Card games have been around for centuries. From poker to solitaire to war, there are thousands of different card games out there for people to play and all of them are wildly different. They have always been a great way for people to relax and engage their brains in a battle of wits. However, coming into an age where many teenagers opt to spend their free time playing computer games such as Fortnite or Roblox, the magic of card games has been somewhat lost and replaced with more fast-paced high adrenaline video games. However, there is one game that somewhat solves this problem in a peculiar way — Hearthstone.

Promotional Art for Hearthstone

Hearthstone is a digital collectible card game (CCG) that takes full advantage of the digital format to draw players in. In the main game mode of Hearthstone, two players face off with one of 9 heroes and a deck of 30 cards they built for that hero. The goal of the game is to destroy your opponent by dealing 30 points of damage to them. Of course, there are multiple ways to destroy the hero, which is what gives Hearthstone its charm.

A typical game of Hearthstone

As you can see in the above picture, the main way to destroy the other hero is through the use of minions that you can attack the other hero with. You spend mana crystals to play these minions on your side of the board on your turn, starting with 1 on turn one and gaining 1 each turn, capping out at 10 turn ten. Additionally, you draw one card each turn to add to your starting hand. There are ways around this however, for example there are cards that give you extra mana crystals the next turn or let you draw extra cards. Because of the extreme diversity in both effect and cost of these cards, Hearthstone allows for an exciting and diverse metagame. There are even decks that are built around building an unstoppable combo of spells to kill your opponent in one turn!

An interesting spell based game

The multiplayer gamemode is not all Hearthstone has to offer. It has rich social features, including emotes. This can let your opponent know if you wish to thank them or greet them at any point in the game, even after you die. Of course, you can also add you opponent after the game to chat. This can make you new friends very quickly. Soon you might even be able to make your own Hearthstone team due to all the friends you make, which other games do not have the capacity to do due to their smaller playerbase and less interactive friend system.

There are even quests that involve your friends! For example, a daily quest might pop up that rewards you and a friend 80 gold each simply for battling together. This is a very large amount of gold to earn in one day, nearly enough to buy a pack of 5 cards! In this way, Hearthstone encourages players to make new friends in a way no other video game can. This is a throwback to the days of physical card games when people were forced to play together. Now one must play with others to reap the max rewards.

Another original screenshot

My personal favorite part of Hearthstone is the main game mode I just mentioned. However, there are other ways to play as well. For example, many people enjoy playing arena, a mode where you draft your own deck given three choices of cards for each of the 30 slots in your deck. I too enjoy this mode sometimes. This is because in addition to allowing me to play overpowered classes I don’t have enough cards for (such as Druid), it is refreshing to see completely random decks duke it out once in a while. It also gives quite a few rewards if you are good at it — if you are lucky enough to get the Druid class when playing arena, you are basically guaranteed to make your entrance fee back in gold in addition to free packs. Be sure not to lose 3 times, or else you’re out, however. Try to hit 12 wins for max rewards!

Some people also enjoy Tavern Brawls and solo adventures. Tavern Brawls are weekly “fun” game modes that twist the rules a bit: for example, one week might be pitting players against each other with decks filled with only one kind of minion. People who enjoy non-competitive atmospheres and lots of randomness might enjoy this mode. In a similar vein, solo adventures pit you against AI bosses with special cards and rules for each mode. The only solo adventure mode anyone really plays is the “dungeon run”, a game where you start off with a small deck facing a weak boss, and after each win you strengthen your deck with a choice between three passive buffs and three sets of cards to add to the deck. The pure randomness of this run (the bosses have many random cards and are themselves chosen randomly from a pool of possible bosses) allows near-infinite replay ability, further boosted by the large number of classes available for each dungeon run. I personally am not a fan of this mode after the first few runs because it does get a little bit stale even with changing cards, since the AI is not a real person and not very fun to play against. This brings me to my next point.

The fun of Hearthstone, at least for me, is how competitive it remains while retaining all the fun of its flavorful cards and randomness. This is evident through all the tourneys and esports events it hosts, including the myriad “Fireside Gatherings” where tryhards and casuals alike gather to have fun playing Hearthstone in a tournament format together. There’s also the world championship series of course, where players relentlessly grind against each other to try to become the world champion. Why do these players play despite all the randomness seeming eliminating skill from the game? It is because with a large enough sample size, skill becomes MUCH MUCH more important than randomness. This is obvious when you try to hit legend, the highest rank on the ladder. If you are unskilled, you will feel like you are losing to random variation and being unlucky but it is actually because you are making mistakes you don’t even know. Trying to improve yourself is a very fun experience and I really quite recommend it.

You should absolutely try out Hearthstone! If you decide to start, I recommend starting out getting all the free packs from going to rank 25 from rank 50 in ranked mode (you aren’t penalized for losing until rank 20). Do all the new player quests, and read up on some guides (Trump is a good streamer to watch, with good new player guides). Then you should get good at arena. I made a new account just to practice arena since arena costs gold to enter — once I got enough practice in, I was able to consistently make profits in arena from playing on my main account. This is a good strategy and many players do it, so you should too. Soon you will be GOOD at Hearthstone! You might even go pro and make the big leagues! That would be very fun and interactive.

Now if this post interested you and you would like to play Hearthstone, try signing up with this link: https://battle.net/recruit/RMQKWCJPM6?blzcmp=raf-hs&s=HS&m=web