If you grew up during the 90s, you probably have memories of you having fights with your younger brothers or friends over collectable card games that came in all sorts of unique shells and packages- may it be trading cards for collections or collectables for specific decks in order to compete in tournaments. Pokémon was all the rage back then and Nintendo took the world by storm when they released their collectable card game in collaboration with Media Factory, aptly called, The Pokémon Trading Card Game. Kids all over the world could now buy ‘starter packs’ which contained a set amount of random Pokémon cards and then ‘booster packs’, which contained additional cards to enhance their collection. They could then build a deck with these cards and compete with one another in order to become the greatest trainer of all time.
Parents worldwide were flabbergasted at how a seemingly unknown trend swept over the world so fast and managed to captivate their kids, they couldn’t even put down their TV remote. Fast forward to the year 2008, Blizzard Entertainment, one of the largest video game publishers in the world, most notable for the Starcraft, Warcraft and Diablo franchises, appointed a small team of developers called “Team 5” to develop a digital collectible card game based on the Warcraft universe.
By 2012, the team took a page out of The Pokémon Trading Card Game and Magic: The Gathering and had a working copy of the game ready for pre-alpha phase of testing titled ‘Heroes of Warcraft’, which was later released as ‘Hearthstone’ in the year 2014. The massive success of the game led to a plethora of developers all scrambling to make their own rendition of a digital collectible card game, the result being, an endless series of new releases in the digital CCG genre most of which were either unoriginal, or money hungry, or just hearthstone clones. However, over the years, as the frenzy died down, we have been blessed with some extremely innovative releases and some less but all unique in their own flavor. So, today let’s look at the list of video games like Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft you can play on mac, ps4, XBox One, android, iphone and even online.
Shadowverse is a digital collectible card game developed by Cygames in Japan, which quickly grew in popularity in their local community and was later picked by the US and EU regions. The game became so popular that it rivaled that of Hearthstone at one point and people started comparing the two at a similar level. However, lack of support from the developers and the failure to nerf certain OP cards ultimately angered the whole community which led to the eventual downfall of the game. The developers are still trying to fix the game through constant expansion releases and a port to PC in the year 2018 but the game simply doesn’t enjoy the same level of population as it used to. The gameplay is quite similar to that of Hearthstone, where players fight for control and dominance over the board by playing followers (similar to minions) and casting spells in an attempt to reduce the HP of the enemy leader to zero. The game has an interesting evolve mechanic where the followers present in the deck increases in power as the game approaches a certain point in the match. This introduces a certain level of strategy to the gameplay and is one more thing that needs to be considered when building the deck. Other than that, Shadowverse contains some of the best anime style artworks you’ll ever see in a digital card game and couple that with explosive animations and you’ve got premium CCG right there. If you are into card games, this is a must for you, especially since it holds such a special place in the digital card game revolution.
11. Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links
This massively popular anime based on duels using a deck of cards has been long awaiting its digital CCG counterpart, which has now arrived in the form of Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links. The game, developed and published by Konami in the year 2017 for PC, android and iOS, stays mostly true to its original anime version but does make slight changes to the rules of the game in order to make it more accessible for new players. This system known as ‘speed duels’ limits the deck size to 30 cards, caps the starting hand to 4 cards and ‘main phase 2’ is removed from the duel. The game has a very friendly free to play structure where you can attain most of the cards in the roster through casual grinding.
10. Night of the Full Moon
Night of the Full Moon is one of the few indie experiences on a digital handheld device that you are bound to remember for a long time. The game is a single player deck building experience revolving around a little girl in red on her way across a dense and scary forest. Along the way, she encounters several monsters each unique in their own manner, which she must vanquish in order to reach her safe haven at the end of the woods. Equipped with her deck of cards which she can build and upgrade according to her will, she must valiantly fight off all that stands between her path and her destination. The mechanics of the game are extremely fun and borrows heavily from old school text-based adventures but with striking visuals and sound effects. The game was developed by Giant Network and is presently available for download on android and on iOS. The full version costs a mere $5 but the free version makes the whole adventure playable but only with a single class. The art design for this game is breathtaking and deserves a special mention and yes, for those of you who managed to guess correctly, this game is based on The Adventures of Little Red Riding Hood. Watch out for those big, sharp teeth!
9. Card Crawl
Card Crawl is another single player card game where the aim is to withstand the innkeeper’s deck of sixty cards through clever manipulation of tactics and mechanics. The innkeeper provides four cards at random from his deck and the aim is to remove three of the four cards at which point he will deal three more. This continues until the deck is complete, which is when the player wins the game or until the player loses his entire HP at which point the player loses the game. The innkeeper’s deck consists of various monsters, weapons, shields and potions which aids the player during his quest. The game is quite friendly to new players and does not require master level skills to learn the game; however, it does manage to challenge the veteran from time to time in its own weird simple manner. This game is perfect for the commute and we highly recommend you check it out if you haven’t already.
8. Card Quest
8-bit style graphics, fairly intense background music and authentic old school dungeon crawler experience is what Card Quest is all about! The game presents you with a choice of four classes, the wizard, the fighter, the hunter and the rogue, out of which you must choose one to clear the dungeon. The dungeon presents itself in varying levels of difficulty, usually increasing as one descends through the dungeon. The game was developed by WinterSpring Games and published by Black Shell Media and is often regarded by many as the best single player experience available on a hand held device. Don’t be fooled by the simple graphics though, as the game can become quite intense and difficult for even the best of players out there. Definitely not for the faint hearted!
7. Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer
‘Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer’ is more of a deck building game than a collectible card game which is definitely a unique spinoff from the regular digital card games. In Ascension, both players start out with a similar deck consisting of the same ten cards. These cards can be played in a turn in order to gain attack power or runes, which can then be spent to buy more cards for your deck or for defeating monsters. Each monster kill or card buy provides the player with victory points. The game has a total of sixty victory points and the player with the most points at the end of the round takes the win. The game development was headed by professional Magic: The Gathering player Justin Gary and was aided by big names in the digital CCG industry including Brian Kibler of the Hearthstone fame. If you are looking for an innovative game with unique gameplay mechanics then Ascension is perfect for you to dive into. The game requires no pack purchases as the players start out with the same deck and the subsequent free to play experience is quite welcoming. The game is available in both physical and digital formats and the full version of the game for including all the expansions till date is a steal for just $9.99.
6. Elder Scrolls: Legends
This is the game that most closely resembles Hearthstone in its mechanics and gameplay, however, the game does bring some unique points to the table that gives it its own spot in this list. Most of you are familiar with The Elder Scrolls universe, an action RPG developed by Bethesda Studios and first released in the year 1994. The game has enjoyed immense popularity over the years and in the year 2017; Bethesda Studios in collaboration with Dire Wolf Digital released a digital CCG version of the game set in the same fantasy universe for all leading platforms in the industry. The game is extremely similar to Hearthstone where players construct a deck and battle it out on a board in an attempt to reduce the health of the opponent player to zero. However, this is where the game introduces its unique gameplay mechanics. The board is divided into two lanes and creatures in each lane can only attack enemy creatures in that same lane. This introduces unique play styles and strategies for both players involved. The game also comes with a sizeable single player campaign which introduces fun new mechanics making use of the unique lane system. If you’ve been a fan of The Elder Scrolls universe and love playing CCGs similar to Hearthstone, this is the game for you.
This one’s for all the old school DotA lovers out there. Artifact is Valve’s own entry into the digital CCG scramble which is a fresh take on the genre itself. In one word, Artifact justifies a card game rendition of the massively popular game known as DotA. Now for those who do not know, DotA is a co-op game where ten players, five in each team control heroes having special abilities for dominance over three lanes, the main aim being to destroy the ancient located at the enemy base. Similarly, Artifact is played on a board consisting of three ‘lanes’ with two players controlling for dominance on either. There are ‘hero’ cards which the players may choose to drop in any lane depending on their type and subsequently push in that lane. The opponent may choose to defend that lane or push in another lane which ultimately leads to the former defending the aforementioned lane. Now, this is a lot to take in and might seem complicated at first but after a couple of games, the mechanics seem fluid and natural. Creeps are randomly generated at two of the three lanes at the beginning of each round and killing the enemy creeps provide gold which may be spent to buy powerful artifacts at the end of the same. A lot of effort has been put into the development of the game and it’s currently one of the most polished games in the digital CCG market.
Whether you love board games or you love collectible card games, you are bound to love Faeria, an interesting take on the digital CCG genre by Abrakam Studios. At first look, one would be surprised at how different and how vibrant the play field looks and differs from other card games. Faeria is played on a dynamic board, which the players build both gradually and mutually through playing cards from their deck. The board also contains 4 mana wells that the players may control or farm in order to gain more mana points per turn. Both players build a deck consisting of thirty cards which they need to play in order to defeat the enemy avatar at the far side of the board. Similar to most CCGs, there are multiple factions to choose from, each having their unique cards and gameplay style. We highly recommend Faeria if you are tired of the linear gameplay mechanics of most digital CCGs.
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3. Gwent: The Witcher Card Game
The Witcher franchise is one of the best acclaimed games in the modern gaming industry with over 33 million copies of the video game sold worldwide. This franchise follows the adventures of Geralt of Rivia, a Witcher who are monster hunters in a fantasy setting. Many of you might remember this game from the latest installment in the series known as The Witcher 3, which gave players the opportunity to play an innovative card game known as Gwent in the various taverns across the map as a pastime activity. The game was later released as a full standalone game by CD Projekt Red for Windows PC, Playstation 4 and Xbox One in October 2018. Gwent is a turn based CCG between two players but if you think Gwent is like all other CCGs you have played, be prepared to discard that thought out of your deck. In Gwent, the players play a game consisting of three rounds and the best of two wins the game. In each round, the players control a set of three lanes each, which they can play minions into. However, like most CCGs, there is no direct combat involved. Instead, the players earn points for synergies between their units and knocking out opponents units through abilities reduces your opponent’s points. The one with the most points at the end of the round wins the round. This might seem easy on the top but be aware, there is a lot of strategy involved and the learning curve is known to be steep. However, the lore of the characters is spot on and the game manages to capture the atmosphere of the Witcher universe perfectly. The game is mostly free to play with micro-transactions for in-game purchases. However, it is possible for a player to build a formidable card collection through casual grinding alone.
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2. Pokémon: The Trading Card Game Online
You simply cannot be unfamiliar with Pokémon, the craze that took over kids all over the world during the 90s and the early 2000s owing to Ash Ketchum and his quest to ‘catch em all’. During that time, Nintendo released a physical collectible and trading card game card in order to capitalize on the massive popularity of the Pokémon franchise. Needless to say, this was a massive success with kids all over the world trading and buying packs in order to fulfill their latent Pokémon master desires. With no access to the internet and no handheld digital release, this was the closest you could come to becoming the Pokémon trainer of your dreams. This game became so popular that there were complete leagues held where professional players could battle it out for the top spot officially directed by The Pokémon Company USA. With the advent of the internet and mobile handheld devices, the game was remastered for modern devices by Dire Wolf Digital and released in the year 2011 as Pokémon Trainer Challenge and later renamed to Pokémon: The Trading Card Game Online. The players build a deck around various Pokémon ‘types’ like fire, water, electric or dragon etc. and then choose a number of Pokémons having various abilities which synergizes with their deck. The mana or the ‘energy’ that is required to summon and use Pokémon abilities is also contained within the deck and the more one player accumulates energy, the more the player unlocks the potential to use more powerful attacks. If one player manages to knock out an opponent’s Pokémon, he or she is presented with a prize card. There are six prize cards for each player and the player who manages to unlock all six prize cards wins the game. One special mention needs to go out to the card designs in this game, which are extremely innovative and catchy, sometimes to the point of being radical. It is an extremely well adapted version of the physical card game and is very accessible to new players, with an extensive tutorial that guides the new player through all the mechanics of the game, of which there are many.
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1. Magic: The Gathering Arena
Magic: The Gathering has been a long time staple in the CCG genre boasting over 20 years of support from the developers. Developed by Richard Garfield and released in the year 1993, the game is often cited as one of the influences for Hearthstone, though more hardcore in many aspects. Magic: The Gathering Arena is the latest digital adaptation of the infamous card game by Wizards of the Coast and brings many modern touches to the franchise with flashy visuals, explosive effects and a more modern streamlined look to the interface. The gameplay, though similar to Hearthstone, is slower owing to more interactions required between the players between each turn and the deck building process contributes to a large portion of the strategy involved during gameplay. The possibilities in deck building are endless as players can mix and match different mana types (out of a total of 5, each representing a form of land and is a staple for casting that faction’s spells) in the same deck to create interesting strategies and combos. The game requires a bit of tutoring getting into but the rewards for mastering the mechanics are thousandfold. Many famous Hearthstone players like Kripparian and Brian Kibler often regard Magic: The Gathering as one of their biggest influences so this might be the perfect opportunity for you to pick up the game as it is free-to-play and presently in open beta with its expected release date due in the first quarter of 2019 for PC.
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