Card games, despite being one of the more traditional modes of entertainment, never seem to go out of fashion, the eternal popularity of blackjack, poker, and their online variants standing as testament to that fact. The advent of the internet, far from damning classic pastimes to the history books, has only increased the number of card games on offer.
Here are just four worth your time this year:
Gwent: The Witcher Card Game
A spin-off of CD Projekt RED’s landmark RPG, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, the original iteration of Gwent was a minigame that involved players taking armies made of collectible cards to battle against their opponents’ – in this case, innkeepers, barons, and anybody else who happened to have the cards on their person.
The game’s popularity prompted the Polish developer to create a standalone version of Gwent for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC. The title, currently in closed beta testing, will include the usual factions – Monsters, Scoia’tael, Skellige, and Northern Realms, as well as a card-crafting feature. The obvious enhancement, however, is the addition of a ranked multiplayer experience.
Pokémon TCG Online
As evidenced by the success of Niantic’s augmented reality game Pokémon Go, everybody loves Pikachu, Charmander & Co. However, long before mobile apps were even invented, The Pokémon Company created its own playground economy with a related card game, inclusive of creature cards, energy cards, and powerful holographic variants.
Pokémon TCG Online is the same experience realized in digital format, it’s fairly old now (it was released as a browser game in 2011) but an Android app came out in April 2016. Featuring support for multiplayer, Pokémon TCG Online includes even the latest developments in Poké-world, including the Alola Region.
SNAP is a unique variant of 888poker’s Texas hold ‘em game played with a group of players on PC or mobile. At its core, SNAP is the same poker game that’s delighted players for decades but played at a much faster pace. In brief, when a player folds, they are replaced with another one; the original player is moved to a different table and the game begins anew.
SNAP is one of five different variants of poker offered by 888, a range that includes classic games like 7-card stud and Omaha hi/lo.
Blizzard Entertainment, despite all the criticism it earns for always forcing online-functionality, is very good at making games. The developer has Overwatch, Diablo III, and StarCraft II on its CV, as well as a card battle game – Hearthstone – based on the world of its seminal online RPG, World of Warcraft.
Hearthstone has players face off against their opponents with thirty cards and a single, powerful hero character. Each individual card features a spell, a damage-dealing ability, or a specialist skill like minion summoning. An entire eSports community has grown up around Hearthstone’s accessible but deep gameplay.
As a final bonus, veterans of the above titles could also try Magic: The Gathering (a new title, Origins, was released in 2015) or The Elder Scrolls: Legends, a title that will be familiar to fans of Bethesda’s popular RPGs, Skyrim, Oblivion, and Morrowind.