Card games have been played since as early as the Ming Dynasty (1400 AD) and usually involve a deck of cards of identical shape and size. The card's source may be from etched and baked clay tiles which were heavy and not very portable.
History noted the first "playing deck" (52 cards and 4 suits) belonging to the Egyptians around the 9th century, and the first Tarot deck invented by the Italians in the 1430's.
A collectible card game (CCG) - also called a trading card game (TCG) or customizable card game, is a game played using specially designed sets of playing cards. While trading cards have been around for longer, CCGs combine the appeal of collecting with strategic gameplay.
Each CCG system has a fundamental set of rules that describes the players' objectives, the categories of cards used in the game, and the basic rules by which the cards interact. Each card will have additional text explaining that specific card's effect on the game. They also generally represent some specific element derived from the game's genre, setting, or source material. The cards are illustrated and named for these source elements, and the card's game function may relate to the subject.
The modern concept of CCG games was first presented in Magic: The Gathering, designed by Richard Garfield and published by Wizards of the Coast in 1993. An earlier game that might be described as a collectible card game was The Base Ball Card Game produced by The Allegheny Card Co. and registered on April 5, 1904.*
* Description supplied by Wikipedia, 05.2011