I've never attempted to play any of the variety of collectible card games that have come out before. Back when Magic: The Gathering was first becoming popular I was still in school and the aura of nerdiness that surrounded that game made it seem like something I would be best not to become associated with. Since then I have come to accept that I pretty much am at least nerdy enough to be involved with such things, and when Blizzard's new game Hearthstone was released into public beta mode, I decided to give it a try.
Due to my lack of experience with the genre I really had very little idea of what to expect of it, but I have to say I have been very pleasantly surprised. The gameplay is simple enough that the basic gist of it can be figured out pretty quickly, but it is also deep enough that developing a strategy can present a much greater challenge, especially to those unfamiliar with similar games.
The main concept is that each player begins with 30 health points and a customizable deck of cards. Each of those cards have a variety of attack points, health points, and/or special powers which can be used to weaken your opponent and defend against his/her attacks. Like I said, simple enough right? Well, each of the possible characters have their own unique abilities and certain cards that are exclusive to them. And then there is the strategy of how to arrange your deck. Do you want to fill it with higher energy cards that can only be used later in the game, but that offer stronger attack bonuses? Or do you want to try and wear your opponent down early with weaker, cheaper cards? Or do you want to try to find the perfect balance of both? Any of these strategies is made more challenging by the random dealing of the cards in your deck, adding a hint of luck to the equation.
This can all add up to a situation in which, especially at the beginning, you find yourself losing. A lot. But when you do finally get a decent deck put together and find yourself beginning to win at least sometimes, it is a very satisfying feeling. Especially when you wind up with matches as closely fought as the one above (which I lost, incidentally). The game is still in beta, so some things about it are likely to change, and perhaps rightfully so as it is sometimes more than a little frustrating. But it is still insanely addictive, and a game that I highly recommend everyone check out, whether they've ever played this type before or not.