Whether its the joy of collecting cards, admiring the art, building cool decks, or crushing my opponents with wit and strategy, I can’t get enough of Trading Card Games (TCGs). If one TCG isn’t enough, I have been playing three of them. I’ve posted a lot lately about serious, real life stuff. How about some good ol’ fashioned, geeky fun? Allow me to wax nerdy about three of my favourite TCGs: Magic: The Gathering, Pokémon, and Hearthstone.
Magic: The Gathering
Magic is the original TCG, and it has the fan base to prove it. What I love about Magic is the community around it, and if you are wanting to play with real people in real life, Magic is totally for you. As for the mechanics, the game is constantly evolving and adding new mechanics. It is all around a really fun game, with a lot of variety to be found in the game’s colour pie.
As for the online component, I haven’t really touched it. I know there is an online alternative, but in order to build your online collection you have to buy cards online. This leaves you needed to either choose where you want to play, or you end up playing twice. This brings us to the next game I’ve been playing.
Pokémon Trading Card Game
I was a huge Pokémon fan growing up, and was among the kids that played Pokémon Blue in my classic Game Boy brick while watching Season 1 of the original Anime series. I think every Pokémon fan goes through this cycle of returning to their roots, and I am no different. When I was young, I collected the cards because they were awesome to look at. Fast forward to 2014, and I am all in again. Pokémon X & Y for the Nintendo 3DS came out last year, and I am all in.
As for the Pokémon TCG, there is a reason it has stuck around for as long as it has. Don’t let its juvenile look-and-feel fool you into thinking that this is a game too kiddy for adults. The game is based on solid mechanics that really haven’t changed since its inception well over a decade ago. My absolute favourite part of Pokémon, however, is that every single pack of cards you buy comes with a code to redeem a pack of cards in the online version of their game! For someone who is working on finishing a Master’s thesis and has two little kids at home, being able to invest in a card collection and play online simultaneously is a huge boon. Couple that with some great Pokémon goodness, and you’ve got yourself a winning formula.
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
Just sit and admire that Deathwing card for a second. Soak it in. How awesome is that?! When Blizzard (the company behind World of Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo) announced that they were going to make an online card game, I was pumped. They have a certain standard of quality that makes everything they make shine. Recently out of beta, Hearthstone is different than Magic and Pokémon in that there are no physical cards. Its all online, and its (almost) all free! You can buy packs of cards in Hearthstone with in game gold you earn by completing daily quests and winning matches, or you can drop a little bit of cold-hard cash for some booster packs and speed up the process.
The great thing about Hearthstone is that you can get your feet wet and play some cards right away. The game is incredibly easy to learn, and amazingly polished. There is literally no reason not to try it out, and with an iPad app on the way, this is the biggest threat to my productivity this year.
So there you have it. Magic, Pokémon, and Hearthstone are all great ways to get into the TCG scene. Let me know what your preference is in the comments!