Nostalgix is a trading card game that was released in the Fall of last year. It combines multiple aspects from different tcgs, to create the ultimate trading card game experience. I also had to chance to get in a quick conversation with the Nostalgix people at Pax East and they contacted me to review some products as well. Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing the President of Nostalgix Hunter Angell.
LOGNET: First thank you for allowing Lognet and myself the chance to have this interview with you Hunter. As well as the ability to review some of your products that I’ll have coming soon. For those who are not familiar with the Nostalgix TCG, can you give us an overview of how the game works, the lore, and some of its prominent features?
Hunter: Sure thing! Nostalgix is based on Hero vs. Hero gameplay with two win conditions. Either defeat your opponent’s Hero, or 10 of their Fighters that can evolve and become more powerful over time. You can cast Spells and lay Surprise cards face-down, springing these traps to surprise your opponent. Even attach Equipment cards to your fighters or even your Hero and modify the Arena you’re playing in to turn the tide of battle. Our universe is built upon a multiverse theory allowing crossovers with other properties via mysterious portals but fundamentally contains very interesting lore in and of its own.
Here’s a quick introduction. During a protection ritual one day, two of our characters (Corvus and Shiiga) have their forest village invaded. In the calamity that follows, Corvus is able to stop the invasion, but at great peril. The spell he casts goes terribly awry, obliterating all the surrounding soldiers with dark magic that rends a hole straight through reality. He is sucked into the resulting Void leaving his friend, and soul twin, Shiiga to stitch together what happened—eventually seeking vengeance on the kingdom responsible for the invasion.
Shiiga’s ascent from lowly mage to our inevitable final boss in the canon is filled with surprises, mysteries, and a lot of introspection. How far would you go to save someone you loved? As more portals appear across the world, characters from all across existence begin to emerge in our universe. This includes actual humans, seemingly stolen from their universes when they fell asleep. Together with the help of our native heroes, the forces of this collective group must stop the formation of these portals and find a way to send everyone back home.
LOGNET: How did you come up with the idea, and what made you decide to create Nostalgix?
Hunter: In about 2019 I was making custom Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh, and Magic The Gathering cards. I’d brought together a group of 50 some artists Nick Fury style to create the best-looking custom cards the world had ever seen. More or less creating the industry at the time. We’d take digital works or even extended cards that were oil painted beyond their frames and make it possible for fans of these artists to acquire actual copies of these custom works using a process I invented. Eventually, we had done it all and wondered, what’s next? With the ever-vagueness of whether companies supported custom artists like us or not, we worked to shift gears, instead making our own IP where we could continue to work without the feel of big brother one day shutting down what we’d created. The rest is history.
LOGNET: How big is the team behind Nostalgix?
Hunter: This varies, but in our Base Set’s creation we utilized the artist skill of over 10 artists. Harmonic Surge (our second set) we trimmed that down a bit. But then introduced a new program called “Secret Shards.” Where we showcase up-and-coming artist designs, allowing us to experiment and test the waters with new artists before introducing them into a full set release. We’ve had a few people on salary ever since the Kickstarter campaign concluded to assist with more permanent needs. Generally, we’re an ever-rotating and expanding group of creators looking to make something unique and fun.
LOGNET: How has going the route of Kickstarter helped or hindered the process of creating and developing Nostalgix?
Hunter: It’s helped a lot in terms of advertising and clearly financing. You get that initial surge of outside exposure which was cool to see. Collectively our artist network’s reach at the time of Kickstarter creation was over a half million TCG lovers. We had a dedicated email list of 14,000+. But we did manage to pick up quite a few outsiders with it, which was good to see. Beyond that, having a Kickstarter introduced many more stressors than you’d imagine. It’ll show we made some $935,000, but this is certainly not the full story. We received just over $800,000 from Kickstarter after fees and last-second dropouts pledgers. Still, a huge amount to be sure.
We were only asking for $100,000 to bring Nostalgix to life. But with the explosive growth came expectations and unknown pressures. Not sure if making a board game or video game on Kickstarter is like this. I will say many TCG backers on Kickstarter seem to have a lot of pre-existing notions of how everything should be done, and they’re going to let you know. If you’re not instantly an expert in international shipping logistics, manufacturing, copyright, multi-media marketing, video production, organized play, store networking, and world-building, they’re going to eat you alive and proclaim to the world. So to say I’ve got a love/hate relationship with Kickstarter is fitting.
It’s a wonderful marketing platform that has and will change many lives, but creators beware. The backers on it are ordinary, sometimes investment-style people, risking their funds on your project. That lends them a sense of ownership over your idea that is otherwise not present in online purchases. People get emotional about things they believe they ‘own’ which can lead to a lot of disagreements and vitriol. One thing is fair, if you start a Kickstarter for a project, you’re going to learn a lot. Really fast.
LOGNET: What does the creative process look like when creating and completely new TCG, as well as continuing to make it interesting and bring more people in? Also, what was the inspiration for Nostalgix when you decided to create a new TCG?
Hunter: The fundamental game design was the result of me essentially locking myself in my apartment for a month and going how did these other games get it right? I compared the first 3 sets of my top 4 favorite games at the time. Those are Pokémon, Hearthstone, Yu-Gi-Oh, and Magic The Gathering. By printing out each card in these and grouping them in unique ways I was able to blend them and find the commonalities. As to the character design, it was my goal from the start to create a game where basically: “Rick and Morty could fight each other riding a Blue-Eyes White Dragon and a Charizard respectively. All while one was wielding a portal gun and the other a Master Sword.”
That’s insane of course, but I wanted Nostalgix to be open to a multiverse-style game. We’re already blending elements, so it only makes sense. However, copyright law exists so how can we pull it off? My solution was to take ideas from pop culture and real-world culture and blend them together. A perfect example is Gelephant. The embodiment of the phrase ‘Elephant in the Room’. What fills a room? How about a gelatinous cube? Gelatinous Elephant? Gelephant.
LOGNET: How do you and the team differentiate Nostalgix from all the other tcgs that already exist?
Hunter: Our biggest differentiator is that it’s from us. We made some of the best custom cards on the planet, which gave us our incredible art quality. We’re making something family-friendly, with the art quality of Pokémon or Yu-Gi-Oh. But on a scale small enough to where we can take risks. We can cross over with games and companies they wouldn’t, and you don’t have to like anime to enjoy us. Many of our characters are universally accessible and derivative of real-world examples and my personal nostalgia from growing up as a 90s baby.
LOGNET: One thing I noticed from the get-go is an interesting and unique art style for Nostalgix. What’s the Inspiration behind the unique art style?
Hunter: It’s really a fusion of our past work creating custom Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh cards. I’m a massive fan of the diversity of Pokémon’s card game and how they always honor the artists on the cards they make. We wanted to have that transparency and diversity right off the bat. So we work with digital and traditional artists. We don’t artificially restrict ourselves to one style because our world, like the real one, is a melting pot. In our focus to continually surprise and delight our fans, we’ve found great pleasure in mixing things up stylistically.
LOGNET: What were some of the challenges in the development process that you and the team faced?
Hunter: One tricky thing we’ve noticed is that Pokémon can re-use characters for a long time. Which is something we intend to do as well. But where they have a TV show, we do not. So integrating our Nostalgix characters into a universe that is fully fleshed out has been a priority. There’s also the matter of inventing new, exciting, and possibly nostalgic characters for each set. There’s a lot of room right now, so we’ve been focusing on themes for new sets to really hone in on which nostalgic beats to hit. Pokémon can come out with a generation of new creatures every few years. We feel the need to do this a couple of times a year right now.
LOGNET: I’ve been an avid Magic The Gathering player for around 18 years and I’m also a certified level 1 judge. I’ve also played Yu-Gi-Oh over the years. One thing Magic has been doing wrong in my opinion lately is with how much product they flood us players with. It’s almost like we are drowning and can’t keep up with everything they release both good and bad. So what does the release cadence look like for the Nolstagix TCG?
Hunter: Our current plan is to release a new major set every 6 to 8 months. Then we plan on releasing experimental/art-based sets every quarter. Currently, Secret Shards is running monthly, but we feel the program could use an adjustment to become something more. And we hope to begin that new phase here starting in June.
LOGNET: What are some of the Nostalgix products that fans can look forward to?
Hunter: Most immediately, Harmonic Surge launching on June 2nd. The product is arriving at our warehouse this week and is ready for an on-time release. Following that, the new Secret Shards will be very exciting for everyone. If you’ve seen our jumbo texture cards, you know we can make one heck of a trading card. This will be where we flex that.
LOGNET: Are there any plans for some type of tournament scene for the game?
Hunter: Yeah! We’re actually in the process of onboarding stores to our NGEM Play Network. Join us as both a player and a store over at http://play.nostalgixtcg.com – or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
LOGNET: If you don’t mind me asking are there any examples or sneak peeks of future plans you can share with us and the audience?
Hunter: I can. In the future of Nostalgix’s physical TCG, past the launch of Harmonic Surge, we will be shifting to a Space and Spirits set called Cosmic Collision. Here’s a teaser of an upcoming fighter from that set named Galacturtle.
Beyond physical TCG releases. We are currently working on a digital port of the game NGXO or Nostalgix Online. We are also working on a graphic novel called Nostalgix: Battle for Makora. Both of these are highly anticipated and will make the game more accessible and deep for all of our current and future fans.
LOGENT: You have come this far with Nostalgix through Kickstarter, Pax East, and a successful release so far. What advice do you have for other people thinking of going the route of creating a new game like this and what would you like to tell the fans of the game out there?
Hunter: Creating a trading card game is a dream of many. I’d encourage those interested to find a mentor, develop a very large and solid community/fan base, and make friends with creators and artists along the way. You’re going to need a whole lot of help to make it, but anything is possible. However, making a game is not all fun and games, it’s a lot of hard work. Evaluate what success means to you, and keep pushing to improve yourself. Learn new things every day and seek expert guidance.
Everyone will have an opinion on how you should do it. It’ll be your job to figure out which to listen to and direct your vision accordingly. For fans new and old, thank you for helping bring Nostalgix to life. I continue to pledge each day of my life in service of this universe we’ve created and promise new and exciting stories to be told, and new adventures to be had in the future. Let’s make some memories and friends together, and keep on playing. Till our next battle. Zaba out!
Everyone here at LOGNET would like to thank the President of Nostalgix Hunter Angell for this interview. Also, we appreciate the little sneak peek/preview he provided as well. Over the years I have seen many trading card games come and go. I have maybe played around 50 different TCGs throughout the years. I don’t want to reveal too much about my review yet, but I do think Nostalgix has the staying power to stick around for quite some time. We look forward to the game’s continued success.