11 votes

What would you want in a Digital Card Game?

So, I quit Hearthstone recently. Not just because of current events, but because I lost my taste for the game. Which is a shame, because Hearthstone is pretty well made and what it simplifies from Magic the Gathering and comparible card games is pretty inspired.

Couple things I Liked
  • You pick one class when you create a deck, and your resource management is doled out every turn without intervention or having to worry about Mana Burn or Flood.

  • It had a sort of chess by mail setup, where you couldn't really interrupt your opponents turn without laying a Secret trap for them that would trigger when a condition was met. I appreciated that you weren't on the clock for having to play an interrupt or cancel an opponent's move, especially since I mostly play on mobile.

  • Finally, it had one of the best UI for getting things done, and letting you know where you wanted to know. The main menu was organized, the deck builder was clean, and the playmat was very polished with the oval minion pieces, while informative on what everything did. I've been trying Eternal recently, and it's certainly an adjustment.

But to prevent this from being a one sided breakup post, I ask you, dear Tildos, what would you want out of a Digital Card Game? Be it a weird mechanic, playing mode, ideal platform or like this except with that, what would keep you coming back to such a game?

23 comments

  1. [4]
    babypuncher
    Link
    I want a business model that doesn't rely on lootboxes for distributing cards. Ideally, a one-time $40 or $60 purchase would get me and unlimited number of all the cards in the game so I can build...

    I want a business model that doesn't rely on lootboxes for distributing cards. Ideally, a one-time $40 or $60 purchase would get me and unlimited number of all the cards in the game so I can build whatever decks I want. After that, sell expansion packs for $20-$30 a pop.

    Because apparently mutliplayer games are no longer allowed to be successful if they aren't "free", let free players to build decks only from a limited selection of F2P cards that changes at a set interval. Have some kind of currency you can earn through gameplay that allows you to buy individual cards to permanently add to your account, and maybe some kind of cosmetics.

    9 votes
    1. [3]
      cwagner
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      While it has lootboxes, Mythgard has 2 community created decks, rotating twice a week, that you can play without owning the cards. It’s a really cool concept for people who neither want to spend...

      While it has lootboxes, Mythgard has 2 community created decks, rotating twice a week, that you can play without owning the cards. It’s a really cool concept for people who neither want to spend money nor grind a lot.

      PS: I have 2 1 ‘treat’ codes for a starter pack of stuff, so if someone wants to start playing it, shoot me a message.

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        moocow1452
        Link Parent
        The community deck option seems killer, I'm jumping in tail end of beta, and they have an Android client. Lane's are different, and the "burn" mechanic kinda makes me anxious, but nothing I can't...

        The community deck option seems killer, I'm jumping in tail end of beta, and they have an Android client. Lane's are different, and the "burn" mechanic kinda makes me anxious, but nothing I can't handle. Super thanks for passing this along.

        1. cwagner
          Link Parent
          I really like the burn mechanic, you need some kind of limitation to enable multi color imo :)

          I really like the burn mechanic, you need some kind of limitation to enable multi color imo :)

  2. [2]
    NaraVara
    (edited )
    Link
    So if we’re talking specifically a digital card game, I think the key is addressing some stuff that doesn’t work as well in digital world as it does in analog. Money stuff aside, one of the most...

    So if we’re talking specifically a digital card game, I think the key is addressing some stuff that doesn’t work as well in digital world as it does in analog.

    Money stuff aside, one of the most frustrating things about M:tG online is that the structure of the game forces any client to build out tons of buffer time between anything you do to give people time to interrupt. It just doesn’t progress smoothly without human interaction/body language to move turns forward. Turns simply feel less breezy and dynamic online compared to physical.

    It’s also just annoying playing against deliberately slow people who run out the clock or take forever to make decisions. I’d really prefer some kind of “speed chess” version that punishes that sort of thing.

    And this might just be me, but collectibility also seems less “special” with a digital format. The scarcity was always controlled and metered by WotC in Magic, but something about “scarce” digital goods makes the “man behind the curtain” just too visible for me. I think I’d be down for a game like Dominion or Netrunner, where the contents of the decks are fixed and it’s more about how you play it. Dominion, where you build the deck as part of the game would be an especially interesting dynamic.

    A format like EDH I think actually makes a really good foundation for an online card game. It affords more personalization and merges the Hearthstone thing with hero characters, themes, and progression mechanics.

    6 votes
    1. moocow1452
      Link Parent
      Yeah, I am counting the days until Slay the Spire is on mobile and that used to be my "Quit Hearthstone" day. That's probably your best shot at a game that hits that deckbuilder itch.

      Yeah, I am counting the days until Slay the Spire is on mobile and that used to be my "Quit Hearthstone" day. That's probably your best shot at a game that hits that deckbuilder itch.

      1 vote
  3. [6]
    LukeZaz
    Link
    I've been looking for a Hearthstone alternative lately, and while Gods Unchained feels like it got the gameplay aspect down decently well, I always find myself missing the comedic tone Hearthstone...

    I've been looking for a Hearthstone alternative lately, and while Gods Unchained feels like it got the gameplay aspect down decently well, I always find myself missing the comedic tone Hearthstone kept up and which no other card game ever seems to have. They always take themselves too seriously.

    Other than that, I also like the idea of casual gameplay in regards to digital card games, which is another huge reason why I liked HS to begin with. The far more simplistic and streamlined mana & class system always appealed to me, since "can I play this card" could be answered quickly with "do I have enough mana", not "do I have enough of all these different types of mana which I have to specifically play and use cards to get". I'm not saying MTGs system is bad per se; just that I much prefer the more intuitive method Hearthstone used.

    After those though, the main thing really making switching difficult is the visual aesthetics. Some games do pretty well, but IMO so far Hearthstone has had some of the best visuals of card games to date. Between the artwork, variety of (interactive!) boards, and all the special effects, HS managed to both look good and also have a lot of impact and oomph for your actions (i.e. juice) at the same time. The closest thing I could find on this front was Gwent – I in particular loved the fully animated cards in it – but the gameplay aspects of that one kinda fell through for me, so it still just didn't fit.

    3 votes
    1. [5]
      moocow1452
      Link Parent
      What's your take on God's Unchained? I've had it drilled into me that anything involving blockchain is a scam, and I was assuming that this was no different.

      What's your take on God's Unchained? I've had it drilled into me that anything involving blockchain is a scam, and I was assuming that this was no different.

      1. LukeZaz
        Link Parent
        I haven't played very much of it, but what I have played was pretty good gameplay-wise and serves as a nice Hearthstone replacement. I still miss the humor a lot though so I don't know if it'll...

        I haven't played very much of it, but what I have played was pretty good gameplay-wise and serves as a nice Hearthstone replacement. I still miss the humor a lot though so I don't know if it'll successfully replace it for me.

        As for the blockchain aspects, I can't be sure. I haven't touched it at all yet as I don't really want to get mixed up in all that, but it looks like they use it exclusively for trading cards and for giving you complete ownership of them — i.e. nobody is even capable of taking them from you without your say-so, since they're decentralized. It looks like it's effective at what it does, but I personally don't see it as worthwhile to use yet as it feels overcomplicated when a user-friendly EULA might accomplish the latter well enough anyway.

        1 vote
      2. [3]
        aphoenix
        Link Parent
        Not everything that uses blockchain is a scam; it's just one of those things that people started putting into projects because it was "hot". This is actually a valid use for blockchain - it seems...

        Not everything that uses blockchain is a scam; it's just one of those things that people started putting into projects because it was "hot".

        This is actually a valid use for blockchain - it seems like a legitimate effort to give you ownership of the digital media that you purchase, and to allow you trade the same digital media in a reasonable way.

        To be clear, I haven't played God's Unchained, but I was fairly interested in the technology behind it, and I think it's one of the more valid uses of blockchain recently.

        1 vote
        1. [2]
          moocow1452
          Link Parent
          So I own the cards as an asset, but I don't own them in that I could play on my own server with weird rules like I could physical cards? Okay...

          This is actually a valid use for blockchain - it seems like a legitimate effort to give you ownership of the digital media that you purchase, and to allow you trade the same digital media in a reasonable way.

          So I own the cards as an asset, but I don't own them in that I could play on my own server with weird rules like I could physical cards? Okay...

          1. aphoenix
            Link Parent
            To be clear, this is closer to allowing you to do things in other games than any other digital card game that I know of. It also allows trading, which is a big part of physical card games that...

            I own the cards as an asset, but I don't own them in that I could play on my own server with weird rules

            To be clear, this is closer to allowing you to do things in other games than any other digital card game that I know of. It also allows trading, which is a big part of physical card games that most other digital card games lack.

            2 votes
  4. [2]
    Apos
    Link
    There's a cool mechanic I saw in Gwent. The match is a best of 3. You can lose a round on purpose to get an advantage (the cards in your hands are preserved between rounds iirc). Saw lots of cool...

    There's a cool mechanic I saw in Gwent. The match is a best of 3. You can lose a round on purpose to get an advantage (the cards in your hands are preserved between rounds iirc).

    Saw lots of cool ideas in that game.

    3 votes
    1. moocow1452
      Link Parent
      It looks polished, but I just couldn't get into it. Also Lanes are unfamiliar to me and thus are weird and scary.

      It looks polished, but I just couldn't get into it. Also Lanes are unfamiliar to me and thus are weird and scary.

  5. [2]
    Deimos
    Link
    I asked you this already, but did you try out Eternal yet? https://www.direwolfdigital.com/eternal/

    I asked you this already, but did you try out Eternal yet? https://www.direwolfdigital.com/eternal/

    2 votes
    1. moocow1452
      Link Parent
      Yeah, I tried it, and it seems okay, but I guess the reason I got into Hearthstone was some friends were playing it, and I played Yu-Gi-Oh and Magic previously, and I liked being part of the...

      Yeah, I tried it, and it seems okay, but I guess the reason I got into Hearthstone was some friends were playing it, and I played Yu-Gi-Oh and Magic previously, and I liked being part of the community to learn how to game and how to grok the client. Maybe I need to hang out at the Reddit or find a Streamer, Podcast, or a Trolden equivalent so I can really immerse myself in the game and find out how I want to play. Maybe there's a bunch of Hearthstone expats out there I should join up with, or maybe the Hearthstone community will pull me back in. Or God Forbid, maybe I don't have a card game that gives me a daily quest to pull me back in and I have an extra half hour on things I actually want to do.

      That's a lie, I'll find something else to turn my brain off for.

      1 vote
  6. [3]
    moocow1452
    Link
    The worst thing about Hearthstone for me was Deck building, and the less of that I have to do, the better. If there was a scrimmage ranked mode that had both players have random premade decks at...

    The worst thing about Hearthstone for me was Deck building, and the less of that I have to do, the better. If there was a scrimmage ranked mode that had both players have random premade decks at comparable power, I would be all over that. The best Tavern Brawl IMO was where they created randomly generated decks and had them face off against each other and the loser got the winners deck. For me, it created an incentive outside of finishing Daily Quests to continue to play Hearthstone, because there had to be something I could roll up that could beat the supremely overpowered deck that half the ladder was playing. So if there was a game that would let us play with similar powered but random decks with cards outside of our collection, it would be much appreciated in my opinion.

    1 vote
    1. [2]
      cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      It's funny how different people are. For me, the absolute worst part about Hearthstone was its oversimplification and "dumbing down" of everything I love about M:TG, yet at the same time still...

      It's funny how different people are. For me, the absolute worst part about Hearthstone was its oversimplification and "dumbing down" of everything I love about M:TG, yet at the same time still keeping pretty much the exact same monetization system of it that I abhor. :P

      So to answer your original question, I basically want M:TG (or something equally as complex and nuanced, deckbuilding included) but without having to spend an absurd amount of money on it, or spend hundreds of hours grinding to unlock/craft everything. I think my ideal monetization system would be to pay a reasonable amount of $ every time a new set is released (e.g. $25), and then being given complete access to all the cards in that set.

      1 vote
      1. moocow1452
        Link Parent
        Yeah, totes different. I netdeck, my most prized card is my Golden Whizbang that lets you play a random Blizzard Suggested deck, and if some game had the Keyforge mechanic of starting with a...

        Yeah, totes different. I netdeck, my most prized card is my Golden Whizbang that lets you play a random Blizzard Suggested deck, and if some game had the Keyforge mechanic of starting with a random deck, I would probably be super into it.

        2 votes
  7. RapidEyeMovement
    Link
    I found that what I like most about card games is the deck building, strategy and some fun RNG. The whole collectible part I dislike because mostly it is pay to win. I have found that Dominion...

    I found that what I like most about card games is the deck building, strategy and some fun RNG. The whole collectible part I dislike because mostly it is pay to win.

    I have found that Dominion card game is fun, because you build your deck as you play the game. It doesn't have a great RNG components so I that is a little disappointing. But overall its a good time with a couple of expansions.

    Dota: Underlords Has the same kind of deck building aspect, but a greater RNG component with each round allowing you to draw/buy from 5 characters/cards. Their is an auto-chess element thrown in, but mostly it is about deck building and upgrading your characters by collecting 3 of a kinds to make an upgrade.

    1 vote
  8. [3]
    Akir
    Link
    Out of curiosity, do people specifically go out and look for digital card games? I've noticed that they've become more common lately. I honestly don't understand the fascination. Why collect cards...

    Out of curiosity, do people specifically go out and look for digital card games? I've noticed that they've become more common lately.

    I honestly don't understand the fascination. Why collect cards with monsters on them if you can capture "actual" monsters? Can anyone explain the appeal?

    1 vote
    1. Deimos
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      This is like asking why anyone would ever play chess when they could play a real-time strategy game where the units actually fight each other. They're just different types of games, and some...

      This is like asking why anyone would ever play chess when they could play a real-time strategy game where the units actually fight each other. They're just different types of games, and some people enjoy the gameplay style of card games. Collecting cards is just an aspect, not the entire game.

      4 votes
    2. yellow
      Link Parent
      I'd imagine part of it is that its familiar and accepted, in the sense that basic rules are already known. It would also be kinda weird to say "Your monsters form a queue in a secret random order,...

      I'd imagine part of it is that its familiar and accepted, in the sense that basic rules are already known. It would also be kinda weird to say "Your monsters form a queue in a secret random order, you add enough to fill your barracks to 7 each turn and can send 1 into battle" when you can just say "hand of 7, play 1". The rules are tested, devs know how to make card games. There is a recognized fairness to cards; you could have independent probabilities for each turn, but in cards you know the one you want is somewhere in the deck.

      Having literal card looking pieces also make it much easier to develop. Most cards are just different numbers, even most actions aren't that complicated. Whatever that action is, it says so right on the card. Instead of squeezing in enough 3D affects to make non-gaming PCs cry, you can get some high-quality painted art.

      I've barely played digital card games, but I do enjoy a few physical ones. Personally, I really like how you can learn the nuances of the game just be playing and reading the cards as they come up.

      3 votes