The Imposter Kings: A Shining Foil to Trading Card Games


As we look ahead at the year 2024, it is hard not to be barraged by an onslaught of companies desperately trying to find a share in the TCG market space. During the pandemic lockdowns in 2020, TCGs went through a renaissance of sorts with market prices skyrocketing and demand rising to exponential heights. Since this bubble, we have seen a multitude of new TCGs enter the market (and some die) in an attempt to capitalize on that easy cardboard money. In order to assure some level of short term success, many of these companies are seeking out strong IPs in order to back the games. Disney, Star Wars, One Piece, Pokemon, Yugioh, UniVersus: My Hero Academia are all TCGs that would not exist if it weren’t for the massive amount of material associated with the dedicated IP. Even Magic: The Gathering has resorted to acquiring a number of IPs in order to continue pushing sales. Transformers, Walking Dead, Stranger Things, and Lord of the Rings (to name a few) have already graced the hallowed pringled borders of Magic with the likes of Assassin’s Creed and Fallout coming this year. Few games have found success with a brand new IP. Flesh and Blood is the anomaly and maybe one of the biggest reasons for a revival occurring among TCGs. Through FaBs success, it has shown other companies that with enough polish and skill, you can succeed with a new game in the TCG marketplace.

I feel like almost every day I am hearing of a new TCG kickstarter meeting its goal, another TCG dying, or another TCG fighting to survive. It is a tough world to compete in and as the market continues to get further saturated, it becomes a fierce battle to retain the consumers' time and money. As someone who has been a TCG player for a couple decades and now is fortunate enough to have a career in it, I think right now is an amazing time to be a card game player. The amount of “good” card games being produced is staggering compared to the 10+ year long tyranny ruled by the big three (Pokemon/Magic/Yugioh). But TCGs are a lot like shoes. Even if you have 20 shoes at home, you can only wear one pair at a time (Unless you want to mix and match but that doesn’t really work in a card game metaphor). You could like 3-5 card games currently on the market but with new set releases happening every few months, a changing meta, and player skill improving, it can be very difficult to keep up with all those games at once. Not to mention expensive. Then there is the vast difference between casual and competitive player interactions within the game. Magic was really able to capture this dynamic by supporting Pro level events and supporting Commander, which is probably the most successful casual way to enjoy a TCG. But many TCGs struggle with this balance especially now with everyone’s target audience becoming smaller and smaller. So what should you do? Should you trade in your pokeballs for light sabers? Should you dedicate your life to the House of Mouse? I believe that there is another game that demands your attention above all other TCGs currently on the market. A game so good, that I believe it should be in every single TCG player’s backpack. 

This game is called The Imposter Kings.

What is The Imposter Kings?

The Imposter Kings is a game that I’ve had a hard time categorizing with people. I’ve described it as card game chess, one deck sealed, “kind of like the game Love Letter if you’ve heard of that”, the last few turns of a finals game, and the best card game I’ve ever played. I think the website describes it the best:

The IMPOSTER KINGS is a card game where you try to figure out what your opponent is doing and outsmart them (and then make them CRY).

Each turn new information is revealed telling you something about your opponent’s STRATEGY.

Taking advantage of that KNOWLEDGE while crafting your own plan is the key to winning the throne.

I would highly recommend watching this fantastic short video (1:45) in order to see how the game is played before continuing the article.

How to Play The Imposter Kings

 (As I continue this article, it will be under the assumption that the reader watched the video)

Like the video states, it is quick to play but difficult to master. The beauty of the game comes from how much depth lies within the simplicity. While teaching others how to play, I have had people pick it up instantly and others start short circuiting at the thought of how many possibilities there are within one round of gameplay. I see that as good game design. 

The Imposter Kings is a Living Card Game. Those of you familiar with board games may know this term but those deeply involved in TCGs may not. A LCG does not compete in the same market space as a TCG. A large portion of money made by TCGs is through the creation of new sets every few months and then having consumers buy packs that have random cards from that set in them. LCGs will always contain the same cards in the box that correspond with that expanded set. This does not require the same amount of financial investment to play the game and it provides a more even playing field for accessibility among the entire player base. The difference between this game and many other LCGs is the time it takes to learn and begin playing.

This game started as something to do between my tournament rounds of Flesh and Blood. A brain detox in a way. It was fast, fun, challenging and a great way to keep the day fresh. It wasn’t until I started playing it for 8 hours a day while vending at SCGCON Cincinnati that I realized the depth this game had. I was blown away and now fanatically share the great news of The Imposter Kings to every person I can.

What makes The Imposter Kings Great?

The first thing that struck me was the art. The artist, Michael Hirshon, has created such timeless pieces of art in this game that it is almost hard to believe they are on cards and not in a museum. Each card oozes personality and lore. Oh yeah, this game has its own lore and unique universe (A new IP!?). You can feel the amount of effort that went into creating each identity of the cards all the way down to the smallest details. Being a game of knowledge and deduction, some cards will have 2 copies in the deck that you must keep track of. When you get to multiplayer modes (Yes, the game supports 2-4 players with different multiplayer decks and game modes) it is important to know which specific copy of the card has made its way around the table. That’s why every duplicate copy of a card has slightly altered art so you can distinguish EVERY individual card in the deck. So make sure you take note of where the Elders are looking or if your Fool is happy or sad.

(If you would like to admire all the art from the game, check out Michael Hirshon’s website here: I'd give him a follow on all the socials as well :)

As I teaser’d above, this game also includes a three player and four player game mode. All in the same box may I add, no expansions necessary. You will just add additional cards to the deck and the game mode slightly alters itself to include the additional players. 4 player mode is 2v2 and some of the most fun I have had compared to any multiplayer TCG format. So not only do you get an insanely fun and skill intensive 1v1 format that you could dedicate hundreds of hours to, you also get a 3 player free for all and a 2v2 mode. Lastly, it has a competitive living rule set where you include two Wardens into your standard 18 card deck and add timers (Competitive play can be watched on youtube and discussed in the official discord). At the end of the day, you can build whatever custom deck you want, mix and match as much as your heart desires. Now that’s value. 

Speaking of value, you get all of this for $30. Yes, $30. In most TCGs, you’d have a hard time buying one staple card for $30. Like I discussed at the very beginning of this article, it’s very hard to play multiple TCGs simultaneously let alone keep up with your current TCG obsession. Imposter Kings doesn’t compete with that at all, it offers an alternative. One of my favorite reviews for the game came from the owner of MinMaxGames. After playing a match of 1v1 Peter said, “this feels like if you skipped the first 200 required hours of getting into a TCG and just got to the good part”. I highly encourage everybody to pick this game up and just keep it with you at events. Who knows, there could be an official Imposter Kings tournament held at the end of the year if enough of you want to compete for the Nersetti throne. 

The last thing I want to mention is about the creator, Sina Yeganeh. I’ve been fortunate enough to speak with Sina about Imposter Kings and it is clearly something he has put a lot of time and effort into making exceptional. Any profit he makes goes right back into improvements and expansions. Sina wants his game to last the test of time and you can see that in the way he has gone about caring for it. Take a look at the website for example: ( Not only does it look great, it offers every resource you could possibly need to play the game. And no, I don’t even mean a link to buy it. Sina has all of the PDFs for the cards available for download so you can print them out and play with proxies first to see if you want to buy the game. Don’t own a printer? No problem, he also has a Tabletop Simulator mod you can download for free to play it online. If you have any questions about the game or are looking for a community, he also has a discord where you can contact him directly. There are new expansions and game modes currently in design with additional resources being made to accompany them. I wish I could say more but further information will be announced about that in the near future. The entire game is dripping with thoughtfulness.


In Conclusion

I write this article purely out of passion for the game. Sina designed this game as a passion project and I think that may be the best way to describe it. Everything from the compact box, the amazing art, the balanced mechanics, and the player experience. There is a passion in all of it that is hard to describe but easy to experience. You’ll have so many moments while playing where you just say to yourself, “wow this game is awesome.” I have yet to share this game with someone and not have them asking me the next day, “got time for a game of Imposter Kings?” I want nothing more than for this game to find its audience among the TCG community because I think it is a game you rarely find. A game that expertly navigates between a casual and competitive experience in the same package. A game that is built for gameplay first and profit second. A game that is so enjoyable, genuine and honest you can’t find a replacement for it. So do yourself a favor and pick up the game, show it to some friends and be prepared to say a lot, “you want to play one more?”

MinMaxGames has begun supporting this game, you can purchase it directly from our website through this link:

I truly believe the future for this game is bright and look forward to seeing all the new players at our next event.

(My favorite card is the Mystic)