If you’re looking for an alternative to Blizzard’s Hearthstone that competes when it comes to polish and depth, CD Projekt’s Gwent is a great place to start.
Originally appearing as a mini-game within The Witcher 3, the rules of the standalone version of Gwent are slightly different but the core concepts remain much the same. You and your opponent each draw a hand of cards. You want your side of the board to be the one with the highest value at the end of each round. Achieving that task is all about tricking your opponent into overcommitting without doing so yourself.
Gwent is a very different kind of digital card game in that you’re not whittling away at your opponents health. Instead, you’re trying to win tricks and that makes for a very different but equally satisfying kind of digital card gaming experience.
You can download Gwent via the website here. It’s also available on iOS and Android via their respective app stores.
Thronebreaker: A Witcher’s Tale is the single player-focused spinoff of CD Projekt’s Gwent. If you’re intimidated by the idea of playing against other people online or turned off by the amount of micro transactions involved with Gwent, Thronebreaker is a great alternative.
In our review, we said that “Thronebreaker - The Witcher Tales is an ambitious and fully-featured adventure that caters to an audience that other modern card battlers seem to have forgotten - and the results of that approach are well worth the low price of admission.”
Thronebreaker is available on PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PS4.
Legends of Runeterra
If you’re dissatisfied with the current state of Hearthstone, Riot’s Legends of Runeterra does pretty much everything it can try to win you over.
In our review, we said that “Although doubtlessly intended to be welcoming to newcomers, so much of the pitch and the reality of Legends of Runeterra feels like it's been targeted to steal away the free time of those vexed by the status quo of modern digital card games. Riot’s willingness to be generous as well as smart makes a big difference here.”
Legends of Runeterra is available on PC, iOS and Android. You can download it for PC here.
Slay the Spire
If you’re tired of purely-multiplayer digital card gaming experiences and don’t mind the idea of something with a little bit of roguelike in the mix, Slay the Spire is incredibly easy to recommend.
Each of the game’s four playable characters offers something a little different but, no matter who you’re playing as, you’ll be building out a unique deck every time you play. The more you play, the more cards get added into the mix and the more possible permutations become available.
Slay the Spire is addictive as hell and a lot of fun to play.
Slay the Spire is available on PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PS4.
Magic: The Gathering Arena
A digitally-orientated take on the world's most enduring trading card game, Magic: The Gathering Arena is a free to play digital card games that tries to make Magic as appealing and accessible as Hearthstone. New cards and strategies get introduced in parallel with the traditional MTG experience and it's a great place to start if you're a newcomer since attending events like Friday Night Magic or Pre-Release Nights are currently out of the question.
You can download Magic: The Gathering Arena here.