Online Trading Card Games, Are They Just Games?


TCGs (Trading Card Games) aren’t a new concept – and you’ve probably heard of a few, like Magic the Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh, or Pokémon – but the rise in online TCGs is a more recent fad. The TCG genre has made a name for itself in the gaming, and competitive community. What has made the online TCG stand out from the original is its ability to allow friends, or strangers, to play on a global scale rather than at a table, and the digital component has also allowed for animations, and sounds when cards are played, adding a little more aesthetic pleasure. I have had a lot of experience in the TCG field, including a limited amount of competitive, but before I go into my two favourite TCGs I’d like to give a brief definition of what a TCG is.   

A Brief Definition

 A TCG is usually defined as, a game where players build a collection of cards from in-game rewards for battle. The player constructs a deck from the cards in his/her collection based on the restrictions of the game or format. After construction, the player uses his/her deck to play against other players or AI’s in a turn based format. A player wins when he has met the conditions of the game/format, but generally involves reducing the other players health to zero using your cards. There are also a number of TCG sub-genres that add new elements to the standard TCG format, or combine TCGs with another game genres. TCGs involve a lot of strategy when constructing decks, or battling other players; your deck has to effectively use cards that work well together, and battling opponents requires you to plan out the whole match, rather than turn by turn.

Now for my two favourite TCGs, not to mention they’re also free to play.


Hearthstone is the current leader when it comes to Online TCG games, some may say they even started the recent craze. In addition to the standard TCG experience, I particularly enjoy hearthstone for its quirkiness and fun style. They have a weekly brawl that adds a whole new rule set to the mix when you play, from randomly generated cards to bosses battling it out, it’s sure to keep things interesting. The game also features Arena, where they give you a random selection of cards, three at a time, to choose from in order to build a deck and challenge others; if you secure wins, you receive rewards. Overall, Hearthstone is for the both serious, and casual players.


 Gwent is a more recent addition to the TCG family, but has also made a name for itself. The game was originally a mini-game in the fantasy RPG, The Wither 3: Wild Hunt, but due to its popularity was made into a stand-alone game. The game differs from standard TCGs because it is played in short rounds, and doesn’t involve the gradual play of other games. Unlike other TCGs, Gwent lets you play any card from your hand, at any stage of the game. Victory is achieved by having the most power/strength on the board as a round ends, to win the match you must win two out of three rounds, so choose use your cards in each round carefully.      


Shawn Bosnjak is a student in the Professional Writing program at Algonquin College. He is an avid writer, reader, gamer, and drummer, with a passion for anything fantasy or rock.