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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Humor: College-centered trading card game “Universe City” expands to UC Davis

“Your ‘Blue-Eyes White Dragon’ is no match for my ‘Blue-Haired White Neo-Liberal’!”

When you hear the name “Universe City,” you might think, “Wow, that just sounds like a lazy play on the word ‘university.’” If so, you would be completely right, but even that didn’t stop the creator of said card game, Dick Garfield, from gathering a popular and growing fanbase.

“I never expected this kind of attention,” said Garfield when asked if he ever expected this kind of attention. “I just wanted to make a trading card game that could appeal to all walks of college life while maintaining the integrity and balance of traditional TCGs like ‘Magic: The Gathering’ and ‘Yu-Gi-Oh! and living up to the success of their competitive scenes. That doesn’t seem like much of a challenge, does it?”

“Universe City,” although not the most clever of names, met that challenge. The game takes popular university tropes and turns them into cards for a player’s deck. Card types include creatures, effects and artifacts, all of which perform different functions and generate certain combinations for powerful attacks. Instead of life points, players start each game with zero debt and rack up debt with each damage dealt to them, losing the duel at $50,000.

Each expansion also releases a new mechanic into the game, such as UC Berkeley’s ever-popular “Unnecessarily Competitive Spirit” and Duke’s “Douchebaggery.” The Davis expansion introduces “Kind Soul,” which boosts the power of cards based on the number of “Kind Souls” on the battlefield.

UC Davis’ expansion, “Gunrock’s Revenge,” is set to release this Spring Quarter on Picnic Day. The cards in this expansion center on quirks and memes that make UC Davis, let’s say, unique. Some pre-release favorites are “Davis Squirrel,” which produces copies of itself each turn, and “Gary S. May — Cosplayer,” a powerful card that weakens all other non-cosplayer cards in play. A few others that require no explanation: “Bike Barn Blitz,” “Pepper Spray Cop,” “Packed J Line,” “Hydro Flask Dropper” and “Umbrella Biker.” Only one of those is a creature card.

“Is it pandering?” said Garfield after being asked whether the card game panders to collegiate fan service. “Probably, a little bit. But pandering to college students with relevant content is really the only way to get them invested in something these days. And what’s wrong with a little pandering anyways? If everyone is seeking an identity in college, a card game like ‘Universe City’ can help shape that identity in a meaningful and fun way, distracting from the actually crippling debt and unrealistic pressure students face.”

Written by: Conner Shaw — cjshaw@ucdavis.edu

(This article is humor and/or satire, and its content is purely fictional. The story and the names of “sources” are fictionalized.)


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