Tag Archives: Mobile Gaming

Mobile Game of the Year 2020: Pokemon Go

Introduction

A few years go, right after Pokemon Go released, like many people I became obsessed. At the time, all the game involved was walking around and catching Pokemon. That was enough for me. I walked around and I caught Pokemon. Eggs hatched. I waited patiently for the inevitable updates that allowed gyms, trainer battles, and trading. Taking the warnings seriously, I never drove and Pokemon Goed (Pokemon Went?) Several years later, I’m obsessed again. Pokemon Go is my choice for Mobile Game of the Year 2020.

If I was ever stupid enough to do this, I’m positive that this is how I would die.

What brought Pokemon Go back into my life? Well, as with many things when you are a parent, my kids started playing the game. They received phones for Christmas last year. Additionally, due to the Covid restrictions, Liam developed a walking habit. Like me, he figured if he was going to walk anyway, why not hatch some eggs and evolve some Pokemon.

I heard the boys talking about Pokemon Go, so I loaded up the game one day. Then, we all discussed the game on the beach one day during Seedot community day in the spring. This common interest lasted until Aiden’s phone broke a couple of months ago. Then my phone dies. I stopped playing any mobile games, including Pokemon Go. Honestly, I miss this game the most out of all of them. Why? Until that last word, I had no idea how to structure this article. Now I know. Though I usually hate top lists, I will do a top 5 reasons Pokemon Go is my mobile game of the year 2020.

5 Reasons Pokemon Go is the Mobile Game of the Year 2020

Note: I went from being almost week ahead to a couple of days behind my deadlines for no particular reason.

#5 Exploration – Unlike Geocaching all those years ago, I won’t go so far as to say that Pokemon Go has caused me to explore new places. However, whenever I was in a new place, I opened the game to see what new and interesting Pokemon might be offered there. That has led to some “Oh, wow! Look at that!” moments between me and the boys.

#4 Exercise – I will go as far as to say that Pokemon Go has inspired me to exercise more. Okay, maybe exercise is a stretch. But, I did start the summer only walking far enough to get one candy per day. Eventually, I extended that walk until I was getting multiple candies per day. For the uninitiated, that means I went from a roughly two mile walk to 7 or 8 miles. I think I even extended it out to 10 miles right at the end of summer.

#3 Updates – When I stopped playing Pokemon Go, I called it a boring game without much going for it. Basically all you could do was walk around and catch Pokemon. While fun, the novelty wore off very quickly. When I came back this year, it was like a whole new game. You could battle in gyms and trade between trainers. There were daily and weekly quests. Niantic added events that ran at least once a month. Community days featured a specific Pokemon, allowing you to evolve it if you dedicated some time. All in all, the game is fun. And, this time, the novelty hasn’t worn off.

#2 New Pokemon – While this could easily fall under the previous category, it is strong enough for me to consider on its own merits. Admittedly, I don’t play Pokemon much these days. I played through Shield a little bit last year. However, several times over the summer, I said, “What Pokemon is that? That thing is cool!” As I mentioned, that alone isn’t enough. With the rest of the updates, though, it makes for a stronger experience.

#1 My Kids Played It – Liam has been walking every day. Not all of that is due to Pokemon Go. Much of it is, though. Even Aiden, who often doesn’t have the attention span for a game like Pokemon Go loaded it on a daily basis. He’s in the same boat as I am with a busted phone, so we’re both out of commission. Hopefully that will change after Christmas and we can get back to catching ’em all.

The Verdict

I played more mobile games this year than at any other time in my life. Heck, I played more mobile games this year than any other type of game. The end of the year is seeing a resurgence in PC and console gaming (as you will see in next week’s articles). However, 2020 was the year for mobile here at 2 Guys Gaming. One game, above them all, reigned supreme and that game was Pokemon Go. I can’t wait to get my new phone and get back out there.

MOBILE LOOK AHEAD: A Year of Gaming

Introduction

I started this month of reminiscing about my year of gaming with a mobile look back. (Note: I’m so far ahead of my schedule right now that I can’t link that phrase yet. I’m writing this on Thursday and Friday December 3rd and 4th.) In this article (and for the next three Wednesdays), I’m going to take a look forward in each genre of gaming. Honestly, though, I’m not sure how this mobile look ahead will go.

My phone isn’t quite this bad, but give it time

Seeing as how I’ve finally paid (yet another) price for my Hearthstone tantrums with a broken phone, I haven’t played a single mobile game in at least two months. I think I mentioned in the previous article that I also just ordered a new laptop and I’m eyeing a PS4 bundle for after Christmas. I don’t think a new phone is in my future any time soon. We will see if I end up getting a check for my stipend work. In any case, let’s start this mobile look ahead with the possibilities I’m considering if I can ever afford one.

New Phone Possibilities

Samsung Galaxy S8 – Funny story about my current phone. While it is true that several pieces of electronics have ended because I didn’t properly take care of them (including my current S10), my previous phone was not one of them. I was at a friends house and I left my S8 in my car because I was visiting with a friend.

Well, it was summer and the phone got very hot. As I drove home, I took the phone out of the case and held it out of the window so that the breeze would help cool it. As I was doing so, the phone fell out of my hand and skittered along the ground. I drove back to look for it with no success. I immediately ordered an S10 to replace it. Because, we all need phones these days, right? Right?!

Perhaps before Covid, you could make that argument. Now, maybe not so much. Long story short, I got an email from someone who found my S8 lying on the side of the road. I went to get it from the local police department. Here’s the ridiculous part. Other than some cracking on the back, the phone was fine and worked perfect. So, I could downgrade for a few months. If only I could find the dang gone phone.

Samsung Galaxy S10 – I could just buy another version of the phone I already have. Not very exciting, but money efficient at least. Plus, I really like the phone and have been playing Hearthstone exclusively on my PC, so no danger of it being thrown into my bedpost this time.

Google Pixel 4a – When I was looking at phones before I got a crazy deal on a new laptop, this one was on the list. We’ve already all sold our souls to Google for convenient search results, so why not give them back the cash that they didn’t pay me for that soul. It is about a third of what the Samsung phones cost and seems to have the same game functionality. This will probably be the phone I get when I finally relent.

BlueStacks – This is the most likely interim solution. Aiden discovered this little trick a couple of months ago when his phone started doing funny things due to cracked screen. I used it a bit a few years ago. I’m sure there have been improvements since then.

Mobile Look Ahead at Games I Might Play

Plants vs Zombies 3 – I mentioned the first one in the previous article. I also said that I never played the second one or any of the console versions. I just got bored with the same set up each time basically beating every single level. According to the preview I found, the 3rd game is supposed to offer more “complex strategy and game play”. Okay.

Batman: Arkham Underworld: When I first saw that it was a Batman Arkham game, I put it in the definitely play category. Then I saw it was basically a mafia game with a Batman wrapping. So, I might give it a chance. But, it’s not likely to last very long.

League of Legends: Wild Rift – I have a short and checkered history with League of Legends. I tried playing the game for 5 matches. In one of them I got a player on a smurf account who was willing to work with us noobs and help us win the match. The other four were the entire team fighting among themselves while the other team steamrolled us. It was a similar experience in Blizzards Heroes of the Storm. At least in that game, you can queue bots.

I do like Teamfight Tactics and will probably download it on my new laptop. So, I’m not sure if I will play this game very much. I’m sure to try it and see if simplifying the game for mobile makes it more user (and specific to me, noob) friendly. If so, it might make it into the rotation.

Marvel Super War – If I’m going to play a mobile MOBA (that’s silly to say), then it will be this one. The likelihood of that even happening is quite low actually. Granted, I’ve never played a MOBA on mobile, but I don’t understand how the mechanics are supposed to work. Besides, there are just too many other games out there that I definitely want to play.

Mobile Look Ahead at Games I Will Probably Play

Pokemon Unite: Another MOBA game? I know I said I would most likely play the Marvel MOBA just mentioned. This one is Pokemon, though. I feel like they will provide more variety in their play styles than the Marvel Heroes. At least, that’s what I’ve found in Pokemon games vs. games based on Marvel. They’re both fun, but Pokemon are more interesting in my opinion.

Crash Bandicoot: On the Run! – I have to be honest. I’m surprised it took so long for this game to happen. The old third person “behind” levels are identical to many of these run style games. I do enjoy these types of games as quick diversion. So, if this one is any good at all, I will probably end up playing it.

Warhammer Odyssey and Total War Battles: I already own a few Warhammer games through my Steam account that I’ve only played a little bit. I like the idea of Warhammer and would love to play the miniature game. I don’t have the time or money for that, so the next logical step is playing the video games. Maybe some day.

Fallout Shelter Online – Well, I guess I got an answer to why support for Fallout Shelter fell off at the end there. They’re developing an online version of the game. I enjoyed the gameplay of the original. If they make the online capabilities decent and support it for longer than a year, it will be worth it to try.

Mobile Look Ahead at Games I Will Definitely Play

Lego Star Wars Battles: Tower defense game set in Lego Star Wars. I’m not sure about it being a tower defense games. I mean, they can be fun on mobile. But, Lego Star Wars is a fun setting, so I will definitely find time to play this game and convince myself that I enjoy it.

Diablo Immortal – As they do, fans crapped all over this game as soon as it was announced. What was the whole issue that people had? I remember that there was an issue. Started playing Diablo 3 on the XBox One again this year. I will be sure to play the hell (no pun intended) out of this one, I’m sure.

Minecraft Earth – This one has been in Beta for at least a year and probably longer. Some of my students last year were playing it during free time in class. I think Aiden might have downloaded it, too. I loved (and rediscovered that love this summer) Pokemon Go as an augmented reality game. This one offers so much more variety than Pokemon. I will lose months of my life to this game.

The Verdict

The games announced so far for mobile next year look great. There are a ton of games that I will at least try. Whether I buy a new phone or simply use an emulator, I will be busy with these games plus catching up on what I’ve missed over the last month in my already established games. Minecraft Earth will definitely push me to get a phone, though. Also, think of all the Pokecoins I’ve missed.

MOBILE LOOK BACK: A Year of Gaming

Introduction

I’ve been wanting to do an article like this mobile look back since the page started. I think this is the first year that I’ve written at least one article every month. Granted, that was assisted by Covid and the necessity of our school to go remote. However it happened, I’m happy for the opportunity to be able to write about what I enjoy. Mind you, I’m not downplaying a global pandemic. I’m simply expressing gratitude in my socially awkward, but hopefully endearing, way.

At what age do you stop being a scamp and start just being an a-hole? I’m pretty sure I’m already there, but maybe I can scam another year or two out of it.

Having never actually done an article of this nature, I’m not entirely sure how to format it. I came up with the idea to split it into sections similar to the “Great, Good, and Decent” that I use for reviews. However, those won’t work for an article like this. Therefore, I split them into “Barely Played, Lightly Played, Moderately Played, and Heavily Played”.

That kills two birds with one stone. Not only does it give me a direction for the article. It also mimics the categories for used trading cards. Huh? Huh? Pretty clever if I say so myself. Okay, let’s take a mobile look back with 2 Guys Gaming.

Mobile Look Back at Games I Barely Played

Clash of Clans – Two of these games on this list will have a similar story. They were reintroduced to me by other people. In this case, I learned that Aiden played this game with a couple of his friends and put together a clan that he invited me to. We played for a couple of weeks before he got bored with it and moved on. I like the game, but it is boring if you don’t have a group of regulars to play with you.

Empires and Puzzles – Chris introduced me to this one. He got into it via his former neighbor or coworker or something. It’s a decent match 3 game with a vibrant community and a variety of ways to advance. However, when Chris stopped playing because his guildmates were too “hardcore” for him, I fell off the bandwagon, too. I wouldn’t mind putting together a friends and family guild like I did for Marvel Puzzle Quest when the same thing happened to me in that game.

Fallout Shelter – In any other year, this game would have been heavily played. I liked the familiarity of the Fallout universe setting, unique characters and items, and specialty quests. When they stopped supporting the quest system, it just became another grind fest with a familiar IP. That’s when it hit the recycle bin and I never looked back.

Where’s My Perry/Where’s My Water: Similar to Fallout Shelter, I played “Where’s My Perry” heavily for a couple of years. I looked for Perry on my phone. Disney removed it from the store. I attempted questionably legal channels and met a roadblock. So, I downloaded the seed game and played that a bit. I might have played it more if not for my phone finally folding under my abuse.

Mobile Look Back at Games I Lightly Played

Angry Birds – Another game that fell off my radar over time. Honestly, most of these games fell out of favor because I simply had no time to play them. Working 16-20 hours a day will do that. When asked about Angry Birds by a friend, I probably sounded like an elitist prick. I do like the game play. But, my favorite part is how faithful the physics engine is for such a simple game.

Dr. Mario World – I played the heck out of the original Doctor Mario. A high school friend and I used to hang out in counseling during lunch and play that and Tetris using a link cable between our Gameboys. Yeah, I really am that old. When I saw there was a mobile version, I checked it out. It can be a fun diversion, but not as much fun playing against nobody.

Dota Underlords – After I discovered Auto Chess last year, I got big into auto battler games for a couple of months. Of the two “PC clients”, I played Team Fight Tactics much more than Underlords. Summer boredom led me to out Underlords on my phone. They updated the game significantly. When my new laptop comes in, I think I’m going to be playing this quite a bit.

Mario Run – This is one of the first mobile games I played. Well, that’s not entirely true. But, it is one of the first mobile games that I actually put money into. I’ve beaten all of the levels on the pink coin level and a couple of them on the next coin level. Mostly I just play the game when I’m waiting for cool downs in other games. I do the “Quick Run” mode or whatever it’s called for random prizes.

Plants v. Zombies – This game lost much of it’s luster when I played the mini quest version in World of Warcraft. I realized that you beat most levels with the same strategy. Build up your sunflowers, drop pea plants wherever zombies show up and just rinse and repeat. There are newer versions of the game that I haven’t tried. Maybe they’re more engaging.

Mobile Look Back at Games I Moderately Played

Auto Chess – I don’t remember how I discovered Auto Chess. I do remember that I was playing it exclusively for a couple of months. I even had a spreadsheet (in my head) about how much I would have to level to get to the appropriate level and obtain the season skin. Then Blizzard does what they do and released Battlegrounds. Since I already play Hearthstone daily, that became my auto battler of choice. Plus, some changes to Auto Chess made it a similar grind fest to Fallout.

Eternal Card Game – Eternal was the closest I could get to MTG on an electronic platform. I didn’t play MTGO much because I already put so much money into the physical card game and didn’t want to spend twice that just to reproduce my collection online. Then, MTGA came out and I could play MTG more or less free to play. I like Eternal, but MTG is still the king.

Magic the Gathering: ManaStrike – When they first announced this game, I made a snarky comment on Facebook. “How about fixing your other electronic properties before releasing another bug filled game?” At the time, both Arena and MTGPQ felt criminally under supported. Since then, both games have flourished and I got a chance to play this one. It is nothing like MTG other than familiar names. Still, matches last less than five minutes making it a fun and quick diversion.

Mobile Look Back at Games I Heavily Played

Candy Crush – A student received a smart phone just this year and discovered Candy Crush. This wasn’t the driver of my interest in the game unlike Empires or Clash. I’ve put more time and much more money than I care to admit into Candy Crush. It’s just dumb fun.

Magic the Gathering Puzzle Quest – This is 100% one of the first mobile games I ever played. I played Marvel Puzzle Quest on Steam and then tried to move my progress to mobile. When that failed, I then learned about MTGPQ and got hooked. While the events are sometimes repetitious, they’ve been good about keeping the game fresh with the new card sets and mechanics.

Minion Rush – For the longest time, this game fell into the grind fest trap and I stopped playing. This year, they brought back some of the fun by running more regular events. That, along with Quinn discovering the game, got me playing it on a regular basis. Then my phone decided that it no longer wanted to be tossed across the living room in frustration.

Sim City Build It – Like many others, even though I’m trash at it, I love Sim City. I am good in the early game and then lose it once my population starts to get around 2-5,000. I just can’t generate enough revenue through taxes without ticking off my Sims. This game simplifies the Sim City formula while keeping the basics. All in all, what a good mobile game should be.

The Verdict

I mentioned more than once that my phone is nonoperational. It does still work, but the screen crack that started after a Hearthstone tantrum spread through the whole screen. Now a horizontal line crosses the screen and the bottom third is nothing but a bright white light. When I turn it on, it’s like being summoned into the afterlife.

Therefore, if I’m to play any of these games again, I will need a new phone. I just ordered myself a new laptop. I doubt that I will be able to convince Christine that I should buy a new phone right now, too. It might be a few months until I get back into the mobile scene. I suppose I could always download Bluestacks on my laptop in the meantime.

Pokemon Go Summer 2020

Introduction

What have I been doing in Pokemon GO Summer 2020? Well, first an explanation. We took an unintended break for a couple of days. I meant to post this on Saturday, but then we were on a last vacation of summer over the weekend. Then, if I’m being perfectly honest, I forgot about my plans for the page for this week. I was going to do DOOM this week and I think Nintendo next week for our retro week.

Apparently I wasn’t the only one. Yes, that’s an inkjet printer.

I swear that I didn’t just mention DOOM so that I could share the inkjet printer running the game again. Okay, it wasn’t the only reason. The point is that I haven’t prepared properly to write about DOOM this week, so I’m pushing it back to next week and talking about Nintendo this week.

Yes, Pokemon GO isn’t strictly retro. However, the source material certainly is. I remember when I was first introduced to Pokemon. I was working at K-Mart and a woman inquired about the game. Having heard a news report, I diligently repeated back to her what I had heard about the “Pocket Monsters”. A few weeks later, I bought Pokemon Red for my original GameBoy. Yes, I’m intentionally leaving dates out, but those subtle clues should lead you in the right direction. Nevertheless, let’s see what’s up with Pokemon Go Summer 2020.

Why now?

That’s a valid question. We haven’t talked about Pokemon GO on the page in over 3 years. Well, that’s not entirely true. I did do a quick update article in June. It might have been under the same circumstances as this one. I should also probably read that article to make sure that I’m not just repeating myself. Okay, that article was a review, so there’s no chance of a repeat. Now, let’s answer the question.

But, those of you who are regulars at the page know that isn’t always as simple as I just made it sound. Oftentimes, answering a question means meandering from topic to topic before I actually give a succinct answer. So, meander with me. Part of the reason that I forgot about the web page was that I’ve been working on another of my recent hobbies.

A few years ago, I learned about microprocessors and I saw that I could get an Arduino board and some components for a good price. I did a few of the projects from the book, but life got in the way and it’s too easy for me to make excuses to not do anything, so I ignored them for a while. Aiden had taken his out (because I bought one for him and Liam) and that inspired me to mess with mine again. I asked Aiden to join me, but he and Liam have been battling it out in Pokemon X and Y for the last few days.

Well, something reminded me that I was going to write about DOOM this week on the web page. Simultaneously, I remembered the stories that I had been writing up until last week. I have too many hobbies and not enough discipline to plan accordingly. So, to answer the question. It’s now because I forgot and then I remembered.

What’s Changed in 2 Months?

In all honesty, nothing. I’m not sure why I planned this article for the weekend. Maybe I just forgot that I had written the review in June. Oh well. I need to get back in to the practice of writing and this article will help with that.

So, what’s happened? They tried a virtual Pokemon GO Fest. I wasn’t able to get the full experience because we were on vacation. Something went wrong and they did a do over. Again, I wasn’t able to partake because we were on vacation. Other than that, I finally got 50 km walked in a week and the game is still keeping me entertained on a daily basis. Get out there and join me

Pokemon Go June 2020

Introduction

I’m back to playing Pokemon Go in June 2020. I started playing when it first released and then got bored. It was an unfinished product, there were many bugs and exploits, and nobody else I knew really played it. I’ve checked back in with the game periodically over the last few years, but never got back into it completely.

Well, that changed a couple of weeks ago. I noticed that my older sons were playing the game. There was also a community day around Seedot where the appearance rate of the Pokemon was increased. There was also an increased chance of shiny. Aiden got like 4 of them that day. Liam grabbed one or two. I…got zero, of course. Nevertheless, I had so much fun that I’ve been playing Pokemon Go again daily.

Well, that’s not entirely true. I did take an unintended week long break. Other than that week, though, I’m back into the game in a big way. In case you’re not entirely sure what Pokemon Go is (and if you’re here, I’m not sure why you wouldn’t), it is a mobile game that allows you to catch Pokemon in the “real world”. You can also hatch eggs, defend gyms, and complete quests. It’s not exactly Pokemon, but it’s pretty dang close.

It does have an AR function, too, but I don’t use it much.

The Great

I’ve already gone into this in the introduction. You walk around and you catch Pokemon. As you walk, you can incubate and hatch eggs to get more Pokemon. Various tourist destinations are Gyms or Pokestops where you can fight to control the gym or receive items to help you in your journey. A professor approaches you periodically to offer quests for experience and loot. It’s not exactly a Pokemon game in real life, but with every addition it gets closer and closer.

The Good

Whereas Pokemon is traditionally a 1 player game, Pokemon Go really requires you to have an active social life to truly appreciate the game. Many of the raids require several players. Your friends can send you gifts for more items to help you level and level your Pokemon. This is partially me being a socially anxious person who lives in a small town. However, I can’t help but feel that I’m missing a big part of the game.

The Decent

As a follow up to the previous post, certain Pokemon are only active in certain parts of the world. There have been spoofing programs that people used to “travel” to get some of the more rare Pokemon. Thankfully, Niantic and Nintendo worked to ban people who did that. However, I can understand the frustration at having to travel across the world simply to find a digital monster. Sure you could trade people. But, see above.

I don’t think that all of these are region specific anymore or maybe the regions change. Still, it’s one of those details I wish the developers would have ignored.

The Verdict

Pokemon Go in June 2020 has me walking more. It gives me another topic of conversation with my two older kids. My youngest son has also expressed an interest in playing. It’s a fun diversion. That’s all I ask from games lately. Will it entertain me and let me forget for a little bit about everything else?

Hearthstone Road Trip: Destination Witchwood

Introduction

It’s that time of year again. Blizzard has released a new expansion for Hearthstone. I did a quick preview of the set about a month ago when it was announced. Before that, I wrote a bit about the new things that we could expect with the new season. You don’t have to read either of those to understand what’s going on in this article, but it would be great if you did!

One of the rumors about the new set was that it would take place in Duskwood. I said at the time that I didn’t exactly get a Duskwood vibe from the design of the set teaser and that has proven true. However, I do give you some credit, internet. You did get the woods part right. Just the wrong bunch of trees. Also, whoever first posited that the “Year of the Raven” was going to involve dark and spooky themes, I say “Kudos to you!”

And a hearty high five on top!

I already talked about the new mechanics in my previous article. Echo is fun, but so far I don’t think there’s anything that is truly broken (yet, more on that later). Rush is much preferred to charge as that mechanic will hopefully become Wild only over time. Granted, there are classic cards with charge on them, but good old Blizzard could just send them to the Hall of Fame or easily change the wording on the cards. Even and Odd decks are cute and I think there might be something to Odd quest warrior. In addition, odd paladin makes that class even more annoying to play against. But, that’s not really our thing here, so on to what we do best. Playing games and having fun.

The Cards

Neutral

This isn’t necessarily a keyword, so it wasn’t covered in the preview. It also came as a bit of a surprise when I saw it as I hadn’t been watching the spoilers for this set very closely. But, I like the mechanic of this card. It isn’t the only one that swaps attack and health each turn that it is in your hand. It is just the one that I have seen used and used myself most effectively. It’s relatively cheap and can remove big stuff right away if it is in 6/2 mode. All in all, an interesting addition to the game.

Honorable Mention

A 3-mana removal spell in this meta? Only bad thing is that if you aren’t able to target it (with hero power or other cheap spell), the opponent can silence it. Still, playing it just to frustrate your opponent and make them check the history to see what was just played against them makes it all worth it.

Druid

Naturally, this card makes me think of Twilight Drake. For one more mana, it has taunt. Both of those points are relevant. As soon as I saw this card and a few of the other new cards, I started thinking about a druid odd taunt deck. I’ve heard rumblings about such a deck existing, but I have no idea if it is actually any good. Then again, I’ve never cared too much about winning. I just want to have fun with the game.

Honorable Mention

She’s five mana and can be played in my Odd Taunt Druid deck that I’m trying to make happen. Also, and this isn’t relevant to that deck. But,A� if you can get her to stick, you could play Ultimate Infestation, then Kun, and then another Ultimate Infestation all in one turn. I don’t know how practical that is, but it sure would be fun to watch.

Hunter

This is the kind of card that I love. On first look, it looks great. Upon further inspection, it looks pretty terrible. Upon even further inspection, it settles into a decent situational card. You can use it to make an army of 4/4 minions with rush or even charge. You can use it to attempt to blow your opponent out of the water with a whole bunch of 9/8 lions that leave 2/2 hyenas in their wake (if they ever die). It’s just a potentially wacky card.

Honorable Mention

I know what you’re thinking. That’s a terrible card. And you’re right. It is an awful card. But, look at that! A 6/6 rat?! That thing’s huge!

Mage

I am bit biased towards this card because it is the gift legendary that I’ve gotten on two of my accounts so far. Moreover, I’ve been able to play it a few times. Once I got Aya Blackpaw and another time I got Stalagg (or was it Fuegen?). Stay tuned for more! I could steal this card with Rogue, play it, Shadowstep it, play it again, and get both of them for the meme Thaddius dream.

Honorable Mention

Similar to a few other cards on the list, this one invokes feelings of another card. It’s a slightly worse improvement on arcane missiles. However, in a meta where everyone is playing 1 and 2 mana cards with only 1 or 2 health, throwing around one mana fireballs seems like a decent thing to be doing.

Paladin

A card that makes Quest Paladin viable! Not really, but I did see someone on low level ranked playing the deck and it ran all over my pile of Mage cards that I’ve been using to try to finish the quest. I have packs upon packs of standard legal cards, but I’m trying to save them to open them for a YouTube video. See, guys I do care. As far as this card, this isn’t an example of a broken Echo card, but it does come pretty close.

Honorable Mention

Hearthstone has bulk rares, too! Just like their big brother Magic the Gathering. The difference here is that you get useful dust from the card in addition to the hollow empty feeling of what the card might have been after opening it from a pack.

Priest

In addition to the earlier “that’s busted, wait that’s terrible, no actually that’s a decent situationally” card that I mentioned above, this is my other favorite type of card. It’s a card that does new things that we’re not used to in the game. Like the other type of card, it might just be terrible. Then again, it just might be brilliant and it hasn’t found where it wants to be yet. I can’t wait to find out.

Honorable Mention

This was a toss up between Squashling (but I didn’t want to mention two Echo cards back to back like this), Quartz Elemental (which could be fun in an Inner Fire deck, but ultimately isn’t all that interesting), and this card. Other than those reasons above, I chose this card because I like the Priest theme of using your opponent’s cards against them. Sure, rogue has those cards, too, but rogues are thieves on the outside. This confirms my suspicions that any priest in any fantasy setting is secretly a thief.

Rogue

Not a good card, but it is a Legendary minion that you can play multiple times in a turn (at least 3 on turn 10 and maybe more given coins), and it gives you a body and a card every time. Hearthstone understands that if they can’t give us great cards every time, at least they can give us fun cards.

Honorable Mention

This was a tough one and for the opposite reason of the priest honorable mention section. That one had too many good cards to choose. Rogue got some really awful cards in this expansion. I suppose that’s to be expected since they got Kingsbane last time and that card bordered on completely busted. As far as Tess goes, she doesn’t make Thief Rogue viable, but she does make it fun, in that unnerving Yogg kind of way that we all love.

Shaman

In Knights of the Frozen Throne, we got new hero cards for all of the classes. This hearkened back to the old WoW TCG where you got to choose your hero for your deck. This time, we just get poor old Hagatha. She’s got a decent battlecry, and a passive battlecry (which is always cool), but it pales in comparison to Valeera’s DK power. I choose cards because they are unique, not because they’re good.

Honorable Mention

What if they had made this 1 mana and given it Echo? Would it have been the broken Echo card that I know is coming sooner or later? I don’t think so, but we are definitely getting closer to it. What if it is still the exact same, but with Echo? That’s pretty broken, but you do potentially sacrifice your next turn for it. These are the things that keep me up at night.

Warlock

A 7 mana almost guaranteed board clear and you get a 4/4 minion out of it, too? I don’t usually pick good cards (and I might not have here), but this card seems crazy to me. This card is almost guaranteed not to see play because Cubelock seems pretty stable as a deck right now. So, nobody will ever suspect when I play this card on them. Muahahahahaha!

Honorable Mention

Another echo card that exists only to annoy your opponent? I’m sensing a bit of a theme here. This is kind of a weird card because it feels more like a Priest card than a Warlock card, but I’ll allow it. It’s just such a stupid and fun card that I could see playing two turns in a row against some silly aggro face deck just to prolong their misery.

Warrior

This isn’t a good card. This isn’t even a fun card. I mean, it has rush and that interesting twist of gaining +3 attack on the turn it’s played. This is maybe a decent Arena card. What gives with this pick? Well, that just goes to show you how terribly Warrior was treated with this expansion. If Rogue was awful, Warrior is off the charts terrible.

Honorable Mention

I seriously cannot come up with another Warrior card for honorable mention. This is not me trying to be cute or provocative. The Warrior cards are that bad. If you haven’t seen them yet and don’t believe me, just go look. There’s nothing good, nor interesting, nor fun. It’s just a pile of frightening garbage.

Shudderwock

You may have been surprised to not have seen this card in the Shaman section. It’s a crazy card that does crazy things. Seems like it would be my kind of card and I’d have been able to find some place for it. Well, I did. As with any new Hearthstone expansion, there is a busted card with busted interaction that makes a deck that does ridiculous things. This one is no different.

I had heard rumbling about this deck and how stupid and noninteractive it was. I played against it once and it seemed weird, but not overpowered. Then, I decided to do something that I haven’t ever done. I took all of my dust and I crafted the cards necessary to create the deck. Playing it only once was enough for me to see that it is the special kind of stupid that Hearthstone can be known for. I misplayed the deck and I was still able to win because the card is so silly. It just becomes an almost infinite series of interactions that can’t be countered by the opponent, not even by conceding. I have a feeling that something might be done about this card soon.

The Verdict

There are some decent cards in this set. There are also some possibly fun cards that might inspire me to make a few decks to try out during the season. Other than that, there isn’t much here. Overall, the set is quite disappointing and while it might change the meta a bit and bring back some old deck archetypes, I don’t see there being huge changes overall.

The few streams that I’ve been able to watch this week verify that. Kingsbane Rogue is gone and Druid is more of a taunt variety. However,Cube and Control Warlock still seem to be a big part of the meta along with different varieties of aggro Paladin and I don’t see those going away any time soon.

This Little Pika Went to the Gym

Introduction

Well, a day of substitute teaching and the college championship game were enough to distract me from posting anything to either page yesterday.A� Therefore, I have to be extra dilligent about making sure that I start my daily posts again today.A� I realize that I won’t be able to update the page daily when I go back to work in a week and a half.A� However, if I make that the goal now, when I am teaching again, 2-3 updates per week wont’ feel so cumbersome.

I’ve done a couple of articles about Pokemon Go in the past.A� Like most other pages, I wrote about the improbable, unbelievable, and almost inexplicable initial success and then the inevitable crash of the game.A� Since then, I have played the game on a semi-regular basis.A� Quinn wanted to do his little kid podcast about Pokemon this week, so I thought this is as good a time as any to revisit the game.

The Good

When the game first released, there were words upon words to create paragraphs and pages (if pages still existed in their traditional form in our digital world) about the exercise benefits of the game.A� It inspired people to get out into the outside world by leading them to new or possibly previously unexplored places.A� Gyms gave important items like potions and eggs.A� In order to hatch the eggs, you needed to walk 2, 5, or 10k.

The phenomenon was so ubiquitous that it married an established meme and had little meme babies.

Any time you went to a new place, you opened up the app to see what new types of Pokemon might be available in that area.A� We went to the beach and I remember being excited when I saw and caught my first Staryu.A� After the beach, we went to a restaurant and Quinn and I had way too much fun taking pictures of Pokemon on our food plates.A� Just as unlikely as getting people to go outside and exercise, Pokemon Go got them to interact socially.

In addition to taking those pictures and posting them online, you could always recognize another Pokemon Go player.A� I know that we aren’t supposed to stereotype, but anytime you saw someone who was just a bit too pale for the time of year and they were looking at their phone, there was a good chance that they were playing Pokemon Go.A� At the beginning, all you could do was tip your hoodie to them, trade war stories, and maybe contact information depending on how brave you felt.A� Niantic promised other ways to interact, but they were slow in implementing them.

It doesn’t make it any better, but this is always the reaction to new and interesting things. “Wow, this thing is very interesting! You should check it out!” *later* “God, I liked this thing so much better when there weren’t so many people interested in it.”

One of the ways that have finally been brought into the game that have allowed people to get together and be social is raids.A� The only experience I have with raids is that it looked like one was going on during our trip to the aquarium in Woods Hole, someone posted something on Facebook about one happening in town in an attempt to get a group (but it never happened) and I foolishly tried to solo one that was happening down the street.A� I didn’t get a chance to try the raid while on the Cape for a couple of reasons, but I wish I had just taken the time to check it out.A� Living in a small town without many tech or gaming savvy people strikes again as I haven’t gotten an opportunity like that since.

The Bad

Because of the community aspect of raiding, as I just mentioned, I don’t get any chances to experience what is now a fundamental part of the game.A� As a result, I’m stuck playing the game as it was released.A� Walking down the street to the local Wal*Mart, I keep an eye out for Pokemon and hope that 10k egg hatches into something interesting or fun.A� Look, I’m not one to needless complain about something and I hope that’s not what this sounds like.A� I mean, I am complaining (and it may be needless because there are ways to combat the isolation), but I also think I have a valid point.

Okay, okay. I get the point. At least I’ll hatch a ton of eggs.

Because, other than the raids, there aren’t a ton of new features.A� I think I saw something about weather effects determining Pokemon spawns and there are new Pokemon, which I said earlier is one of the most fun parts of the game (and in fact the reason that the games exists), but some of the most anticipated features have not been included in the game.A� There are no trainer battles.A� There is no trading of Pokemon.A� Those, too, are integral to the games and need to be a part of this game for it to ever be considered in the same league as the other games.

The Ugly

I did an article about Mario Run before Thanksgiving.A� That is another Nintendo property that has made the move to mobile.A� I enjoy that game quite a bit and a major reason why is that Nintendo hasn’t given into the real money pressure that mobile puts on developers.A� Most mobile games give you the full game, but to get the full experience, players quickly realize that they have to pay real money for items or experience.A� Mario Run has none of that and it is a refreshing oasis in the salty sea of P2E (Pay to Exist) of the rest of the mobile gaming library.

I was careful earlier to call Mario Run a Nintendo property.A� Nintendo owns that one and they developed the game.A� However, Pokemon Go is a Nintendo property, but Niantic has made the actual game.A� That was important in the article that I wrote about Pokemon Go user base crashing once people realized just how limited the game was and it was even worse than now.A� I said then that the game felt like a beta test that somehow made it to release.A� That’s not the ugly anymore.A� The game still feels unfinished, but it’s getting better.

My main complaint about the game is that Niantic has embraced the real money trend that I dislike so much.A� They aren’t pushing it as much as other games.A� It isn’t necessary to buy things to advance in the game.A� However, I have noticed that when I logged in a few times or checked out the webpage or social media for the game, they’ve been testing the waters a bit with taking that route.

99 cents to win the game? What is the objective of the game? To remove the ads?

The Verdict

Look, I get that game companies need to make money.A� I also get that this is the environment that mobile games have grown up in and that it is harder to get people to pay money up front for games that are so simple that they can fit on your phone.A� However, phones are getting more powerful and some of the games are more interesting and have as good or better gameplay than their console counterparts.A� It only takes one success before others start to attempt to mimic that success.A� If Pokemon Go can just resist the P2W siren song and start to build back up its user base, maybe it can lead to a new era in mobile gaming.

That’s certainly not going to happen if they don’t implement those features that are missing.A� Since the early announcement that they were thinking/considering/dreaming of possibly thinking about maybe putting together a committee that might introduce trading and trainer battles to the game I have not heard any more discussion along those lines.A� It’s probably tough to make them happen, but it would be nice to get an update about the possible update.A� Oh well, I will just continue to try to find funny pictures to post on our Instagram and get excited every time that new Pokemon type pops up on the screen when I open the app.

2 Generations Gaming 2017 in Review

Introduction

It’s the first day of 2018.A� This is the time every year that is traditionally set aside for reflection on the previous 365 (or 366) days.A� There are countdowns, marathons, and years in review.A� This article falls into the last category.A� While it has been difficult to maintain a consistent video or podcast schedule, I’ve done okay at updating the web page with at least one article a month.A� I’ve also kept busy with plenty of other geeky fun.A� Let’s reminisce on the best, the worst, and the ugliest.

The Good

APBA Baseball:A� I only recently rediscovered this game in one of my closets and I’m going to write an article this week about the couple of games I played last week.A� I know that others might prefer Strat-O-Matic or another simulator, but this is the only one I’ve played and it does what I want it to do.A� Overall, this has been a great addition to my gaming life again and I can’t wait to dive deeper into the baseball simulation greatness.

Mobile Gaming:A� Old school favorites like Candy Crush and Angry Birds.A� New favorites like Sim City Build It, Fallout Shelter, Magic the Gathering Puzzle Quest, and Pokemon Go.A� All of these games have been played with great regularity over the past year on my phone.A� In fact, most of my video game time has been spent on my phone.A� That’s saying something for a person who used to denigrate all mobile games as shovelware.

Eternal/Hearthstone:A� Yes, these are both games that could have technically been included in the mobile section.A� However, they’ve had more impact on me than the other games included in that list.A� I started playing Eternal during one of my rage quits from Hearthstone earlier in the year.A� I had seen Brian Kibler playing the game on stream and figured I’d give it a chance.A� I’m glad that I did.A� While I don’t play it as much as when I first started, it still has a place in my weekly rotation.A� I have had an up and down relationship with Hearthstone.A� However, as I said to Chris a couple of days ago, I seem to have found my comfort zone in the game.A� I have little to no interest in competitive play of any sort.A� I generally just log in every couple of days to do quests, earn gold, and every now and then win a pack that I won’t open.

Comics:A� 2017 was the year that saw me get back into comics.A� Marvel’s Secret Empire event led to a discovery of the well executed DC Rebirth titles.A� Following them for a few months led right into Metal and sticking with Secret Empire to the end let me experience the start of Legacy.A� Almost all of these events were well executed, but it wasn’t all good for comics this year.A� More on that later.

Magic the Gathering:A� You wouldn’t think that I’d rank this so highly in the good category.A� Given that Chris and I discussed a few times how little we had played the game this year.A� I wasn’t even watching streams.A� It just looked like the game had run its course for us.A� Then, a couple of things happened.A� Well, on my end, one major thing happened.A� During one of our summer trips, I played Magic with all three boys.A� First, we played a couple of two headed giant games with decks that I had built over the years.A� Then, I picked up the Nicol Bolas box set and finally the Explorers of Ixalan.A� We haven’t played the Explorers yet, but there is time.A� Any game that gets me closer to my kids is a great game.

The Best:A� I know that it came late in the year, but any time a Star Wars movie is released and it is half decent, that will be the best thing about my year.A� When it is one of the best of the franchise, it will be the best thing of the decade.A� When I get to experience it with my kids and father in law, it just might be one of the highlights of my life.A� I won’t say much more because I have an article planned to go into more detail, but I absolutely loved this movie and it was a perfect way to start my holiday break.

The Bad

No New Console:A� This is the first year in a few that we haven’t gotten a new console.A� I was going back and forth for a few weeks on whether or not to buy an XBox One Minecraft edition.A� I’ve had my eye on it for a while.A� Then, there seems to have been a mix up with my last December check and unless I sub in January, I won’t get paid at all, so economics won out.A� Liam did buy himself a Gamecube and we found the Dreamcast (but it needs to be repaired), so there are some “new” games being played right now, but no new hardware makes me feel a bit sad.A� We won’t be down for long, though.A� We are looking at a Switch and I’m almost positive that I’ll get an XBox in February.

The Worst:A� Only two for this one?A� Yep, and only two for the next one, too.A� By now, you should know my very positive outlook on things and this shouldn’t come as a surprise.A� Also, the fact that I just talked so much about how comics were a good thing this year might also make this choice for “the worst” seem weird at best and probably perplexing.A� But, I have a valid explanation.A� I loved the stories and art of the comics, but hated the cover prices.A� I was spending far too much money on them and I couldn’t justify doing so anymore.A� At least with games, I get massive replay value from them and they allow me to spend more time with my kids.A� Comics did neither of those.A� It was 3-7 dollars spent on 10-15 minutes of enjoyment.A� That’s just awful.

The Ugly

Our Podcast Lineup:A� I was just talking to a friend (and one of the first fans of the page) about the 2 Guys Gaming podcast.A� He said something about how he thought it was damn good and that it could have been something.A� Not one to take compliments very gracefully, I changed the subject quickly.A� However, the podcasts are fun for me to do and I really want to get back to doing them.A� There have been a few that I listen to that have taken long breaks and come back stronger.A� One, in particular, stopped and started a few times, but it is again one of my favorites.A� So, our planning is ugly, but hopefully by this time next year, it will be good.

Nerd on Nerd Violence:A� This is something that I’ve often spoken against.A� However, as nerd culture has become popular culture, the nerd on nerd violence has increased to an unacceptable level.A� It used to be that when you were picked on by somebody, you always had your nerd buddies to get your back.A� If there was an actual fight, you’d all get your butts kicked, but they were there to take your mind off of being the brunt of some sort of physical or psychological abuse.A� Now, some of the worst abuse of nerds is coming from other nerds.A� It isn’t just good-natured joke fights about whether Star Trek or Star Wars is better.A� It’s full on attacks of each other and the things we hold dear.A� I’m going to talk about this more in my Star Wars article and it might just be that all violence is increasing, but this makes me incredibly sad.

The Verdict

2017 wasn’t all fun and games.A� It wasn’t all poorly executed puns, either.A� It was a good bordering on great year that gives us an excellent foundation to make 2018 even better.A� Happy New Year, All!A� Make it the best one ever!

Run Mario Run!

Introduction

I don’t remember how I learned about the Mario Run mobile game.A� It might have been that I saw a beta invite (or whatever the mobile equivalent of aA� beta invite is) in the Google Play store.A� I do remember that I downloaded it as soon as I saw it was available since I signed up for that invite to get access to the game as soon as possible.

I mean, I am the guy who has said that all Nintendo has to do is release a Mario, Zelda, and Metroid game on a system to get me to buy it enough times that it is pretty much self parody at this point to repeat it.A� I played it the whole way through within a day or two.A� Then, I changed phones twice.A� As you all know, my luck with electronics breaking is legendarily bad.A� Some of it is my doing.A� Some of it is just bad luck like a computer falling down the stairs or a phone getting run over in a parking lot.A� In either case, when I downloaded the game again recently, I thought I had lost all progress and my purchase, too.A� So, I didn’t play it for a few weeks.

Only one save slot in Pokemon. No cloud save in their mobile game, either? What the hell, Nintendo?

I was willing to pay for the game again, especially since they were running a sale and only charging half price for the game.A� Then, I learned that there was a way to restore my purchase.A� It didn’t restore my progress, but that was fine.A� As I said earlier, the game can be finished in a short period of time.A� When I wasn’t distracted by the new mode, I tried to clear the game again to access Star World.A� More on that in the next section.

The Good

Even though I was excited about the game, I wondered and worried how Mario would translate to mobile.A� Look, I get that the heart of Mario is just run and jump.A� Those actions are pretty easy to replicate in the mobile format.A� Heck, if they can make a decent fighting game on mobile with a variety of moves in Injustice 2 (which is still broken for me and I’m sad about that), then they can make Mario run and jump.

Granted, the more recent Mario games have more to offer like 3D motion and teamwork, but the basics of the games are running and jumping on Goombas.A� So, while maybe I shouldn’t have been, I was surprised to see that the game works well.A� The controls are intuitive and it is Mario game play.A� That alone should be enough to get people into the game.A� But, wait, there’s more.

I mean, seriously. Is this screenshot from a phone or 3DS? I don’t know. Well, that’s not true. It’s a phone.

Another appeal of the game is that they have included multiple game modes.A� When I first started playing the game, there were only two.A� There was a “Tour” mode that played like a normal Mario game and you played through stages and worlds to advance to castles and eventually fight against Bowser to finish the game.A� Aside from that, there was also a “Rally” mode that was a “multiplayer” mode.A� In reality, you competed against a ghost of another player to collect more coins.A� The player that won got a collection of different colored Toads that they could use to buy buildings to improve their kingdom.

Speaking of the kingdom, when I came back to the game, they had introduced a new game mode.A� They call it Remix 10 and it is billed as some of the shortest Mario levels in history.A� That’s no lie.A� What they do is they take the various levels from the game and shrink them into bite size (and even less than bite size in some cases) portions and put 10 of them together.A�It’s a fun game mode and the one that I find myself playing over and over again.A� The goal is to collect 3 rainbow coins from each level.A� Then, at the end of the level is usually some decoration for the kingdom.

So, what is this kingdom?A� The kingdom is a collection of buildings.A� Some are decorative.A� Some offer small bonuses.A� Other than vanity, I’m not entirely sure what the point of the kingdom is in the game.A� It’s not my idea of good game design.A� Nor am I actively opposed to it and, if you are the type to enjoy that sort of thing, then that’s another potentially good aspect of the game.

The Bad

It’s not exactly Mario.A� Sure, there is running and jumping and it feels as much like Mario as they can make a simple mobile game where the character automatically runs and you make him jump by tapping the screen feel like Mario.A� It’s not just because the character looks like Mario and the enemies look like Mario enemies, either.A� You just get the feeling when you’re playing that you are almost playing a Mario game.A� It’s just not all the way Mario.A� You can’t go back on levels unless level design allows it via wall jumps or arrow jumps.A� Heck you can’t even stop to explore if there are hidden areas in the level.A� I don’t think there are any hidden levels as the game forces a very linear progression through the game.

Also, it is short.A� I’ve already said that the main “campaign”, if you can call it that would take most gamers less than two hours.A� Less than one hour or even a half an hour if you are dedicated and better that the average noob.A� Sure, there are goodies to be collected and increasingly difficult coins to be found for each level.A� To be honest, that hasn’t been enough to keep me playing the main mode.A� Mostly, now, I play the Tour and Remix 10 modes.A� Remix 10, especially, is fun and it takes almost no time commitment to play.A� But, if you are the type who just wants to beat a game, you won’t find the infinite hamster wheel of Candy Crush.A� 30 to 120 minutes and you’re done.

The Ugly

The kingdom introduces some annoying mobile tropes like unlockable collectibles.A� In true Nintendo fashion they haven’t added real money microtransactions to the game, but that almost makes it even more annoying.A� The fact that I buy things with coins makes me think of the joke game “DLC Quest” where you are constantly using your coins to make the game complete.A� It’s all cosmetic and there’s no real money, but it’s still annoying to be reminded how icky mobile gaming can sometimes feel.

It’s pandemonium in the Mushroom Kingdom as money has lost all worth and Mario exists only for the pleasure of some sick old man.

If I know Nintendo, I know that they won’t change on the real money issue.A� However, as I was doing research for the article (Googling for images), I came across some news that the game has not been as profitable as they hoped.A� I mean, maybe that’s just the way that you can make money from these mobile games.A� They charged 10 bucks for the full version of the game.A� Once you bought it, you own it.A� I like that type of game, but so many others in the market are all too happy to take your money in exchange for (ultimately worthless) virtual goods.A� Is it only a matter of time before Nintendo caves?A� I doubt it, but if they do, it will not be pretty.

The Verdict

While the main game is short, it is fun.A� There is enough variety in the 3 game modes (maybe more added eventually?) to keep you coming back for more.A� There is the kingdom building aspect of the game for the collectors out there.A� Thankfully, for now, Nintendo has not instituted any real money shop (other than the one to buy the full version of the game) and hopefully they never will.A� I won’t stop playing the game if they do, but I might slow down just out of habit.A� If you haven’t already, please download and play the game.A� Maybe we can convince Nintendo to release Zelda or Metroid!

Love is “Eternal”?

Introduction

I was watching Brian Kibler’s stream about a week ago and he was playing a card game other than Hearthstone. A�It wasn’t Magic, either. A�Now, that would be news. A�It was called Eternal and, from what I could gather, it appeared to be a cross between Magic and Hearthstone. A�As I explained it to Chris, it has the mana and interaction on your opponent’s turn of Magic, but the quick matches of Hearthstone.

Heck, it even looks and sounds like Hearthstone.

I know that might sound antithetical. A�Hell, Chris and I have spent many a text conversation discussing how much better Magic is than Hearthstone for a variety of reasons. A�The only thing that we agree is better in Hearthstone is the mana system. A�Gaining one mana per turn instead of hoping on a wing and a prayer that you curve properly is the best thing about Hearthstone. A�We tried a version of Magic with the Hearthstone rules and, it turns out, being able to do stuff every turn is a good thing.

Nevertheless, I watched the stream and the game. A�I also chatted with several others since Kibler’s is one of the few streams that doesn’t descend into spam/meme chaos every day and you can have a conversation. A�It was especially easy since only about half his viewers care about Eternal or don’t care at all what game he’s playing. A�They politely answered my questions, as well as questions that others had. A�After about a half an hour, I was convinced. A�I needed to try this game. A�I was going to download it via the Steam client and try it. A�Then, something even better happened. A�I learned that it was on mobile. A�I downloaded it, started playing through the tutorial, and immediately texted Chris.

Okay, Grandma. Why don’t you just call him? Nobody texts anymore. It’s all about the Snapchat emoji…or something. A�I’m even too old to trash talk myself about being too old.

The Good

This whole game is good. A�In fact, it’s great. A�One of the selling points was that it is very F2P friendly. A�I’m still the grumpy old man gamer who refuses to pay good money for digital goods/currency, so if a game doesn’t let me compete without dropping hard earned cash, I’m not playing. A�I was skeptical at first, but that skepticism soon faded. A�The tutorials give away starter decks, which isn’t different from Hearthstone on the surface. A�Underneath, though, it only takes 4 wins to earn a whole deck, where Hearthstone makes you play through 10 levels of the character to get all of the basic cards.

There are also puzzle levels that teach you about the basics of the game and give, as far as I know, 20 gold per. A�I have only finished one of them as of this writing. A�The reason for that is because I am having so much damn fun playing the game. A�Who wants to read the instructions when you can just be out there slinging spells and minions at your opponent’s face?

I’d like to phone a friend.

There are a ton of game modes in the game. A�In addition to the typical casual and ranked versus modes, they figured out a way to do an actual draft mode where you don’t have to wait for people to sit down at your “table”. A�There is also a PvP mode called “Event”, which has a special rule and loot attached to it. A�While most come to a card game to test their mettle against other people, guys like me are perfectly content beating the snot out of the overmatched AI. A�Thankfully, Eternal takes care of us with two single player modes. A�In “Gauntlet”, you choose a constructed deck and fight against AI until you win 7 games or lose 1. A�”Forge” is a draft like mode similar to Hearthstone Arena where you pick from 3 cards to build a deck and then fight the AI until you win 7 or lose 2. A�The difference here is that you get to keep all cards drafted.

That brings me back to the best part of Eternal. A�The individual who told me that the game was very F2P friendly was not lying. A�Nearly every day you are getting at least one pack. A�The packs are full. A�None of this 5 cards per pack nonsense. A�Modes cost more than Hearthstone, but you are also compensated better for performing in them. A�I won 7 games in Forge and got the 2,000 gold entry plus in rewards. A�I also received a couple of packs for my trouble. A�There is no problem in building a decent to good collection in this game.

The Bad

In keeping with my pie in the eye optimistic gamer attitude, there isn’t much that I can categorize as bad in this game. A�The most obvious is that the mana system is like Magic. A�Sure, they give you less of a chance of flooding and screwing with one mulligan of your opening hand and by limiting the number of influence (mana) you can draw in the opener and mulligan. A�Also, there is a card that lets you draw influence for the cost of one. A�Still, the flood and screw will not be denied and some games you just sit there and stare as your opponent beats you mercilessly.

An exclusive 2GG investigation reveals that statistics are broken.

The only other “bad” in the game is mostly likely just due to the fact that I’m a noob and don’t have the time to dedicate to getting better at drafting. A�Because of how it is set up, the skill cap for drafting is much higher than it is in Magic the Gathering. A�Again, instead of sitting down with a pod of players, you are “passed” a pack that has been opened sometime, somewhere, by someone and had cards taken from it. A�So, you can’t really pick up on signals or bully players off of strategies. A�What you can do is draft much more with synergy in mind. A�I just don’t have the skill to do it, so my only draft has ended with a very embarrassing 0-3 and I haven’t been back to try again.

The Ugly

I always worry with these types of games. A�Before you know it, the developer pulls the plug and you are left with a stagnant game or, worse, one that gets shut down completely. A�Now, honestly, I haven’t seen either of those happen with any of the games that I play. A�They must all maintain a high enough player base to justify keeping the servers open.

That’s not entirely true. I did join this game right before they decided to shut down the servers. A�Fare the well. A�I hardly knew ye.

I’m not saying that Eternal will shut down. A�However, I am worried that it won’t be able to maintain the player base in the face of all of these other games. A�One thing that it has going for it is that it is mobile and it seems to be quick paced, which has so far been a recipe for success with these types of games. A�The other side is that Magic is releasing their new digital property and it appears to occupy a lot of the same space as this game. A�I hope that Eternal can hold its own, but if not, it’s going to be ugly for me.

The Verdict

Eternal is a fun game. A�I have been playing it regularly for the last week. A�Unlike Hearthstone, which I log in to every couple of days to clear out quests and don’t really have much fun playing, I lose hours to Eternal and don’t regret it one bit. A�I know that it won’t ever reach Hearthstone levels of popularity because Blizzard just knows how to hook and then keep people running on that treadmill. A�However, I have had no problem in finding a match any time I log on and play to do the daily win quest.

Eternal is a cheap gamer’s game. A�They advertise it as a game where you can collect every card without spending any money. A�While that is probably true for Hearthstone and I’ve done pretty well by it, Eternal’s quest rewards are just an embarrassment of riches and I don’t doubt that I’ll have most, if not all, cards in a relatively short period of time.

Eternal is a well designed game. A�It is made and distributed by a company that employs prominent names in the gaming community. A�While that doesn’t always work out, I think of them as the Image of gaming. A�Image broke off from Marvel and DC to allow their creators to keep their creations and market them as they see fit. A�It didn’t work for everyone because not everyone is a marketing genius or able to keep a tight schedule. A�However, Image is still around, they are still allowing their creators full reign, and they are still making great comics. A�I hope to see the same from Dire Wolf.