It's no easy thing to tell MMORPG and TCG (Trading Card Games) players apart. Their audiences are pretty similar and quite open to a little crossover between genres. Card games aren’t just for hobby shops anymore. Now you can play with your friends on your PC from almost anywhere. What are you waiting for?
Magic: The Gathering Online
As the direct online adaptation of the popular paper game, Magic: the Gathering Online uses a virtual economy mirroring the paper market. Packs of trading cards can be purchased for prices matching their physical equivalent, and events/tournaments require entry fees in order to participate.
Originally released in June 24, 2002, Magic Online was originally developed by Leaping Lizard Software before development was taken in-house by Magic publisher Wizards of the Coast. A wide range of game rooms will allow players of different levels to find just the right environment for them, from casual pick-up games to highly competitive tournaments.
HEX: Shards of Fate
Cards, strategy and action. You begin by choosing a race and class, which affects the cards and abilities you start with, and has further implications in the campaign mod. At present the play options are a standard versus mode and a built-in tournament format.
It uses 60-card decks, enables you to play cards on your opponent’s turn, its creatures go back to full health at the end of combat, and a lot of other stuff that will feel unfamiliar for Hearthstone players.
Star Crusade has many game mechanics that fans of Hearthstone will recognize. The gameplay mechanics, the way in which you interact with the cards on the board, the deckbuilder, and even the hero powers are all similar (some, identical) to Hearthstone. I was prepared to be disappointed with this fact, however, there are many features and mechanics introduced in Star Crusade that give it a different strategic feel and actually might make it superior to its forbearing game.
The layout of the game board is similar to almost every two-player, casual CCG that Star Crusade will inevitably be competing against in an already overcrowded genre. Players will have a starting hand with the ability to send as many of these cards back to their deck as they wish, and hope for a better replacement.
Playing cards and card interactions such as attacks are very similar to those same CCGs. Your card plays are restricted by the standard incremental resource system, called ‘Supply’ in Star Crusade. However, the Supply can also influence the outcome of some cards which have their effects resolve based on the current number of Supply you have available.
Many of the keywords copied over from other CCGs have changed names but with similar effects. For example, the Screen effect in Star Crusade is the same as Taunt in Hearthstone. You can always see a card’s effect at a glance when you long press the card with your left mouse button or while deckbuilding. The familiarity of these keyword abilities will help you settle into the gameplay with very little need for adjustment.
Storm Wars is set in a fantasy world of elves, orcs, machines, and many other races. The game uses casual card battle mechanics that make it accessible and very easy to learn. Although it is currently still in alpha, the first impressions were able to impress us.
The game is visually well polished with a clean and crisp user interface, beautiful card art, and amazing visual effects. The objective is to reduce the enemy Hero’s life points to zero with your Army. Your Army comprises of cards that have attack and health values of their own, and many will also have special effects which influence the outcome of the battle. Each card also comes with a timer value which is the number of turns that unit must wait until it deploys on the battlefield.
On each player’s turn, one card is drawn from their deck. Unit cards will wait their allotted number of turns and will then automatically deploy to the battlefield. They will then attack the opposite unit each turn or the opposing Hero if there is no card opposite, except a few cards that attack random units. This is your typical casual card battle system with no control over what happens once the battle begins, so if you’re not a fan of this style, you may not enjoy Storm Wars.
SolForge takes inspiration from Yu-Gi-Oh and MOBAs. Its decks are comprosed of cards that level up as they are placed in one of five lanes. You can only play two cards a turn and, at the end of each, you discard your hand and draw five new ones.
You have five slots for creatures, most of which can’t move once they’ve been played. Each turn, every creature that can attack does so, trading damage with the creature directly opposite it. If there isn’t a creature to take the hit, they deal damage to the opponent’s health, which starts at 100. There are many creatures and cards that take advantage of being adjacent to other creatures or in a specific spot on the playing field.
More advanced than other similar games, Spellweaver uses advanced mechanics to appeal to more hardcore players. It features the fast-paced gameplay that digital CCG fans of Hearthstone would enjoy, with the complex board states and a greater degree of interactivity that fans of Hex or Magic: the Gathering would appreciate.
The first thing to note is just how beautifully presented Spellweaver is. The user interface and visual design are superb and have been significantly updated to surpass what we saw in our early preview. The card art is fantastic and fits the theme of the game’s different magical realms to which the creatures and spells belong. Perhaps the best visual feature takes place in combat, where the board splits open and inserts a combat row between the two player zones, which then retracts when combat is over. It’s a nice touch to have a 3D animated battleground like this.
If you’re familiar with Magic: The Gathering, you will be able to grasp the basic concepts in Spellweaver very quickly. However, there are also new gameplay features that distinguish it from the numerous Magic clones that are out there while also utilizing more modern CCG design elements that are in games such as Hearthstone.
What Spellweaver delivers in gameplay is what Magic could have been if it were released today as a new game, using modern design and mechanics. Most of the core card types and names remain much the same with a few adjustments here and there: creatures are your fighting force, spells replace Sorceries but work in the same way, Instant Spells are just that, and Artifacts have permanent or triggered effects that are designed to give you an advantage.