Kardboard Kings

Kardboard Kings Review

Game: Kardboard Kings
Genre: Casual, Indie, Simulation, Strategy
System: Nintendo Switch (also available on Steam)
Developer | Publisher: Henry’s House, Oscar Brittain, Rob Gross | Akupara Games
Age Rating: US Teen | EU 3+
Price: US $14.99 | UK £11.61 | EU € 12,59
Release Date: December 8th, 2022

Review code used with many thanks to Akupara Games.

Kardboard Kings is a fun and casual management simulator where you can live out the ultimate dream of every card enthusiast. As the shopkeeper and manager of a local card shop, you buy, sell, and collect various cards while nurturing friendships with a colourful cast of characters and making a name for yourself in the Kardboard empire.

Will your shop thrive or sink to the bottom?

The Story

You play as Harry Hsu, the son of a card game shop owner in Parakeet Bay, Australia. Your father, George Hsu, has recently passed away, and you inherit his rundown shop. You are responsible for monitoring the card inventory, buying and selling, and increasing your shop reputation as the new shop owner.

<Kardboard Kings> LadiesGamers.com [Harry's card shop]
Harry’s card shop – is open seven days a week, 8 hours a day!
There is also a strange talking parrot teaching you about the shop and card game basics and giving (sometimes unhelpful) advice. The parrot, Giuseppe, plays a large role in the story, which isn’t revealed until the end. The founder of the Warlock card game, Christopher Marlowe, has fallen from grace and is sick of dealing with the big corporations, so he tries to wrestle control of the shop from you. It is up to you to save the shop and restore balance to the Warlock community.

Can you beat Christopher Marlowe at his own game?

Game Mechanics and Controls

Kardboard Kings is a single-player, point-and-click game. A short tutorial at the beginning of the game teaches you how to buy cards from Gbay, display them in your store, buy cards from customers, and close shop at the end of the day.

<Kardboard Kings> LadiesGamers.com [Gbay site]
Buying cards from Gbay
Christopher Marlowe also gives you a magazine which explains how to run the shop, giving you tips on making a profit as well as managing inventory. A helpful tip when buying from Gbay is to check out your cards and store decorations all at once to get the bulk discount and only pay the flat shipping fee once.

Managing the Card Shop

Like every other management simulator, you need to be able to multi-task and do several things at once. The day goes by fast, and your shop reputation determines the number of customers you get in a day, the chance of rush hour happening, and the number of tasks you can complete per week. More customers mean there are more cards you need to buy and sell, so you need to keep track of your budget. Running out of cards and money results in closing the shop; you definitely don’t want that happening!

A great way to increase profit is to look at the News section every day to see which cards are trending, which are increasing in popularity from tournaments, and which are on the ban list. That way, you know which cards to buy and which ones to avoid selling.

<Kardboard Kings> LadiesGamers.com [Inside the shop]
Can we get our reputation to be amazing?
The shop is a little rundown, so you can beautify the shop by buying flooring, floor covers, wallpaper, small decorations, big decorations, and posters. You cannot move the shelves around. However, you can place the decorations wherever you want and add a little personal touch to the store. Beautifying the shop doesn’t earn you anything, but it does releases endorphins!

A salesman also comes around to give you shop goals, such as obtaining x number of cards for x days or making a certain amount of money for six days. Complete the shop goal by the due date, and you will receive a decoration in return. You can also get your hands on a particular decoration through Gbay, although it will cost you some money.

Making Friends with the Locals and Increasing Shop Reputation

Increasing your reputation is necessary for holding certain shop events like Booster Night (where you randomly choose booster card packs) and tournaments. One way to increase reputation is by talking to the customers. They will either ask you to trade or buy cards from them. Or they will ask you which card deck would win in a battle. Reputation will increase if you agree to their demands or guess which card deck wins correctly. However, your reputation will go down if you don’t trade or buy from them and guess the incorrect victor of the card battle.

<Kardboard Kings> LadiesGamers.com [Francis Barone]
Should I give Francis the Legendary Card or not?
Another way to increase reputation is by fulfilling requests over the phone. If you can’t fulfil the request, you will not lose your reputation, unlike conversing with the customers.

Visuals and Music

The characters’ designs are drawn in a comic-book style, which I find to be very aesthetically pleasing. Every character is uniquely designed, and there are a variety of body shapes and sizes. But this game’s major selling point is card art. The cards are so beautifully detailed that I wouldn’t mind collecting these cards in real life. My favourite, especially, is the Dark Moon set, which was the first collection I completed in this game.

<Kardboard Kings> LadiesGamers.com [Dark Moon set]
My favourite card set. Look at the detail!
The music for Kardboard Kings suits the theme of the shop well. It has a very chill lo-fi vibe that is reminiscent of music in hipster cafés and independent record stores.

Collectables and Achievements

A new card set release party occurs every month. After the party is over, the new cards will be up for sale on Gbay. You can then buy, sell, and collect the new cards. It is always a welcome pleasure to see the designs of the new cards and see which is the rare one.

<Kardboard Kings> LadiesGamers.com [Set release party]
Set release party, complete with balloons and booze
The story of Kardboard Kings is relatively short (around 3 hours to complete), but there are over a hundred cards to collect. After playing the game for two days straight, I still haven’t unlocked all the card sets. Personally, I enjoy collecting the cards more than anything else in the game.

<Kardboard Kings> LadiesGamers.com [New set release]
Everybody Gets Cake is such a cute set!
The King of Games mode and Game Card Island are unlocked once you complete the main story. The King of Games mode offers a greater challenge for players, while Game Card Island is where you can actually play the Warlock battle game with other NPCs. I find the Warlock game pretty difficult as it involves strategy, but it is a fun challenge.


At first glance, Kardboard Kings seems like just another run-of-the-mill management simulation. But the characters, the game design, the wonderful visuals, and the challenge of running your own card shop make this a worthwhile game to play.

I will play this game some more to complete my growing card collection and try to beat Card Game Island. This is definitely one of the best management simulators on the market.

Final Verdict: Two Thumbs Up
Two thumbs up


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