Over the last five years, the digital card game genre has been booming, and it seems that card games are here to stay.
It is all thanks to the astronomical popularity of Blizzard's Hearthstone, which came out in 2014 and it became one of the most popular online games at the time.
Other publishers saw the potential and started making their own card games, with more or less success.
And while card games are not as popular as they were in the best days of Hearthstone, there are still many great card games out there to play, and if you would like to start playing a card game in 2021, there's more than enough high-quality games to choose from.
Let's see what are some of the best and most fun cards games for you to play in 2021.
Gwent: The Witcher Card Game
(Picture: CD Projekt)
Besides being set in a fantastic world of The Witcher franchise, what's really appealing about Gwent is its unique gameplay.
The game basically has nothing to do with a traditional CCG gameplay as Hearthstone and MTG have.
The game is truly closer to poker in terms of bluffing and risking. The goal of the game is to win in a Bo3 match by having more combined points than the opponent at the end of each round, but what started as a simple minigame in The Witcher 3, now offers a plethora of intriguing gameplay mechanics and the beautifully crafted world with some of the best-animated cards in the genre.
Definitely a great game worth of trying.
(Picture: Versus Evil)
Faeria is another card game that offers unique gameplay elements. What's unique with this game is that it has "a living board" with which you can interact and change it, in order to make strategic advantages.
Your minions are not just static cards, since the game also has elements of turn-based strategies, and you can move your minions on a hex-based board.
The game also doesn't have card packs which you need to grind like in other card games. Instead, everything in the game you can buy in a form of DLCs.
It offers over 100+ hours of solo content, co-operative missions, and puzzles, along with draft mode and PVP.
The Elder Scrolls: Legends
Unfortunately, development of TES Legends is on hold since December 2019, and it seems that the game will not get any future content.
Nonetheless, the game is still available for playing and Bethesda promises that servers will still stay up for quite some time.
The basic gameplay is similar to standard card game mechanics, but the unique gimmick is a two-lane board which allowed for a lot of strategic depth.
Creatures can fight creatures only from the same lane, and board effects are affecting only one lane. The game also has a Rune system, which gives you a card draw whenever you lose 5 health, which is a neat comeback mechanic.
The game is all-around fun to play and the quality of production is really high, so if you are an Elder Scrolls fan, trying TES: Legends should be a no-brainer.
(Picture: 1939 Games)
Kards is a World War II card game which combines traditional CCG gameplay with innovative mechanics inspired by classic strategy games and real battlefield tactics.
It introduces concepts of "frontline" and "support assets" which brings additional layers of strategic depth and tactical diversity blended with a classic card game formula.
The game has a resource called "Kredits" which you use to deploy new units, operating units on the battlefield, and to give orders. Careful balancing will be key for the proper execution of your plans.
On top of that, the WWII enthusiast will find authentic WWII atmosphere with beautiful illustrations, animations, and sound effects.
Eternal Card Game
(Picture: Dire Wolf)
Eternal is build on mostly standard gameplay mechanics when it comes to card games, but it is doing that really good.
It is a perfect blend between Hearthstone and MTG. It offers a strategic depth of MTG, but with fluency and accessibility of Hearthstone, all packed in a visuals beautiful game.
The game has six classes, but your deck building is not restricted by them, and you can literally mix any number of classes when you are building a deck.
What's also great with Eternal is that it offers a really generous free-to-play system and it is available on literally all the systems, from PC and consoles, to smartphones, and it has cross-platform enabled, which means that you bring your collection with you no matter where you play.
Legends of Runeterra
(Picture: Riot Games)
If you are a League of Legends player and generally a fan of the game's lore and the world, then this is a perfect game for you.
Legends of Runeterra uses familiar MOBA champions from League of Legends and is adapting their recognisable abilities and playstyle into card game mechanics that you might know from the other popular games.
In Legends of Runeterra cards are divided into Runeterra's regions and champions are tied to specific regions they belong to. There's a total of six regions currently in the game, offering different playstyles, with their own unique strengths and weaknesses.
Unlike Hearthstone or MTG, the game is noticeably faster, with followers and champions attacking immediately rather than waiting for the traditional turn.
Finally, if you don't like to spend too much money on cards, Legends of Runeterra is praised for its generous reward system.
Magic: The Gathering Arena
The godfather of CCG games naturally must be on this list.
The physical version of Magic: The Gathering is largely responsible for the popularity of collectable card games, and practically all other games are in some way copying MTG mechanics.
Still, when it comes to digital card games, MTG was notorious for several bad implementations which simply didn't work in a form of a video game.
That was the case until Magic: The Gathering Arena came out in 2018, which finally manages to deliver a high-quality experience that players are expecting from a digital card game, combined with everything that fans love from the physical version of MTG.
MTG Arena offers unparalleled complexity in terms of gameplay mechanics, which can be challenging but once you master them, you will enjoy in the synergies and strategic possibilities that the game hides behind all those daunting rules.
If you are willing to invest time in learning and don't have a problem with the seemingly complicated ruleset, MTG Arena is a fantastic choice when it comes to card games.
Love it or hate it, there is a reason why, after all these years, Hearthstone is still by far the most popular digital card game on the market.
There's a lot to be told about the game's monetisation system and it's true that it can be really hard to get into the game because of the paywall, but if you have enough time to grind gold for packs and are willing to spend money on the game, Hearthstone will offer you simple yet amazing gameplay which is incredibly fun and contagious.
Hearthstone is in a better state than ever before, with several new game modes like Duels and Battlegrounds, a new class Demon Hunter, a lot of new cards, and regular balance updates that are there to shake up the meta and offer some fresh possibilities.
Despite some shortcomings, Hearthstone is an incredible game, and you will never make a mistake if you start playing it. The only real reason why we are hesitating to fully recommend it, is because it can be quite expensive if you want to play with several decks and classes, which is a shame, but things are moving in the right direction with some recent changes, and we hope that Blizzard will continue making the game more accessible for new players.
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And there you have it, some of the best card games available for you to play across all platforms, from PC, PlayStation, Xbox and Switch, to mobile phones.
Of course, there are other great card games that you can try as well. If you are a fan of singleplayer in particular, we definitely recommend you to play Slay the Spire, Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales, and Monster Train.
Other good card games are Shadowverse, Hex: Shards of Fate, Ascension, Griftlands, Ancient Enemy, and many others.