the cultural veil. Think of everything the Pokemon franchise is composed of: TV shows, movies, video games, card games, and more.
Being a Massachusetts native, the Dover Demon requires no introduction. Every kid in the schoolyard had heard rumors of the Dover Demon -- an alien-like figure that lurked in the woods. MetaZoo's plan to capitalize on these nostalgic childhood monsters while also introducing us to new ones is simply brilliant.
Structure of the Game
We're not going to nerd out too hard on the nuances of the game so please click here to review a full overview of the game rules.
MetaZoo is composed of cryptids, spells, artifacts, potions, and casters. Casters equip themselves with pages (cards) from their spellbook (deck). Each caster begins with 1,000 life points. Casters win the game by successfully bringing their opponents life to 0
Below is a page featuring Sam Sinclair. While similarities like rarity symbol, ability description, and attack power are reminiscent of other card games, MetaZoo features two unique descriptors: 'meta-data' and '4th wall effects'
Meta data gives players insight into the origins of the cryptid. The '4th wall effects' give cryptids a boost in power if casters (players) are near certain places or objects in real life. Sam Sinclair's attacks will receive 25 bonus points of damages if casters (players) are battling in a "daytime" setting. Below is a variety of 4th wall effects that can be found on cryptids.
The Meta Zoo Ethos
Michael Waddell, the founder and CEO of MetaZoo Games, is a data scientist with a list of professional and academic achievements that would make your head spin. In his most recent interview, he disclosed his philosophy behind MetaZoo: a card game with all the vintage aspects of Pokemon and with all the complexity of Magic the Gathering.
The idea is to prioritize the spirit of the game over money. Accessibility to the game is paramount and MetaZoo's pricing will not be based on the secondary market. In other words, MetaZoo's pricing will be predicated entirely around the company's original vision and will not fluctuate to capitalize on any 'hype' or turbulent market conditions. The player comes first.
While the game is still incredibly niche, it's hard to deny the reality of their proposal. With so many disenfranchised players being priced out of their favorite games, one has to wonder: where will they go? Will they quit trading card games completely or will they gravitate towards player-focused games like MetaZoo?
Time will tell. Ironically, MetaZoo seems to have already become a victim of their own circumstance. The products from their Kickstarter campaign are already on the secondary market fetching upwards of $2,000. If Waddell's interview is any indication of what's to come, it might not be wise to make speculative bets on MetaZoo.