A whole handful of the Nerds on Earth writing team play Marvel Strike Force, the mobile game that pits 5 Marvel characters against 5 other Marvel characters. A primary reason we love it – although we play independently – is because we commiserate about the game in our Discord channel.
But there is another mobile game I play, and since it has been around for years, new players might pass it by in fear that they’d not know where to begin. So, this article is for folks who may be Hearthstone curious. It’s also for my Nerds on Earth mates, as I’m on a sneaky quest to get them playing as well.
The Basics of Hearthstone
Hearthstone is an iOS game from Blizzard, the makers of Starcraft, World of Warcraft, Diablo, Overwatch, and more. And if you have that type of PC/console pedigree and you make a mobile game, then you can bet it has a polish to it.
Hearthstone is a card game very roughly in the same genre as Magic: The Gathering and KeyForge. Players “build decks” of card, digitally of course. And you pit your deck against a matched-up opponent.
It’s in the World of Warcraft universe, so the classes match those in that game. And the cards pull from those characters as well, meaning you might have Priest, Hunter, Druid, and Warrior, among others.
Newly themed cards come roughly every few months, with the oldest sets rolling out of regular use.
The “meta” game, meaning the accepted strategy about the best cards to use, can be competitive. To be clear, you do not need to “pay to play.” But if you are the type of person who absolutely has to match the most competitive decks, you’ll need to buy packs, which are of course opened digitally.
Our human competitiveness tends to have us over-complicate things to point where we need excel sheets and flowcharts. But Hearthstone is really fun for beginners and it is absolutely rewarding with out dabbling in that nonsense of 24/7 Red Bull fueled streams to hit #1.
There are some major modes of gameplay:
- Regular (competitive and practice) – In this mode, players choose a class and build a deck of 30 cards. Each card has an attack value, a defense value, and some type of keywords special ability. Hearthstone’s excellent matchmaking system connects you with an opponent.
- Adventure – There is also a “solo mode” that allows you to participate in storyline adventures. These have the same charm you’d expect from a game set in the World of Warcraft universe.
- Arena – There are also a few modes where you essentially draft on the fly in order to play around and push your luck with different card combinations. Blizzard keeps the game feeling wonderfully fresh, even after several years on market.
- Battleground – I’m giving this it’s own article. It’s that good.
Hearthstone has the famed Blizzard polish. It’s rock-solid. And they’ve done remarkably clever things like limit communication to a handful of pre-generated responses, meaning you aren’t spammed by some disaffected 20-something who has never matured and thinks his banter is funny.
World of Warcraft is nowhere near the must-play game it was a decade ago, but Hearthstone is evidence of the property’s enduring appeal and that the lore could be fully imagined into a mobile game wholly unlike the multiplayer game that serves as inspiration.
I suspect many of you nerds already have the game on your iPads. For those who don’t? I encourage you to give it a try. It’s an excellent 20 minute time filler that doesn’t require sinking hours into it. It allows an enjoyable experience that also allows you to fully engage with your kids and pick up and put down as you wish.