Card games are not new, but since the release and subsequent huge success of Hearthstone, new card games seem to be sprouting up every five minutes. This isn’t unusual. A hugely successful game releases and so everyone wants to jump on that trend to make money from it. The problem though, is that collectable card games are a huge time investment. Gwent, The Elder Scrolls Legends and Chronicle: Runescape Legends are three cards games I have tried over the last year, and all of them have been great, and not just Hearthstone clones, yet I’ve hardly played them. I’ve continued to stick with Hearthstone.
It makes sense for me to continue playing Hearthstone over these other three, despite all of them actually being great games, and I’ll tell you why. I started playing Hearthstone around Christmas of 2013, in my first year of university. Nearly four years ago. Since then there have been months where I haven’t played at all, and months where it is all I’ve wanted to play and talk about, but despite that, I would say it wasn’t until some time last year that I was actually half decent at the game. It took me years of playing on an off to properly learn the intricacies of the game, when to trade, when to go face, what makes a card good or bad. It took about the same amount of time for me, as someone who couldn’t afford to buy packs with real money, to gather a half decent collection of cards.
My point is, to get to a stage in Hearthstone where I feel I can compete with half decent players has taken me years. I admit, that is partly because I’m kind of bad at card games. But collectable card game are a big time investment when the maximum number of packs you can feasibly get is one a day, and that is if you play a fair amount and get a decent daily quest. I just don’t have the time to put that much effort into learning a new game and gathering a decent collection of cards. So if I get the urge to play a card game, it is going to be Hearthstone, the game I am familiar with already and have a good number of awesome cards.
I’m not blaming the developers of these games. I actually really enjoyed them. Probably my favourite of the three I mentioned was Chronicles, and not just because Runescape holds a special place in my heart. It was one of the most unique card games I have played. The same can be said for Gwent. But I am an impatient person, and I’m also competitive. I do not want to spend the hours it would take to thoroughly learn the game, while repeatedly losing to everyone I play against, just to be able to play at a low level because I don’t have any decent cards. Again, this isn’t a complaint against any developer. I fully understand why they make these games hard to get into without spending real money, they are created specifically to make the developer money after all. But what this means is that you either have to invest time, or money. I can’t invest money, and if I’m going to invest time in a card game its going to be the one I’ve already spend hundreds of hours playing.
And more importantly than all of this, while I may think that many of the new collectable card games are great, Hearthstone is still the best. Hearthstone just does everything a little bit better. I don’t necessarily mean that cards, I don’t know every single card from every single game so it is hard to compare which has the better designed cards. I mean that little things like the menus, the attack animations, the art on the cards themselves. Even the flavour text for each card. Stuff like, “Hey…. Is that Mire for sale?” “No. I’m keeping it.” on the Mire Keeper. These all give Hearthstone the feel of a game that is more polished than its rivals. It’s more colourful and doesn’t take itself too seriously, and I love that about it. Of course, that may not be your cup of tea and I would completely understand why you might prefer something different. But for me it is unlikely that any collectable card game will ever push Hearthstone off of the top spot, simply because it would take too much of my time for me to become invested in it.
What is your favourite collectable card game? What do you think of what I’ve said? Let me know in the comments! Also follow me on Twitter @Andrew_H93.