When I was a child growing up to way past my teens, I was always mesmerized by card games.
There was just something about those pieces of thin cardboard that made my hands itch and sent my mind racing.
The games varied and could have been as heated as a game of poker with a plain old deck of playing cards or something more ingenious – I’m talking about trading card games of which I played many.
For a time they had definitely had me on their deadly hooks, taking up a lot of my time – they were just so fun to play. I think it was the fact that the games required more in depth strategy like the tried and tested Magic: The Gathering and of course a bit of luck.
Unfortunately, for me, times have changed. I no longer have the time to go from place to place looking for someone to play with and that’s not even mentioning how much it would cost to assemble a deck these days. Good thing is that it’s only natural for the genre to evolve with the times. With the advent of online trading card games, it’s so much easier to find one to quench my thirst. There are a great many card games out there, but this time I think I’ve found a winner that I can easily see myself playing on and off for at least for the foreseeable future.
The online TCG that I’m talking about is Might and Magic: Duel of Champions. It’s for the PC and available on Steam. So far, it has exceeded my expectations, which I based on my long years as a card player. In all honesty, it’s a lot more fun than I thought it would be and I love card games.
The theme is simple enough using elements that have been clearly defined and refined over and over through the long running Might and Magic franchise. For anyone who’s never heard of that particular fictional universe, it basically means that the cards represent magical and supernatural style elements that would be right at home in any fantasy blockbuster film. Zombies, demons, trolls and centaurs to name a few.That gives this card game a deep foundation to stand upon; being able to draw on pre-existing lore and factions can only enhance the quality of any game.
This game is beautiful in its sheer depth yet still straight forward enough that any newcomer will find their comfort zone within just a dozen games. The tutorial has a lot to do with that, it’s easy to follow and effective in teaching the ropes, in fact before I knew I was deploying my cards with all the cunning of any veteran armchair strategist. Even when I was playing against a Human opponent in a duel like fashion, the paltry tips that I learned during the tutorial was enough for me to overcome at least a few of my would-be-slayers.
Sure, like any new game, there is a slight learning curve but nothing too steep. It was definitely able to introduce me everything that mattered yet still left me enough gaps in my knowledge that I went looking for more. The kind of things that could only be acquired through the rigors of repetition and combat.
The cards themselves are masterfully drawn and leave the viewer with the impression of a world far far away. While good looking, it isn’t too distracting and more importantly the artwork helps differentiate from all the different cards, of which there are over 600. There are a couple card types that the game revolves around – mainly creatures, events, spells, and fortunes. They each have their sub types and their own particular uses but it’s when their abilities are put together that the game takes shape. It’s when people start combining all the different variables that makes for such an interesting game.
The most important type of card though, is the hero. The proverbial king piece and the figure that best represents the player the most – because the goal of the game is to kill the other guy’s hero. There’s a wide variety of them, each with their own abilities that happen to add even more strategic depth to the game. Something as simple as discarding a card to deal two damages could be a major game charger, or simply having a hero that can return dead creatures to the hand is like an invisible axe ready to cleave the opposing player in two. Their real worth though, is determining exactly what kind of cards a player can place onto his/her deck. Fortune and Creature cards are divided by Factions (currently 6 of them) and spell cards are divided by their branch of magic (currently 7).
I could spend hours looking at cards and putting them together in deadly combinations that could hopefully overwhelm whoever I meet but the real fun comes when you actually duel someone. Managing the four different resources in battle and making the best use of whatever card I drew at the time was thought provoking and sent me on a journey of discovery and challenging fun.
Sure, I made mistakes by playing a power card too early or too late, mismanaging a resource or just by moving my creature into the wrong square – but I had a blast all throughout (was more fun when I won though). Needless to say there are a lot of variables in this game, but that’s a hefty part of its allure.
By game six (games can be 5-15minutes on average) I was already trying to be clever and attempted to lure my opponent into a trap that would deprive him of his army of creatures – and all it would take was some maneuvering. Sadly it didn’t work the first time nor the second but with further refinement it worked more often than not, which basically underscores the whole game. With so many possible opponents sometimes you’ll win, sometimes you won’t.
The game itself is basic enough with deck-building and matches being the only attraction, but that is more than enough to keep me interested. Lastly, the game is nicely balanced; it gets major points for not inventing game-breaking cards, the kind of things that a player must have in order to win, because if there are any I haven’t found it.
Note: Like any self respecting card game, there are tournaments to be found. Nothing too big, but fun all the same. Upon further research, there are championship tournaments more reminiscent to e-sports that I admit; I haven’t looked into – just another casual player here, minding his own business.
How Free-To-Play is Free-to-Play?
In my humble opinion, this game is one of the true free to play games out there. In fact, it’s easy to acquire additional cards – it just takes some grinding. Saying that doesn’t paint much of a picture; to get a better idea there are two primary resources to buy things with. One is Gold and is accumulated by playing ranked matches and throwing away useless cards. The other is called Seals, which only increase through the level and completing achievements. Both are used to buy booster packs, or a box of booster packs.
Sure, people can pay to get a leg up but that’s only making them achieve their goal a little faster. I say that because of two reasons, one – booster packs are so random that it’s almost impossible to acquire a particular card; trust me I know this from painful personal experience.
Luckily, there’s the wildcard feature, which makes the game so friendly. Basically it allows any player to pick and purchase any singular card; all it takes is getting a third resource called, you guessed it – wildcards. Getting them is as easy as buying a new booster pack, so while it may take a long long while to complete the deck of your dreams, it’s not impossible especially to those who have time on their hands.
In short every single aspect of this game is free, and while paying a little money could give someone a leg up it’s not game breaking. In fact, I’ve seen players that are level a hundred and over, and I’m sure those players can compete and beat anyone who throws money into this game – heck they probably have all the cards already.
Should You Try It?
This is definitely a competitive game but not only that it’s a thinking game. Don’t let the stylish art trick you for even a moment; this game at its core is strategy. Managing the fleeting resources under your control and knowing when to strike are some of the basics of this game. The freedom of allowing each of its players to imagine and create their own working combinations of cards to conquer all opposition leads for one refreshing game.
No two opponents can truly be the same, and in the odd chance, they are similar; that’s where luck comes in - it is a card game after all. All in all, this game is immensely satisfying. There’s nothing like the enjoyment of pounding an opponent so badly that they surrender, or figuring out how to turn the tables at the last moment with nothing but timing and execution.
From gameplay to deck building this game was a pleasant surprise at every corner. In short, anyone who even has a passing interest in strategy should definitely give this game a try; it’s a fairly small download and because of how spartan is, it won’t take long to figure out if it’s worth playing or not. For those that do find themselves engrossed as I have been, the game can only expand from here. In fact, MMDoC can has already released four expansions since this game launched proving that the developers will continue to give its user-base new and interesting possibilities to have fun with.
TL;DR – in case you missed the picture, Try It.
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