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Shadow Era: Get Your CCG On

Collectible Card Game, I freely admit, are not my thing. I played Magic back in the day a bit (literally a dabbler) and even the modern spin on the CCG, the “Deckbuilding” game, is usually hit and miss with me. CCGs always seemed like insane money pits.

I have a friend with whom I play boardgames with on weekends who used to be a complete Magic nut job: entering tourneys, the works. He’s now playing a new online game that just launched for PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Android that he’s enjoying a great deal called Shadow Era. It’s a collectible card battle game that is 100% free to play, at least for now and sounds like a nice airport/commute on the train time killer. As much as I dislike CCGs, CCGs on my PC / Android might be worth checking out.

If anyone tries this let me know. My schedule is full. Hmm maybe Barnes knows of this…

Off to the Shadow Era website!

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Bill Abner

Bill has been writing about games for the past 16 years for such outlets as Computer Games Magazine, GameSpy, The Escapist, GameShark, and Crispy Gamer. He will continue to do so until his wife tells him to get a real job.

11 thoughts to “Shadow Era: Get Your CCG On”

  1. I used to be pretty obsessed with CCGs…but then I got married and had a kid; as any married parent can tell you, these events tend to shrink the gaming budget. Just a little. CCGs were the first thing to go, an easy decision, as the ever-increasing cost and wearisome expansion cycles had already put my enthusiasm on life support. Then, of course, the comics went, and THAT was followed by a 6-month grieving period.

    Anyway. Shadow Era. This game is awesome; I’ve had it on iPad for awhile now. I keep waiting for the bait-and-switch “give us money or you’re going to suck” moment, but so far I’ve been incredibly impressed by the amount of content you get at no cost whatsoever. The mechanics are a lot of fun, too; better than many of the other “mock CCG” games I have played over the past couple years, like Spectromancer and Duels of the Planeswalkers. I put almost 150 hours into the latter, and I can see Shadow Era matching that someday.

    I still think the best online CCG experience is Wizard’s Magic offering, but that’s hardly cost free. If you want a CCG with plenty of deck design freedom, plenty of cards, and interesting mechanics, at absolutely zero cost, you can’t go wrong with Shadow Era. If you’re a refugee of pricey CCGs like MtG, or you spent many a frustrated play session of DotP wishing you could actually customize your deck, Shadow Era is pure oxygen. On the other hand, if you’ve never been into the genre, this one probably isn’t going to make a convert out of you…sorry, Bill.

    I could talk about the gameplay with a little more depth, but I’m not sure the terminology is going to be very meaningful to someone who hasn’t spent a lot of time with MtG. It’s very similar in many ways, though it ditches the mana/land system for casting strength, which works out much, much better than Magic’s antiquated mana system. Give it a shot…it’s free, after all, and relatively easy to learn, too.

    Finally, I should note that you CAN spend money, but I promise that you really can stay competitive without spending a cent. It isn’t a false promise in this case.

  2. I do know of it, I’ve had it on my phone for a while now. It doesn’t run worth shit on a 3G, so I’ve not really messed with it much. When I upgrade my phone (holding out for the next model in June), I’ll check it out more. It looks pretty good, and it’s designed by the guy that did Battle of Wesnoth.

  3. I have played very casually and enjoyed it.
    I have not put any real money toward it yet, but I may be coming to that.

    That said, I would love a real Magic on iPhone/iPad because I do not like the CG part of CGs, but I love CCGs! It is for that alone that I put so many hours into various DS Yu-Gi-Oh’s.

    I thought the way scoring and damaging and all that were so awkward but the DS versions or videogame versions in general make it so that you can focus on the deck building and game playing.

    This follows that tradition and the price of entry begs for it to at least be tried.

  4. If you’re looking for a good free-to-play CCG, I can’t recommend Elements enough. Granted, it’s a browser game, so it doesn’t work great for a phone, but it’s definitely worth checking out.

    There’s pretty frequent updates, and if you’re willing to sit through one ad, you can play all day without any other interruption.

    The first 30 or so games are a little rough till you build up your deck (find the cards in your initial deck you don’t want, and sell them to buy better ones!) but I’m a pretty big fan. You can play PvE all day, as I prefer, but there’s also a pretty solid PvP base too if that’s your thing.

    Just tossing it out there…

  5. Sure thing, if you need tips let me know. I know a thing or two about a thing or two when it comes to the Elements.

  6. This is exactly what I’ve been looking for. Going to download it and give it a go tonight…thanks for pointing this out Bill.

  7. Yeah, that’s exactly what I was thinking. I played a ton of the WoW TCG when it first came out and this looks like a dumbed down lootless version of that. Can’t wait to try it!

  8. It’s not as fun as the WoW TCG though, it’s almost an exact clone with bits taken out like quests and stuff.

    I’m sorry, I love online TCGs but I can’t support this one, it’s not even remotely original.

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