This is a logo owned by Blizzard Entertainment for Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft.

Well if the amount of times one comes back to play a game is any indication of good it is, Hearthstone is a winner.

While Magic cards can’t seem to get an online and/or tablet game that fans embrace, the relentless PR campaign of Hearthstone has no doubt done wonders just like it did for Clash of Clans.  Hearthstone is basically the Worlds of Warcraft version of Magic cards online.  You build a deck, earn better cards and try to best your opponent.  Players start with 30 life points each and one mana.  Each turn, you get another point of mana, all the way up to 10.  It’s these caps and the unique ability of the character classes that make it different from Magic.

And while, yes, there are some cards in Hearthstone that are all but unbeatable, all players have access to them for free (potentially).  During the game, you win virtual gold pieces which can be turned into packs of random cards or passes to the arena battle, where you might earn a pack of cards plus something else.  There are quests you can complete for unique cards, although it takes a while to save for these.  You can also destroy most of the multiple copies of cards for crafting mana so you can build cards.  Never has a card game been so equal to the players.  Yeah, you can buy you way to the good cards, but players that just stick with it can eventually earn them too.

Online play is fun (although it doesn’t count towards earning of gold, which sucks but understandable since gamers try to game the system).  My only problem with the game is the opening salvo.  The player that goes second gets a zero-count card for a free mana point.  This, supposedly, makes up for not going first.  Unfortunately, it tends to be a HUGE advantage in the game, allowing a player to throw down a huge monster early if gets the right card combo.

Ultimately, most of the games come down to who can generate enough cards or the right cards first.  I’ve noticed most of my games, I either get slaughtered or do the slaughtering.  Still, it’s good fun and there are enough cards to keep things interesting.

Couple of nitpicky drawbacks:  First, my iPad one couldn’t handle the game and I had to move it to the PC.  The game really ought to have an option to cut down on the animation.  There’s a lot of it and some it (like opening card packs) very unnecessary.  Like Magic, there are a handful of cards that really unbalance the game.  I also think the decks could be bigger than 30 cards, but that might be a server issue.

Online players can’t really trash talk you because they are limited to what they can convey.  This is probably a good thing, since more than once I went bananas when an opponent took forever on his move and he was beating me anyways.  It’s hard to tell if that’s a signal issue or just an indecisive noob sometimes.

But be warned, Hearthstone is pretty addictive, but it’s a good substitute for Magic, especially if you’ve run out of money for packs.  It’s a shame the Magic Card people couldn’t adopt the same system.  It would probably work great for them.

I give Hearthstone 8 out of 10 keggers.