iOS Universal • Some games just aren’t ready for release. Lets keep that in mind while we talk about the recently released Eminence: Xander’s Tales. Eminence was originally billed as a CCG/MMORPG when it was Kickstarted by Aeterna Studios in 2014. Now it’s 2017 and Aeterna Studios has finally released an iOS version of Eminence, without the MMORPG elements, leaving a odd card game that combines deck-building and random card packs but none of the other traditional elements of a CCG. It’s about as much fun as finding out your ice-cream sundae was made with hot fudge and cottage cheese.
Stormbound is an interesting take on CCG and lane defence titles and poses interesting tactical questions for players both during play and in deck-building. Like many games, there are some facets of play in Stormbound that aren’t immediately apparent. The purpose of this article is to shine a light on these aspects and get you up to speed as quickly as possible.
iOS Universal, Android • I’ve given up being mad about freemium games. Its akin to fighting the tide, doesn’t really have any impact, and, after all, most freemium titles aren’t games at all but psychological engines devised only to part people from their money. Occasionally, however, a freemium title releases that, deliberately or accidentally, is actually a good game and that old rage begins to brew. Stormbound is a strategy CCG developed for Kongregate by Paladin Studios in the Netherlands. It’s a vibrantly styled, unique take on the CCG with some very interesting gameplay elements. It also has a freemium pay-engine strapped to it, by Kongregate I presume, that will make you weep for what could have been a true gem. It’s not as sad as the ending of Old Yeller, but you will ponder how greed can so often overcome the desire to less egregiously monetize a very good game.
iPad, Android, PC/Mac/Linux • Faeria is one of the many games on my “must play” list that I never seem to get around to actually playing. The combined CCG and tactical board game elements would seem to be my chocolate and peanut butter but, alas, Race for the Galaxy came out and pretty much ruined me for card games until some time in 2019 when I might get a little bored with it. Still, Abrakam, is trying to get me to put RftG aside early by unleashing new expansion content for Faeria. Looking at what’s in the expansion, they might just succeed.
iOS, Android, PC/Mac • It’s no secret that Hearthstone has lost its luster since its glory days back in 2014/2015. I’m only speaking for myself, of course, as I know there are still millions of players who play and love it. It just got big enough that I lost track of what the hell was going on, kind of like life. It seemed easier to ditch the game than try to learn the new cards and metas and, surprise, I’m the kind of guy who usually takes the easier path. Today, however, Blizzard announced the next expansion for Hearthstone and it might just be what was needed to drag me back in.
iPad, PC • I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t give Magic Duels a lot of love. If you don’t remember, Magic Duels was released in 2015 as the successor to Magic: Duels of the Planeswalkers, which was an annual release from Wizards each summer from 2009-2014. It was slated to be THE final release of Magic on your iPad, and would be updated when new sets were released rather than scuttled and re-released each year. From everything I can gather, it worked rather well; I just realized that playing Magic wasn’t really my thing. Didn’t hate it, but couldn’t justify the amount of time to really learn and understand the complexities of the game, so, it’s really my fault that we didn’t give it its due here at Stately Play. That said, it’s now dead, so I guess we’re off the hook.
iOS, Android, PC, Mac • It’s been awhile since I’ve been on the Hearthstone bandwagon. I know it’s got polish on top of its polish and that, as far as digital CCGs go, it’s still a pretty great game. Still, there’s something that drove me away. I think it was the bloat of expansion after expansion and the focus on esports that made me feel like casual play wasn’t really something Hearthstone did well anymore. I just don’t have enough time to research a game in order to play it well. Also, I have Race for the Galaxy now, thank you very much. Still, it’s a big money maker for Blizzard and, as such, they keep showing it love. In a few weeks it will be getting a major update that adds a couple of new features that might make it easier for old farts like me to get back into it.
PC/Mac (available now), iOS/Android (coming soon) • Just a hint to developers out there who want Stately Play to cover their titles: include “Through the Ages” in your subject line and it’s sure to make it to the front page. Age of Rivals developer, Roboto Games, did one better. They told me their latest title, Age of Rivals, is a cross between Through the Ages and 7 Wonders. Insert “Shut Up and Take My Money” meme here.
iPad, PC/Mac • After my torrid love affair with Hearthstone cooled, I kind of figured I was done with the whole CCG thing. After all, a big part of Hearthstone’s appeal was the setting, which I’d spent time in since the 90’s, and the polish that only a billion dollar developer can provide. 2016 surprised me, however, with not one, but two, new CCGs due for mobile that piqued my interest. The first is Duelyst, created by board game designer Eric Lang, and the second is Faeria. Both offer a CCG experience that incorporates a board and tiny little critters you can move around, but Faeria has one advantage over Duelyst, it’s been released for iPad.
iOS, Android, PC/Mac • Getting an original CCG up and running on the App Store isn’t as easy as it sounds. Just ask Stone Blade how tough it was getting SolForge to actually make them any money. That’s not stopping White Wizard Games from trying with their Epic Card Game. Already available in cardboard form, the digital version is now on Kickstarter and should be making its way to our phones this autumn. For backers, however, you can play it much, much sooner.