Buying packets of collectible cards has been around for over a century, but when Magic: The Gathering was introduced in 1993, the idea of collectible cards took on a whole new dimension. A fun game with a deep level of strategy, Magic: The Gathering set the standard for collectible card games. And with its introduction onto the iPad, it seeks to set a new standard for digital card games.
But Duels of the Planeswalkers isn't the only strategic card game for the iPad. There are a number of great choices for those looking to go beyond games of Hearts, Spades, and Uno.
Duels of the Planeswalkers is everything a collectible card game for the iPad should be. It's a beautiful game with various different single-player campaign modes that will both introduce new players and challenge experienced players. It also contains a nice matching system for online play, so once you've mastered the campaign, you can challenge yourself against other players.
Kard Combat may not rival Duels of the Planeswalkers in graphics, but it does rival it in strategic game play. And well it should. Richard Garfield, the creator of Magic: The Gathering, lent some of his wisdom to the Kard Combat team. The game features eight different characters, a campaign that pits you against 33 foes and online multiplayer duels.
Shadow Era puts a twist on the standard formula for card games. Instead of playing one set of cards to build up a pool of mana and another set to use that mana, you have a single set of cards that can either be used to cast a spell or sacrifice to build your mana pool. The game has beautifully drawn cards and features a deck builder, allowing you to explore different strategies.
In the world of strategy card games, there are collectible card games like Magic: The Gathering and there are deck building games like Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer. Certainly, there is a fair amount of deck building in any good card game. But in an traditional collectible card game, you collect cards by either buying booster packs or winning them. In a deck building game, you use the cards in your deck to buy better cards, thus deck building is put into the game itself rather than something done between matches. This variation adds a new level of play to those who love collectible card games.
Another card game that has transitioned from your living room table to our iPad, Summoner Wars is a cross between a collectible card game and a traditional strategy game. Instead of having a deck that you play like a standard card game, you use the cards to move around a map, positioning the cards to ultimately give you the upper hand.
This sequel to Orions: Legend of Wizards puts the standard deck vs deck gameplay as the combat system of a larger game where you move around in a randomly generated world and challenge different deckmasters. It reminds me a little of the MicroProse Magic: The Gathering game that used the same backdrop for the card battles. The actual combat may not have as deep of a tactical feel as some of the other collectible card games, but the game as a whole is a nice distraction.