With Hearthstone coming soon to slay all other CCG’s, deck construction games are a bit of a blast from the past. Magic: The Gathering has defined what deck constructions is and should be for so many years, that thinking in different mechanics is a bit hard to do. Wizards of the Coast has almost 50% of the market share of CCG‘s. Yu-Gi-o has another 20%. Pokemon has about 10% and World of Warcraft around 5%.
What is the current state of online deck building and collectible card games? Here are a few that I’ve played online. These games are popular, but do they really push the bounds of electronics CCGs? Let’s find out.
Clash of the Dragons
Representative of classic CCG online, Clash of the Dragons has a map, a story, you move around the game board and collect cards by defeating AI. With of course the obligatory PVP mode. It represents the best of Kongregate, and one of the better free to play games. The story mode drags a bit. Playing against humans might be more interesting, but gathering the cards needed (via story mode) takes a while. Unless you pay.
Although not strictly speaking a collectible card game, SolForge has come out of the deck building card games like Ascension. Which is literally true as they are made by the same company. This game hews more closely to the concept of ‘a card’. At Pax East 2013 the game played as though you have cards in front of you. However the cards themselves can change over time. They upgrade in ways that traditional card board cards cannot.
An interesting thing happens when you move from the table top to the computer. You start to question what it means to be a ‘card’ anymore. Does it have to be square? What are the stats? www.Highgroundsgame.com recently released by SpryFox, makers of the amazing Triple Town, is an interesting game which challenges what a ‘deck building’ game is.
The ultimate problem with collectible card games basically stems from their collectible nature. Online people have short attention spans. Some players don’t want to slog through hours of story line to develop a good deck as in Clash of the Dragons. And some players don’t want to pay for cards. It’s a tricky balance. Of the three Highgrounds seems to strike that balance really well.
Now take a look at my card game.