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Under the Radar: The Year of the Card GamesI, like many kids at the time, I was swept along in the anime-powered craze of trading card games from the late 90s and early 00s. The fun wasn’t so much derived from my understanding of the game mechanics as much as it was from using the cards as a basis to pretend that I was a Pokemon trainer and later a duelist from Yu-Gi-Oh. Powered by pure imagination (and maybe a couple dozen pounds of candy and soda), I was able to believe that those cards would burst open and leave an Alakazam or Dark Magician in its place. As I grew, I stopped believing that my cards were magical doorways to another universe and saw them as the fraying pieces of laminated paper they were. While the death of imagination is almost always something to mourn, video games arrived in the nick of time to pick up the slack. The growing prominence of digital card games is making it so that I don’t have to imagine amazing effects; the game renders them out for me. Now, when I say ‘I see a mage casting fireballs at my enemies’, only half of the people think I’m an insane creep! Join me in seeking out some cool collectible card games due to be released in 2013.
One of many recent games funded through Kickstarter (and the first of two on this list), Chromancer seems like the prototypical passion project. Alliteration aside (…sorry), The Started Hare LLC realized that the idea, if not the minutiae, of card games can get very “same-y” so one of its first posts was to explain how Chromancer would end up. And it’s an interesting read; this browser-based card game seeks to take the idea of hitting a single hero/champion/target and split it up. The result is a game where the targets are actually the 3 resource points available to every player and knocking out one of those points fundamentally changes how the opponent has to play for the rest of the match. Their site is frequently updated with concept and card art and it all looks wonderful.
Though scheduled to be released some time in the winter of 2013, an open beta has not been announced yet. The plan, however, is to have the game available to beta testers by “summer 2013”. Hopefully, that equates to “really, really soon”.
The second Kickstarter-funded card game, Hex TCG: The Shards of Fate is evolving in an entirely different manner. While it isn’t so unusual to have a single-player, Plaver v. Environment storyline to go through, Hex TCG takes it a step further by introducing RPG mechanics into the card game mix. Not only will your deck progress with the addition of newer and stronger cards that synergize better with the deck you might be trying to build, the character class you choose to play will level up and grant you new abilities to use during a match. With character class being independent of gem color, the possibilities for different deck builds is mind-boggling. And, though the system might sound similar to Hearthstone’s, the timing makes this case seem more like convergent evolution (look it up, people; that’ll be your science lesson for today) from two talented studios.
Like Chromancer, Hex TCG has beta testing lined up for “late summer” of this year with the full release of its 30 PvE dungeons, PvP, booster packs, and customization suite slated for Fall of 2013. This is a card game you won’t want to miss.
Although the hype has settled around Mojang’s game Scrolls and it has not been peeking in on headlines for some time, you should not mistake it for a game that is declining. Just a little over two weeks ago, Mojang released another deck type, Decay, to their roster and brought the total up to four.
Though you could quibble that it should be called a “collectible scroll game”, Scrolls differentiates itself through more than that. While the game features drawing “cards” and managing resources like in any other card game, once those cards come into play, combat switches to a stance that is more reminiscent of turn-based strategy games [like Heroes of Might and Magic] than any CCG I’ve ever played. The beta process was handled in manner very similar to Minecraft: the open beta was announced on June 3rd and people were allowed to buy into the beta for £12.95/€14.95/$20.95. So, for all intents and purposes, the game is released and the plethora of Youtube videos shows the game is every bit as fun as it seems.
Check out our “beta” impressions of Scrolls for more information.
Hearthstone has had a rather interesting, if short, life. It was announced at major gaming conventions as a new IP for Blizzard and everyone assumed it would be the secretive Project Titan that was teased so long ago. Instead, we were treated to a new card game. This lead to a whole new round of questions due to the existence of a physical Warcraft TCG. Suffice to say, that Hearthstone has had a few people a tad perplexed. But the game has grown into its own as a well-bred horse in Blizzard Entertainment’s stable of video game thoroughbreds. Those that have played it have been impressed with the amount of streamlining in it. Or, rather, with the quality of the streamlining that it was given. All the bits’n’bobs that weren’t entirely necessary for functioning engine were stripped out of the car known as “Hearthstone” and everything that was left was given a new coat varnish to make it shine.
The beta was announced recently and keys have since trickled out. But, as with any quality product, supply is being dwarfed by demand if the rumors of eBay auctions are anything to go by.
Check out our beta impressions of Hearthstone for more information.
And keep it here because you never know what Leviathyn will bring up from the depths.