Thoughts on High Grounds.

Spry Fox, the creator of Triple Town, has a new deck building game out.  It’s a pretty good game and has gotten a good review from PAReport.  With Scrolls coming along slowly and methodically, online collectible card games should have a good couple of years coming up.  Here are some of my thoughts on what it means to have a deck building or collectible card game in a digital medium.

When you take a Collectible card game and put it online you have this interesting design issue.  What does a ‘card’ look like online?  Does it have to be square?  The size and shape of the cards are limitations of the physical medium used to play the game.  But once the game gets created digitally it no longer has the same design constraints.

High Grounds clearly demonstrates the concept of taking a ‘card game’ and removing the design constraints. What does a ‘card’ start to look like once you remove a 2 inch by 3 inch piece of cardboard?  The card art becomes the character avatar, the stats don’t need to be displayed all the time.  Executing the stack becomes the portion of the game executed live, while playing the hand dealt becomes asynchronous.  Conceptually High Grounds succeeds at deconstructing a ‘card’ from a collectible card game while still retaining the essence of the basic game mechanics.

Whether the game is fun or not, I’m not sure.  Having played four or five rounds against the computer, it’s starting to drag a bit.  While no where near the grind that other online CCG’s can become in single player, turns are starting to feel a little too long.  The progression a little too linear.  There aren’t enough random good luck/bad luck things happening during game play.

I have not yet purchased any packs yet.  So perhaps my brain is expecting the risk reward stimulus from my M:tG days and not getting it.  There is just nothing like opening a bunch of packs and finding terrible stuff to activate the hope/despair portions of the brain chemistry.  Except maybe those times when you actually pull something awesome out of a pack.  Maybe if TapJoy were integrated into High Grounds I could earn a few gems by selling my time to advertisers.

There is clearly some tweaking that needs to be done on High Grounds, but it’s an interesting game which pushes the boundary of what a CCG means.  Overall I think it’s a very promising game, and it’s interesting to watch.  Now that you’ve read my opinions, go over and play the game at www.highgroundsgame.com!

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