Nooooooo. This is how they get you. This is exactly how Nintendo gets you to spend money on stuff that might just end up in a landfill in a few years.

For those of you that don’t know: today is the release of Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer, a game where you decorate the homes of your favorite Animal Crossing critters. Like most Nintendo games nowadays, Happy Home Designer has amiibo functionality—except these aren’t figurines. They’re cards! The idea, which is Nintendo as hell, is to get people trading with others in real life. Once you have a card, you can actually import the character on it to your game, and hang out with them. Better, you’ll get a chance to decorate some of their houses. (You can also use some of these cards in other Nintendo games, like Mario Maker.)


There are 100 cards in all (right now), and you can buy them in packs of six. Each pack contains five regular villagers, and one special character—all randomized. I went ahead and bought a handful of packs to show you guys what you can expect if you purchase these. Here’s what I got.

Each pack comes in a nice little package

When you open one, you’ll get this:

Alright! Here’s what was inside pack one:

Bluebear, Jitters, Samson, Yuka, Annalisa, and Redd. Nobody I’m particularly fond of here, but hey, it’s the first pack.


You’ll note that each card is numbered, gives you a birthday, and also informs you what type of animal the creature is in the top left corner. There are a couple of other symbols that I’m not 100% sure about, but this is what I gather. The symbol under the name looks like a horoscope sign. Each card also shows a side of a die and a picture or Rock, Paper, Scissors—so you could theoretically play games with them too, though there’s no specific ruleset that I know of. Maybe Nintendo wants you to make it up as you go along.

The rare card in this pack is Redd, the shifty fox that sells you rare (or potentially fake) art in the main games. Rare cards look different—they’re shiny! It’s a little hard to make out in a picture, but...

Second pack!

A definite improvement. We’ve got Muffy, Deli, Snake, Harriet, Clyde and Jambette.

Pack three...

Aww, boo. First repeats with Snake, Clyde, and Jambette, but I can’t be too miffed—look, it’s Timmy Nook!! And also a monkey with an awesome name that I’ve never seen in the main games!

Pack four...

Aww yeah. Check out that Resetti. I can’t even get mad about the extra Cyrano. I also really like the look of Octavian and Fauna, two animals I would love to meet in my game. I never get such cool animals in AC games, so in that sense, it’s nice to be able to have some control over who appears in Happy Home Designer.

And finally, pack five!

You mean to tell me there’s a pigeon with a Knight’s helmet in Animal Crossing that I’ve never met before? Wow, this series. I’m kind of bummed about the Kapp’n card here—that’s the same card that was packaged inside of the game for me, but hey. It’s a ‘rare’ card I can presumably trade for another special one.

So, out of 30 different cards, I got 25 unique cards and five repeating ones. Not bad, but not amazing, either. And really, there was only one card that I wanted above all. You know. That sweet lil puppy on the cover of every single pack. My beloved Isabelle:

Sigh. Don’t get me wrong: I knew there was only a small chance I’d get her. She’s probably one of the rarest cards (or at least, I assume so—it’s hard to get a sense of what the ratio of cards out in the wild is right now). Isabelle is likely the card everyone will want. Nintendo is even releasing a special version of her in Japan; it looks like this:

Ughhhhh. Too adorable. Make it stoooop.

I already have another set of five packs on the way from Amazon; here’s hoping one of them contains my cheerful pup.


You’re probably wondering to yourself: should I bother with these cards? I’d suggest playing Happy Home Designer for an hour or two, seeing how you like it, and go from there. The games come with one card, so you can see how it works first-hand and decide whether or not you think that’s worth an extra investment. I also think that this Animal Crossing game will be somewhat divisive, in that not everyone will be as into the whole ‘decorating houses’ thing—I find it plenty fulfilling, but I know some people will miss being able to do normal stuff, like fishing or making money. Happy Home Designer is more about creativity and being self-directed, and that won’t be everyone’s bag. So I really wouldn’t buy a ton of cards before knowing you like the game first.

I assume hardcore Animal Crossing fans are in the bag already, as the cards provide an easy way of getting to see your old friends once more.

The cards might also be worth it if you’re interested in using Animal Crossing characters in other games, too (like Mario Kart or Mario Maker). Personally, I’m planning a specific course in Mario Maker that requires Isabelle, and I think that’s worth spending money on—but that’s just me. I think you can have a swell time in Happy Home Designer without the cards, and it’s especially a hassle if you’re on the older 3DSes—those require the additional purchase of an attachment that can read the cards. Might not be worth the hassle for some of you.


So then. For those of you that dropped some cash on this stuff, what did you get? And what are you hoping to collect still?

I have my eye set on DJ KK, Tom Nook, Digby, Pascal, Tortimer, Lottie...

Rasher and Tiffany....



Mint, Bangle, Phil, Monique, and Tutu....

Flurry, Biff, Lionel, Amelia...

Cherry, Eugene, Goose...


And Willow:

I’m pretty much doomed, I know. Lord knows how much I’m about to spend on these silly things, all so that I can have some cute animal cards. smh

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