The Trading Card Games have become a cornerstone of the hobby industry with hundreds of thousands of active players being recorded each month. Covid-19 has most definitely thrown a spanner in the works by interrupting Organised Play on local, national and international levels. Fortunately, the publishers of the three cornerstone Trading Card Games each have digital alternatives to their countertop counterparts! These are easily accessible and playable with zero barrier to entry (except having a stable internet connection!) Each of them are free with optional in-game purchases. I will outline the digital alternatives for the three major Trading Card Games, where to get them, and some additional information that you might find helpful. Let’s begin!

Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links:

Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links is an exciting and accessible way to experience the Trading Card Game while adding its own little twist. You will be able to play against other duelists, traverse an AI-driven storyline, and build your own deck from your collection.  It is free-to-play and is available on mobile (Android & iOS) as well as on Steam (PC). Check it out at:!

Pokémon The Trading Card Game Online (PTCGO):

If you have ever found codes in your Pokémon boosters now you know why! Pokémon the Trading Card Game Online is the digital sibling of the well-known physical Trading Card Game. With every set released, the game incorporates the same cards and meta as its Tabletop counterpart. You can take on Pokémon Gym Leaders by participating in the Trainer challenges which unlock theme decks for you to play with. You can also play against evenly-skilled players in the Versus mode!

Once you have found your footing, unlocked some cards, and built a few decks you can begin participating the PTCGO events! These are small tournaments which require event tickets which are earned though casual play. This is a great way to hone your skills and win some booster packs. As you play, you unlock Pokécoins which can be spent to unlock booster packs from the latest sets.

For those unfamiliar, the game comes with an extensive tutorial to get you on your feet! So what are you waiting for? Download the game client on PC and begin your journey to becoming the best Pokémon trainer!

Magic: The Gathering Arena:

Informally known as “the best card game you have never heard of”, Magic: The Gathering has become synonymous with the hobby industry as the leading Trading Card Game. Wizards of the Coast have also digitally ported the card game into a video game format that caters to both the casual player and the hardcore player.

The game offers you a fantastic gateway into the game by providing you with some pre-constructed decks. It also offers multiple modes of play. Play against the AI or begin challenging players across the multiple formats available. If you wish to take your experience to the next step, the game allows for the purchase of gems which can be used to either purchase additional boosters or enter into “Sealed drafts”. This allows you to build a deck from a few sets of boosters and play against other drafted decks. There are also regular weekly events which provide a theme or certain deck restrictions to spice up your gameplay experience.

With its beautiful artwork and graphic design, Magic: The Gathering Arena offers a highly-technical but visually-stunning look into the world of Magic. The passion that goes into the game’s mechanics, artwork, and lore are unparalleled.

Download Arena here and discover your fate as a Planeswalker!

Each of these games offer vastly different experiences for the players, setting them apart and catering to a variety of playstyles. If you are new to TCGs, there are some fantastic deck-building and gameplay guides available through YouTube and other websites. This might be the best time to hone your skills so that once the lockdown has been lifted, you can enter into the scene and dominate your favourite at your Friendly Local Gaming Store.

Be sure to join our Unplug Yourself Facebook page where you will have access to exciting news and events happening around South Africa! Also consider signing up to the Unplug Yourself newsletter that will contain curated information and articles to introduce you into the world of Tabletop Gaming. Our Facebook group, #PlayAtHome is a gateway to share and learn about how others are making the most of lockdown by taking advantage of physical and digital Tabletop games. Until then: Be Safe. Wash Your Hands. #PlayAtHome.

Unplug Yourself Facebook Page –

Sign up for the UY Newsletter –

Join our #PlayAtHome Facebook page –