Examining CCG Design and Hearthstone

This week on the Perceptive Podcast, returning guests Chris Gardiner, Zach Barth and I decided to have a cast about CCG design and talk more about Hearthstone and Zach’s game: Ironclad Tactics.


First we did some catching up as both Chris and Zach have been hard at work on their projects. Chris and Failbetter are working on a secret project with Bioware that we didn’t talk about as I’m sure EA is monitoring this cast after all the things we’ve said about them. And Zach teased us on his next title which is a 3D puzzle game that I’m sure is going to cause my brain to overheat after trying to figure out Spacechem.

We then talked about our early exposure to CCG play with us discovering the genre in the 90s during the big CCG boom. As we talked about our experience and Chris’s time spent at a distributor of CCGs, we noticed the parallel between the boom and bust of the social game and CCG markets.

We also spoke briefly about how the CCG market has changed with the move to online games, live decks and more. Then in preparation for our live cast on Tuesday, I spoke with Zach about the origin and design of Ironclad Tactics. We also began taking bets on who will win our vs. matches (spoiler alert: I’m betting on Zach.)

Then we got to the big discussion — our focus on Hearthstone. While Zach and I are still somewhat new at the game, Chris has been playing since the beta and shared his thoughts and wisdom with us. We also found out that Chris despises Priest decks which is something the three of us shared. The conversation turned to Hearthstone’s learning curve and monetization model as we each talked about our challenges with building our preferred decks and learning the game.

Chris also did his best to try and sway me to give Hearthstone another shot and we’ll see if that helped or not.