Tag Archives: card game

Pull up a chair by the Hearth

Pull up a chair by the Hearth

Hearthstone is now in Open Beta and now that I’ve had a few weeks to play the game and build some decks, I figure it’s time to share a review. In general I’m not really a card game player aside from things like rummy, gin, etc. Once upon a time I played Magic the Gathering but it’s been many a moon since those days. So when I got my invitation I decided, “What the hell, why not!”

I happily report that I’m not at all disappointed with my choice! While I knew there was quite the buzz about this game and I’d seen it played in the background of many a stream, I didn’t anticipate it being so addicting. I’ve enjoyed building decks and leveling my mage, I’ve even played in ranked – though I haven’t played in the arena just yet.


Hearthstone is a strategy card game where you pit your deck against your opponent’s (be it a player or computer). It’s available on both Windows and Mac, with plans to venture into the iOS/Android market later on. It’s FREE to play and as I mentioned, it’s open to download now and try. You don’t need to have any experience and the tutorial will get you started without a fuss.

Starting Out

You start with one hero, a mage named Jaina, and a starting deck is already built for you. You play through 6 missions to help you get the hang of how the game works. Throughout the game you’ll unlock cards from each basic hero deck as you go, until you have all basic cards for that hero unlocked upon reaching level 10. You can unlock different heroes (classes) by beating that hero in either practice or play – for instance, if I win a match against a player using a Priest deck, I now have the ability to make a priest deck myself.


There are currently 9 heroes: Jaina (mage), Rexxar (hunter), Uther (paladin), Garrosh (warrior), Malfurion (druid), Gul’dan (warlock), Thrall (shaman), Anduin (priest), Valeera (rogue). If you’re familiar with the Warcraft realm then the names will be familiar.

Cards & Decks

Certain cards are limited to a hero type and each type has a different hero power. There are also a large amount of cards that are open to all heroes so your ability to customize each deck is pretty high with the already existing card pool. You can earn more cards by buying packs – either with in-game gold earned by playing matches or with real money via the shop. Each pack gives you five cards and it works just like real life pack buying – there is the chance for special cards and duplicates.

Hearthstone's Grimscale Oracle card


Each card has several details on it. In the top left you can see the mana cost. Below the image is the name of the card and below that is information about what special things the card does (if anything). On the bottom left is the attack damage and bottom right is the health.

The Grimscale Oracle costs 1 mana crystal to place on the field. If there are any other Murlocs you placed on the field, then they will get +1 to their attack (and the number will turn green to show you it’s been modified). If you make it attack something it will do one point of damage, and if something attacks it, it will die (because it only have 1 hit point).





My Experience

The biggest thing I had to get used to was the fact that when you play a card it takes damage from whatever it’s attacking and can die. The first few hands I played I was like.. wtf? But eventually I got the hang of things and am slowly getting better at the game. Like I said, I haven’t played this kind of game in a long, long time so I’m rusty on making decisions on when I should and shouldn’t do things. And not yet knowing the norm for each deck/hero throws another challenge into the mix. But overall I’m really enjoying the game. It’s very easy to get into, great to just kick back and relax with, and now that it’s open to everyone it doesn’t take forever to find a match.

I’m looking forward to much more time with this game and climbing the ranked ladder! Hope many of you will join me!!

I Won My First Duel!

Way back in the days of yore1, my at-the-time boyfriend was an avid player of the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game. He was obsessed with it (very in-your-face) to the point that, for me, it was a little off-putting. Because of that fact I refused to play, buy him cards, or even just watch him while he dueled. It also put me at odds with his mother who I suspect bought booster packs and gave them to him in front of me2 just to get under my skin. Of course it put us at odds for a while, and I developed an intense hatred for the game and all things Yu-Gi-Oh! (yes, including the show).

Thankfully (for me), there was a lack of dueling partners for my ex and he soon stopped playing the game. Shortly after I got him hooked on Magic the Gathering, which is a game that I had been playing since middle school, and we played that all through college.

But this isn’t a post about Magic…it’s a post about Yu-Gi-Oh!

Fast forward to two months ago. I haven’t been with my ex in almost two years, haven’t thought about Yu-Gi-Oh or any other card game for that matter in just about as long, and I meet my now-boyfriend, Seto. Not only does he play Yu-Gi-Oh!, he’s actually really good at it and is even an admin on Dueling Network3. At first I go with my old reaction: Yu-Gi-Oh!? Eew! But the more he talks about it4, the more intrigued I get. And so I start poking around on my own, seeing if I can figure the game out.

Of course, I can’t keep my big mouth shut, and end up telling Seto that I’m looking into the game. So he takes it upon himself to teach me. It’s slow and (probably) painful (for him) at first, but I start to get it. I tried putting together my own deck, and then let him see it and make suggestions as to what should be swapped out. I ended up going with Fairies and Fiends, which is the TCG5 equivalent to OCG6 Angels & Demons so that I could pay homage to my old Magic deck which was all angels.

And so I start trying to learn to actually duel. I bounce back and forth between Seto and our friend Az, both of them teaching me things along the way. Along the way I also manage to duel (and subsequently crush) my ex. It’s always a learning process though.

However today was the first day I decided to host my own duel in hopes of getting someone that I didn’t know to duel me. The first duel I get into ends prematurely after the kid, who I can only assume must have been about 12, calls me butt hurt when I call him on an illegal move and quits the duel. But finally I got someone in who was willing to stick it out and I’m happy to say that I won!


Screen shot or it didn’t happen!
Insert happy face!

And so now I’ve got another new obsession under my belt. If Seto doesn’t stop getting me addicted to things I’ll never be able to get around to that Amnesia Let’s Play that ANGIE7 promised you!

  1. AKA high school
  2. All while including a smirk in my direction
  3. A site that lets you play online for free
  4. And yet never in an overly-obsessed or in-your-face way
  5. American version of YGO
  6. Japanese version of YGO
  7. Because honestly, would I ever really volunteer myself to be filmed while playing that horror show? HELL NO!