Thursday, February 27, 2014

My descent into Digital Trading Card Games

Lately I have been satiating my love of trading card games by dabbling in the ever expanding market of online digital trading card games. I guess Hearthstone really kicked this off however I grew weary of Hearthstone pretty quickly. While not a TERRIBLE game Hearthstone had a bit too much minion spam in it for my liking and was a little too basic.

I later found Infinity Wars, Sol Forge and Hex: Shards of Fate. All 3 of those games have much more depth. Sol Forge has the least amount of depth of the 3 but still has an interesting concept. Infinity Wars introduces a new way of playing where the turns are resolved after everything has been laid out and Hex promises to add card configuration, quests and more. As an aside I have not given up on Might and Magic Duel of Champions I just don't like the mechanics in that game as much.

Of the three I have tried Infinity Wars comes out on top for gameplay, artistic merit and easiest UI use. I have not had too much of a chance to dive into Hex yet. Be warned that if you wish to try that it will be a 50 dollar buy in since the Kickstarter is over. Sol Forge is the weakest of the 3 with the least amount of content and feels the most like a tablet app. Hopefully the cards and look will improve over time.

Infinity Wars has gorgeous artwork and it is animated. Many of you that may follow me on Twitter and Google + have seen me post these cards and they are amazing. I also like the lore and sci fi aspect. The game truly feels like a war on the front and even features artillery cards and flying units. Infinity Wars however can be the most frustrating of the 3 as you really must plan ahead and observe EVERYTHING. As the cards do not resolve until you click end turn you must know who has priority that turn and what will trigger and when. However the campaign that is included is so well done and fun that by the time you finish all 50+ games you will have a grasp on it. Speaking of it being Free To Play you can earn rares and entire decks just by playing the campaigns which is nice. I have already built up a nice collection. Infinity Wars, being the more popular of the 3, has suffered however from being the most bug ridden and having the most server downtime.

Sol Forge is a simple game with layers hidden under it that I am now just discovering. At first I hated it. However they have a clever pull in that everyday you log in you get a free card and with a daily win against even an easy computer bot you can win more cards. The game features a unique card level up mechanism that plays much like a deck builder and forces you to plan ahead on what uber cards you want in your hand near the end of the game.

Hex is the most typical of all the games. It features tapping, chains, interrupts and all the things you expect from a collectible card game. However this is the one I have played the least. Hex is the most professionally presented and it should be for the buy in as you are paying for a full computer game.

All in all it has kept me busy. I highly recommend trying out Infinity Wars and Sol Forge at the moment. Keep in mind that Magic the Gathering, Pokemon and Hearthstone are all viable options as well for online play. On tablets I have had a good time playing the iOS Ascension game as well but this article is mainly about PC titles.