Several months ago when most amiibo were impossible to find, we learned Nintendo would perhaps release special amiibo cards.  Initially we thought these would substitute for rare amiibo from the Super Smash Bros. lineup, where instead of pulling out one’s hair searching for Little Mac and Captain Falcon, he or she could acquire each character’s respective card and benefit from the same functionality. Some fans fumed, while others felt it was the best way to train Marth without the hassle of store hopping and dealing with inflated eBay prices. 

Turns out the cards are real but have nothing to do with Smash Bros. Instead, Nintendo will officially release the first series of Animal Crossing cards for the 3DS game Happy Home Designer, both of which debut on September 25.  Each pack will sell for $5.99 and contain six cards with 100 to collect in Series 1; in Japan you’ll find packs with three cards each.  Similar to buying Pokemon cards, every pack comes with a random mix, which means you will accumulate doubles the more packs you buy.  Some cards will be tougher to find than others, so if you consider yourself a hardcore collector, completing a full set will prove troublesome and potentially costly.

Similar to Smash amiibo fans, interested shoppers will split into different groups, those who keep the packs sealed (contents unknown), and those who open them to either collect them all and/or to use these cards in Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer. 

From what we’ve heard, only certain cards work with the game. In fact, every pack contains one special NFC-enabled card. These NFC cards feature the character on one side with a cool sparkly effect, and on the back is the familiar amiibo logo surrounded by a foil border. 

To use an Animal Crossing card with Happy Home Designer, tap the amiibo logo on the New Nintendo 3DS touchscreen. If you don’t have a New 3DS, you’ll have to pick up the NFC Reader and Writer (sold separately or as part of the Happy Home Designer bundle) and wirelessly sync it to your system. 

During gameplay you will receive requests from the various animals on these cards; you take calls on the amiibo phone, of course. From there, you choose to design their homes. Create custom rooms for these creatures and then invite them over to see and presumably admire your work. You can even throw house parties and invite up to four guests per shindig. Finally, to make these things super collectible, you can only receive requests from special characters (Isabelle, DJ K.K. for example) if you have the corresponding cards. Thankfully, Nintendo created a site featuring all of the cards.

Whether or not these cards will be available in large quantities remains to be seen. GameStop is currently sold out online, but you can still pick them up on Amazon, though the site limits every person to four packs. 

Admittedly, $5.99 is a little steep for six cards, and there’s a chance you will become addicted and start buying lots of packs for a full set. All we can say is when Nintendo first released amiibo last November, this writer intended to buy only the Animal Crossing Villager, and now he owns every single amiibo.

If you can’t decide how many card packs to buy, do not look at this poster from GameStop featuring every Animal Crossing card from Series 1. We warned you.

Note: There's a rumor of Amazon delaying cards to next week, specifically September 29.

Now check out these Happy Home Designer tips.