It’s a great time to love (digital) card games

As my recent posts about the mother of all trading card games show, I am a big fan of the genre. Something about building your own deck, tinkering with it game after game, until you have the ultimate tool to wreak havoc on your friend’s cards is just alluring, and there’s a reason I keep trying different TCG’s over and over again. It’s great to know then that several big fishes of the industry are about to launch a few new titles, and this post is dedicated to three digital TCG’s I’m looking forward to.

Before I go any further, let me clarify my opinion about fully digital games: I love them. Acquiring fully digital games saves me a lot of physical space, and when it comes to TCG’s, I don’t have to deal with hundreds of cards I’ll never use anyway. I can understand the “but what if the game shuts down?”-argument, but I guess I’m just too optimistic to not truly worry about that. If a developer decides that his product has gone the distance, so be it. Of course, I’ll cry, scream and formulate bilingual curses uttered in the darkness of desperation, but that’s just because I’m a hateful, emotional bastard, not because every company is evil by nature. Except EA, but that’s a different topic.

Anyway, which digital TCG’s am I looking forward to? Well, to get this show started, I’ll introduce you to HEX: Shards of Fate. The title is being developed by Cryptozoic, the guys that take care of the World of Warcraft TCG (no, not that new one, we’ll get to that). The game combines classic TCG elements with MMORPG tropes like raids, dungeons and guilds. Cards can gather experience, unlocking achievements, foil versions and even alternate art. What intrigues me most about HEX is that this game takes full advantage of its digital nature, doing things that are hard to do in a paper version (like adding gems and evolving cards). Beta will launch in late summer, and you can support Cryptozoic by giving them money through the Kickstarter or by donating on the site.

So, Cryptozoic might be doing the printed version of the WoW TCG, but Blizzard decided to join the F2P scene with its own digital TCG named Hearthstone. I wrote about it before, and I remain skeptical about the fact that it will be a different game than the already existing TCG. Blizz will probably have its reasons for it, but I will not be overly enthusiastic until I had a chance to play a few rounds. If you want to know more, head over to the Hearthstone website and learn more.

Finally, a game I am surely waiting for is Duels of the Planeswalkers 2014, the new Magic computer game. Though it will resemble its predecessors in many ways, DotP 2014 will over a slew of new features, most prominently the ability to play Sealed Deck. You can’t imagine how happy I’m about that, as that game mode will over so much more replayability. Now, Wizards, if you would be so kind to let us create fully custom decks (with the cards available in DotP 2014, mind you), I will gladly flame anyone who dares to speak against you on the Internet.

So these are the titles I’m looking forward to. Looks like the summer of 2013 will force me to split my attention between these three, but I don’t mind. Any chance I’ll face one of my readers in one (or even all three?) of them?

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8 comments

  1. Amen to adding fully customizable decks in Duel of the Planeswalkers 14 – it would certainly add the extra oomph that the previous iterations were lacking in multiplayer. Playing the same builds of the same decks became stale rather quickly.

  2. Don’t hold your breath on customizability in DoTP. WoTC knows better than to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. And that is exactly what will happen if they ever come out with a digital product that rivals their cardboard ones.

    So they are content to come out with a neutered but very pretty digital version that does a great job hooking newbies into trying their game and is also a franchise they can keep banking on year after year.

    (Disclaimer – I am also looking forward to DoTP 2014 so I can finally play MTG on my Android tablet)

    1. Sadly, I have to agree with you. From a marketing point-of-view, offering full deck customization (even if it is limited to the cards from decks in DotP) beats one of the points of the product.

      I’m already amazed they decided to introduce Sealed play, but that could also be interpreted as a smart move to get potential players hooked on the real, far more expensive format…

      Nevertheless, great to hear that some critical readers are still looking forward to this release. Magic computer games were always meant to be available on tablets 🙂

  3. I’m pretty damn excited — borderline obsessed about Hex — myself. I played the WoW TCG for several years (up until the Wrathgate set), and have been a huge fan of Crypto’s offerings for a really long time.

    I’ve never really regarded DotP as a “serious” CCG because I’ve always felt shackled (as you all have already mentioned) with deck limitations. It felt more like a gateway to Magic Online than anything. Although I will say playing against an AI is very relaxing — it just sucks unlocking cards ever-so-slowly 😦

    1. Especially the relaxing gameplay against AI is nice. It gives me the time to think about my strategy, while getting a feel for certain cards and combos. It’s a nice thing to do for an hour or two…
      So you’re quite familiar with Cryptozoic then? Did they keep the quality of the WoW TCG up, and do you think they can put a great game in the market?

      1. Great question, and something I’ll be addressing in my next blog post.

        The long and short of what I’m gonna be writing about is that CZE has a long history of successes and failures, WoW TCG being their best success. They’ve probably learned the most from their failures, and they’re a stronger company for it — not to mention promiising an even better Hex than I could’ve imagined.

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