The interesting idea to me about card games is how we had several waves of CCGs (Collectible Card games) that include or were spawned from Magic: The Gathering. The basic business model is cheap-ish buy-in (a Starter Deck was maybe $20 when the game first came out? Looks like the modern one is about $10) but allow for ‘popcorn’ buying where you might as well attach a vacuum hose to your wallet to get boosters at a price kids could afford under the parental radar.
Rarity is a thing, so you might have to open countless packs to get a specific card.
The responses to this system were many: Fans with money (Usually adults when I was a teenager and M:tG was new) would just buy entire boxes of cards to raise their chances. Stores started selling singles: Like used books, records, etc. they’d pay pennies for card collections and such (and buy those boxes of new cards) to get the rare cards and dump the rest for practically nothing.
This led to a boom.bust cycle that has probably occurred a few times. In the mid 90s, I feel like every RPG company and any remotely popular sci-fi/fantasy property got a CCG. Most died and are practically unremembered. TSR, the D&D company, had multiple incompatible games that essentially competed with each other, I think. A number of game stores over-invested and got burned with CCG stock they couldn’t sell.
So anyway, newer companies have switched models a bit, making things like “Living Card Games” that are more focused on letting you buy the whole game (1 or more of every card) to make life easier.
But then another twist occurred. Deckbuilder games
Deckbuilders are a sort of CCG/Board Game hybrid. They’re based on principles from CCGs, but make putting a deck together (I.E. picking the cards to use) actually part of the game, not an isolated activity.
From what I’ve seen, with most deckbuilders you start with a fixed “deck” that miss mostly 5-10 basic cards. Each player has a fixed deck at start of a game, and it’s all in one box. No collectible component. You play a sort of ‘mini-M:tG’ but with the added bonus of being to add/remove cards from your deck by various means. As you cycle through you’re replacing the crap basic cards with better cards that generate more resources, add special abilities, and make accomplishing the game’s winning objective easier.
Deckbuilders are an interesting evolution. They make what started as something of a side-part of the CCG “ecosystem” a full-fledged part of the game while at the same time making ‘net decks’ less of a thing: Net-decks were the debated and reviewed online decks, and were seen as something of a shortcut to be competitive.
Although I’ve perhaps wandered off-topic a bit. Pokemon is weird as it was a sort of multi-media thing. CCG, cartoon, and video game share settings and such, but they’re not really the same mechanics. Just three different ways to make animal fighting rings child-friendly.