WoW: Trading Card Game

So we picked up a couple of decks and a small pile of boosters for the World of Warcraft trading card game at Gaelcon today. I think it's a pretty good game.

Playwise, it's not unlike Magic: The Gathering, to me, and I'm told it draws play elements from Versus as well, although I know nothing about that. You have your hero card - think of the stronghold from Legend of the Five Rings, if you're familiar with that - which the rest of your deck must match. The matching is by "traits", most of which seem to be the class of the hero, and some of which are the faction. Some cards are neutral, and can go in any deck. The classes of the heroes are the same as those in the MMO. You can then add equipment, allies, and abilities to your hero in play, and the aim is to reduce your opponent's hero to zero health. Bringing cards into play depends on resources, and any card can become a resource by placing it face down, one card per turn. Finally, there are quests, which act as resources, and can be completed with certain requirements, giving some benefit, after which they act as ordinary resources.

Art-wise, it's generally rather good. There are a few lack-lustre pieces, but mostly, the art is clear and clean, with none of the vague swirly pieces that often plague the first release of CCGs. The layout of the cards is also clear and unambiguous, and the rarity is clearly marked on each card - white text indicates a common, green uncommon, blue rare, purple epic, and orange legendary, as per items in the MMO. Starter packs come with three oversized hero cards, with part-foil areas on the back, which are very nice indeed. I'm not sure they're terribly practical for play, but they're nice to have.

Otherwise, in the starter pack, you get a pre-constructed 30-card deck, two boosters, and a rulebook. The rulebook is fine for learning from, but could do with a little improvement as a reference. This is common to most CCGS in my experience, though. Each booster also contains a UDE points card, with a unique code on it. These can be entered on the UDE site, and redeemed for points, which can then be spent on various downloads, purchases, or in-game MMO items. So far the downloads are limited to wallpapers, but the site says that there will be playmats, token cards, screensavers and original art auctions soon. There are also some very rare loot cards, which entitle you to in-game MMO items immediately.

Some of those loot cards are already on eBay, and I see one - the snapjaw turtle mount - which has now gone to over €100, in ten bids. Another, which gives a tabard, is going for around the €40 mark. Ordinary rare cares are fetching between 75 cents and €3, and epics are going for up to €12. I suspect some of this is early market behaviour, though, and that it will settle fairly soon.

For now, I have an orc warlock - Radak Doombringer - as my hero, and am trying to assemble a useful deck for him. It's actually quite hard, even with the starter pack and four boosters, to get together enough warlock and Horde cards to make it up to the 60-card standard. I'm going to have to trade a bit to get to it, and since I'm scrabbling for cards to make the deck, strategic thinking will have to wait until I have a few more. But that's the nature of any TCG, I suspect. It's certainly worth trying, and I've enjoyed the trial games I've played, even if they weren't yet 100% as per the rules.

Posted by Drew Shiel at October 28, 2006 11:11 PM

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