Free Games are games available on Steam entirely for free, with no in-game purchases associated with them. Unlike most games with trading cards, where you receive 1/2 the cards in the set for purchasing and playing the game, and Free to Play games where cards are received from making in-game purchases, there's no way to directly receive cards from free games.
For a long time, it wasn't possible for these sorts of games to have cards sets because Valve didn't have a system where they could be received. With the introduction of Gems with the Holiday Sale 2014 event, though, it became possible to craft booster packs for free games. The cost of a booster pack is equal to 6000 divided by the number of cards in the series. To be able to craft a booster pack for a free game, it's first necessary to install the game in Steam to associate the game with your account (it's not necessary to keep it installed after that.)
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