Steam's Trading Card Game: find out what is it all about

Martin Brinkmann
May 16, 2013
Updated • Jul 6, 2013

Valve is currently running a beta of Steam Trading Cards on Steam that anyone who is invited to can participate in. It basically goes like this: you earn trading cards by playing Steam games, trading them with friends and other community members, or buying them from the community market. Once you have a set of cards complete, you can turn them into badges.

These badges may get you new emoticons, Steam game coupons or profile backgrounds to name a couple of things. What may be even more interesting is that they also level you up which gives you access to new or improved features like extra friend slots or items that you can showcase on your profile.

How to get invited

There are currently three options to get an invite. You can join the Steam Trading Card group to receive an invite on a first come first serve basis, get the invite on sites like Reddit, or buy the invite on the Marketplace. The current price for an invite is about 2€.

Note that Valve sends out invites in batches every couple of days. It is not clear how many they sent out in each batch. May take a while before you get your invite in your email inbox.

How to earn cards

You earn cards by playing the game.This works similar to item drops work in games such as Team Fortress 2 or Dota 2. Unfortunately though, only half of the required cards will ever drop for you in a game. The other half needs to be traded with other community members.

You can trade with friends who play the same game, find items on the community market, or join trade groups to get the items you are looking for to complete a set of cards.

steam trading cards profile view

You find out about the remaining card drops by clicking on your level. Here you see listed the supported games and your progress. The remaining card drops are listed for each game here.

You can click on any item here to be taken to a page highlighting the cards you have, and which of your friends have cards of the series as well.

Booster Packs

Once players have received all their drops for a particular game, they have a chance to get a booster pack drop instead. These contain three cards that may include basic or foil cards.

Booster packs are also randomly granted to Steam accounts. It appears that you need to log in at least once to be eligible for that though.

The drop rate increases when you reach certain levels:

  • Level 10: 20% increase
  • Level 20: 40% increase
  • Level 30: 60% increase
  • Level 40: 80% increase
  • Level 50: 100% increase

And so on and so forth.

Which games are supported right now?

The following games are currently part of the Steam Trading Card Beta:

  • CS:Go
  • Don't Starve
  • Dota 2
  • Half-Life 2
  • Portal 2
  • Team Fortress 2

Valve will be adding more games to the list in the near future. You can check out all supported games here.

What you earn when you craft a badge

Here is what you will get whenever you craft a badge in the game:

  • The Game Badge itself that you just crafted.
  • A random emoticon for use in chat and discussion groups.
  • A random profile background that you can install on your profile.
  • 100 XP.
  • A chance to receive a discount coupon for a game or DLC.

What else is there to know?

  1. You can level up badgets multiple times.
  2. Trading cards can be bought and sold on the community market for cash money.
  3. The amount of XP you need to level up increases every ten levels. You need 100 XP for the first ten levels, 200XP for the second ten levels and so on.
  4. The increase of your Steam level increases your friend slots limit by five and provides you with additional means to customize your Steam profile.
  5. Every ten levels you get a showcase starting with level ten. Showcases allow you to customize your Steam profile even further.
  6. From level ten on, you can find so called Foil Trading Cards in games. These have a special foil border and can be assembled to a foil badge. They have no other benefit, but are a lot rarer than regular cards.
  7. The Steam Trading Card game is listed as a game in your Steam library. You cannot start it though and when you try, you get a "Failed to start game (missing executable)" error.

Tutorials & Tips

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  1. Paolo said on May 18, 2013 at 1:32 am

    This seems precisely the Compu Gacha mechanic that was banned in japan :)

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