Cards and Castles is a game that’s basically a mix between Magic the Gathering, chess, and Hearthstone. Intrigued? Then keep reading.
Now, this review is going to be a bit different than what I usually do, as I am not going to focus on the gameplay as much, but I’ll get to the “non-gameplay” in bit.
The game itself is really damn fun, and is what you would get if you cross-bred Magic the Gathering with chess and had it raised by Hearthstone while Solforge looked on.
To put it simply, you have a castle, the enemy has a castle, and you use cards to summon monsters to destroy the castle.
Like Hearthstone, you have a universal set of mana (or gold in this case) that you use to play cards. You start with 1 gold and every turn you refill your gold and gain 1 maximum, just like Hearthstone.
But, this game is a lot more spatially aware, as it all takes place on a 2d chess-like board. You can move units and attack, play spells to hurt or help units, or create buildings that provide passive effects.
It is actually very fun, and it really appeals to me. Unfortunately, there seems to be a lot of wasted potential with some of the effects. I could list some of my ideas, but I want to get more familiar with the game’s metagame before I suggest anything like specialized resources.
But, here is the important thing, the one thing I want you the reader, the game developers, and everyone playing this game to know: it’s a free-to-play game that costs $11. Edit: it only costs $11 for early access.
You know how this song and dance goes, you have the cards to start the game with, usually a starter deck of some sort. Then, you purchase card packs using in-game currency, which usually contain four crap-to-meh cards and one meh-to-ok card. Or, you can purchase premium currency to get super awesome packs that always contain a super awesome card and a bunch of really awesome cards.
Now, let me throw some numbers at you: a pack costs 2,000 “CP” (no, not that kind of cp, but “Card Points”) and a draft ticket costs 24,000 CP or 20 SP (silver points, the paid currency). However, you only get a paltry 700 CP a day from the random quests, and between 50 and 90 CP for an online win.
So, that means if you want a pack of cards, most of which contain absolute garbage, you have play between 23 and 40 games. For one pack. For a tournament entry, you need a whopping 267-480 wins. Again, wins, not games. If you lose a game, you get no rewards whatsoever.
I also mentioned SP, the paid currency. This is where it gets really good. The rates of SP are:
- 50 SP for $5 (10/$)
- 110 SP for $10 (11/$)
- 225 SP for $20(11.25/$)
- 575 SP for $50 (11.5/$)
- 1200 SP for $100 (12/$)
Look at these prices, the absolute best “deal” you can get is 12 SP/$, but only if you purchase a whopping $100 worth of digital coins.
I want to ask, in what world is that any sort of acceptable practice? In order to play a draft tournament, you have to either spend $2, or play a bleeding 300 multiplayer games, and win them all. Or, you can complete a once-daily quest and earn about 2% of a tournament or 35% of a pack.
Hearthstone‘s quests give between 40-100% of a pack and 26%-66% of a tournament. You only need to win 45 games to get a tournament entry, which is a far cry from the 350 average in Cards and Castles.
I look at this game and I see a good game that is swallowed whole by scummy business practices, a lack of basic math, and a hatred for the draft tournaments. Again, why should I have to
play win 350 games to play a draft tournament? It hurts me the most, because the game is really good, but I cannot stand by and watch these asinine practices.
Solforge (with tournaments costing 60k, 80k and 140k in-game silver) also gives large amounts of silver per day (between 2k and 3k), but most importantly, you are guaranteed two packs everyday and an event ticket (worth 20k for tournaments). Also, you can deconstruct the cards you get for silver, which can in turn be used for packs, tournaments or crafting cards themselves.
There are a few things I would change, some involving UI and some involving general gameplay, but I cannot think straight as I am forced to WIN over 300 games just to get a chance at doing a draft tournament.
Title: Cards and Castles
Developer: Bit Mass, LLC
Publisher: Bit Mass, LLC
Thank you for your honest feedback. I understand your concerns about pricing, but I wanted to address a few of your complaints. The game actually IS free to play, it is only the incomplete Steam version which requires a payment up front and in exchange you get a LOT of items that would normally require a purchase. The final steam version will be free to download and try out. Second, our tournament pricing is roughly in line with Solforge, which you mentioned. This is a different model from hearthstone, we and Solforge both orient our tournaments around payers and have much more exciting prizes as a result. Tournaments aren’t required to compete in ranked play, they are a bonus feature. We plan to offer constructed tourneys in the future as well.
Thank you for the review and praise and I hope you will continue playing and enjoying the awesome new cards and features we are bringing out. 🙂
I made a little update, a correction regarding the pricing and a quick comparison to solforge.