Collectible Card Games (CCG) are more popular today than ever. The game that created this format back in 1993 is Magic: The Gathering and many similar games have emerged since then.
The concept is simple. Players buy packs of cards, similar to the ones we see in sticker cards. Each card contains certain abilities that are written on the card itself. With these cards, players make a deck with which they try to beat their opponent. The game is turn-based, similar to chess. Digital games with collectible cards are almost the same as games with physical cards, although we also have games that are drastically different, but they are mostly single-player.
Most online games of this type are free. By playing, players get free currency, with which they can buy packs of cards, but additional packs can also be bought with real money. We will present you top three, in our opinion, the best free online collectible card games (CCG) available for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS.
Hearthstone is a free online collectible card game available for Windows 7, 8, 10, macOS, Android, and iOS and is without a doubt the most popular game of its kind. It was published by Blizzard in 2014.
Why is the year of publication of this game important? Because 2014-2015 was the final moment before Activision took full control of Blizzard and turned this famous company, which for decades has defined video game development, into the common money-making machine, and this is unfortunately what we see in modern Hearthstone.
Hearthstone is a game that popularized collectible card games on the computer. Before Hearthstone, there were several attempts to move Magic: The Gathering into the digital world, but those attempts ended in failure. The main reason for the failure of these games is that the mechanics of the game played with physical cards create a complicated and uninteresting game on the computer. Hearthstone changed that by simplifying the game and creating mechanics that are easy to understand and that go well with the digital environment.
The goal of the game is to reduce the opponent’s life points to zero. You achieve this by summoning various soldiers, beasts, wizards, and all sorts of monsters on the board, which are called minions and which can attack the opponent or the opponent’s minions. You also have spells that can be defensive or offensive, which help you, for example, destroy your opponent’s minions or strengthen your own.
Hearthstone’s production value is at the highest level. The art style is beautiful, each card is designed to remain engraved in the memory of the player, either by the image on the card or by the sound it produces when the card is played.
In addition to the art style, the feeling while playing is phenomenal. When you play the card, they will be placed on the board with a satisfactory “thump”, and the animations when attacking or activating the card’s abilities are fluid and beautiful. In this aspect, Hearthstone is without competition and many designers can learn a lot by studying the work of masters from Blizzard.
Unfortunately, this is the end of praise. What we have written about so far is the old Blizzard, this new one is more focused on earnings than on quality and that can be seen. Hearthstone is a free game, but it’s just an advertisement. It is true that you can download the game for free and get a few free cards and card packs, but in order to make a deck that can win even at the lowest level of the game, you have to play for hours for miserable prizes or pay. Wondering how much? It is estimated that it is necessary to pay between 300 and 350 dollars per expansion in order to collect all the cards, and three expansions are published annually. Of course, it is not necessary to have all the tickets, but even if you pay half less, this price is simply absurd.
Another problem is the game itself. The cards that Blizzard makes are such that they are easy to advertise, and with each new expansion, they become more powerful to force players to buy them. This leads to the fact that we have three or four most powerful decks in the game, which most players play. Because of that, the game becomes boring very quickly, especially because due to the strength of these decks, no other decks can be played, unless you don’t mind losing all the time.
Hearthstone is on this list because of its popularity, historical significance, and because it is the best place for new players to learn the rules of games of this type. We recommend that you try it out, feel its production quality, and move on to another game from this list.
Windows 7, 8, 10, macOS, Android, and iOS
Shadowverse is a free online collectible card game available for Windows 7, 8, 10, and macOS via Steam, as well as apps for Android and iOS. The first thing we have to say about this game is that it is a shameless copy of Hearthstone, but with its own personal stamp. Why a copy? So because all the basic mechanics of Hearthstone were directly copied, only their names were changed. Why with a personal stamp? Because the fundamental philosophy of card design is drastically different.
The basic idea of card design in Hearthstone is simplicity. We remember the words of the designers when they said that the player must immediately understand what the card does, without additional explanations. Shadowverse is completely different in this aspect. Although we have cards that are quite simple, we also have cards that have several paragraphs of text that explain the mechanics of the card. In this aspect, Shadowverse is a more complicated game and it takes more time before you learn how to play it.
However, we do not consider this a disadvantage of Shadowverse, on the contrary. Hearthstone has a problem that the cards, due to their simplicity, become boring after a short time, and it is usually possible to use them only in one way. This means that there is not too much experimentation and you will almost never discover a way to use the card that is not immediately obvious. In Shadowverse, the situation is different. The cards are much more interesting, and trying out different combinations provides a special kind of satisfaction.
The business model is also far better. When you create a new account you will get enough cards to put together a solid deck, and the rewards you get by playing the game are enough to motivate you to keep going. Unfortunately, you will not be able to collect all the cards without paying, but that is not necessary. We sincerely believe that Shadowverse can be played without paying.
The only criticism we have is, we admit, of a personal nature, and that is the art style. It’s a recognizable anime style that some like and some don’t. We personally have nothing against this style, but in Shadowverse, everything is studded with details to such an extent that nothing is striking. After tens of hours of playing, it happens that we do not recognize the card that we often come across in the game by the picture, but we have to click on it and look at its name.
Windows 7, 8, 10, macOS, Android, and iOS
Gwent: The Witcher Card Game
Gwent: The Witcher Card Game, hereinafter referred to as Gwent, is a free online collectible card game available for Windows 7, 8, 10, macOS, Android, and iOS. The main reason why we liked this game so much is that it is one of the few games of this kind that differs drastically from the format set by Magic: The Gathering.
While in games like Magic: The Gathering, Shadowverse, and Hearthstone the goal is to destroy all the opponent’s life points, in Gwent the goal is to put together a larger army than the opponent. The game is played in three rounds, and to win you need to win two. If you win the first two rounds, the third round is not played.
The number of cards you have is limited and if you spend too many cards to win the first round, you will not have enough resources to win the second and third. The main thing in Gwent is to know how to lose the round, but also make the opponent spend too many resources.
The art style of the game is great and is taken directly from the famous game The Witcher in which a simplified version of Gwent is available. The feeling during the game is good, but it is not at the level of Hearthstone. The business model is fair and the game can be played for free, but as with all these games, to collect all the cards that are available, you will have to pay.
Windows 7, 8, 10, macOS, Android, and iOS