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Cards and Castles

In Cards and Castles, you fight by collecting cards to summon your army, create buildings, and cast spells on a grid-based map against your enemies. This free-to-play game is a mix of CCG and strategy, offering five different factions with unique cards and playstyles.

Publisher: Bit Mass, LLC
Playerbase: Medium
Type: CCG Strategy
Release Date: April 10, 2014
Pros: +Factions enable strategy. +Cross-platform. +Clean UI and good A/V.
Cons: -Freezing issues. -Difficult to farm cards for F2P players. -Borrows elements from other CCGs.

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Overview

Cards and Castles Overview

Collect hundreds of different cards to construct the ultimate deck to crush your opponents in Cards and Castles. Published and developed by Bit Mass, the CCG strategy game features five unique factions with their own cards and playstyles. Construct multiple decks and test your prowess in multiplayer, or in single-player against AI. Unlock new cards by purchasing booster packs, leveling up, and completing campaigns. In battles, players must protect their castle while destroying the opponents on a grid-based map by drawing from their decks to summon units, cast spells, and construct buildings.

Cards and Castles Key Features:

  • Unique Blend of CCG and Strategy – collect cards to create the ultimate deck and conquer foes with tactical decisions on a grid-based map.
  • Cross-Platform Feature – switch from your phone to your computer and vice versa with ease.
  • Good UI, Graphics, and Music  navigating the game is a breeze with the clean and clear UI and simple, cartoon-like graphics. Enjoy solid music that will enhance the medieval/castle atmosphere.
  • Construct Buildings in Battle – Cards and Castles brings a twist to the usual CCGs by including a grid-based map. Players can summon buildings to provide buffs, defense, and even damage.
  • Test Your Prowess  participate in ranked games to see how you match up against others.

Cards and Castles Screenshots

Cards and Castles Featured Video

Classes

Cards and Castles Classes

Vikings  uses strong melee units and attack buffs to brute-force a win.

Crusaders – specializes in tanky units by using health buffs, heals, and protective spells.

Warlocks – like most mage classes, Warlocks are glass cannons that are low in health, but high in damage. They also have AoE spells.

Pirates – true to their nature, Pirates are all about getting more "coins" to summon cards.

Ninjas – utilizes speed and stealth to sneak their way to victory.

Full Review

Cards and Castles Review

By Chanel Hwang

Storm the enemy castle with your army and your spells to claim victory in Bit Mass' Cards and Castles. Cards and Castles is a free-to-play CCG strategy game that draws a lot from Blizzard's Hearthstone, with pretty similar gameplay. The biggest differences? Battles are on a grid-based map and players must defend a castle rather than a Hero.

Welcome to Hearthsto-er... Cards and Castles! 

Cards and Castles, in its own right, is a pretty solid game. However, many things regarding the gameplay have been "borrowed" from Blizzard. The developers have said it themselves: this game is like a blend of Hero Academy and Hearthstone. For example, one of the first things I noticed during the tutorial of Cards and Castles was the "coin" system. Each turn, players draw one card and are given a fixed amount of coins to summon their cards into battle. The amount of coins starts at one, and goes up by one each turn. Coins must be used that turn and do not rollover to the next turn. The stronger the card, the higher the amount of coins are needed to summon that unit, building, or spell into battle. The player who goes second is given a "Medal of Bravery," which, to offset the advantage of going first, gives an additional coin (free of cost) any time the player chooses to play the card.

In the beginning of a battle, players are given the option to "mulligan" one of their cards (throw it back into the deck to draw another one). Combat units have a number for health and a number for damage at the bottom corner of their card. When health reaches zero the unit dies. There are also different skills and effects in battle, such as Pierce (damage enemies in a line) or Bleed (damage every turn). Cards and Castles makes it easy to know the effects by simply hovering or clicking on a card.

Not only is the combat akin to Hearthstone, but even the card system is similar. In Cards and Castles there are five different factions, each with their own unique card pools. A deck may only consist of two different factions and neutral cards. All cards are sorted into the factions of Ninja, Vikings, Crusaders, Warlocks, Pirates, or Neutral. Each faction has their own strengths, such as the Crusader faction being heavily tanky. There is also a card crafting system, where new cards can be created with shards or old cards can be disenchanted for shards. The rarer the card, the more it is worth in shards. Card rarity has four levels: Common, Rare, Epic, and Legendary. There are also special cards called "Hero Cards," which are very strong and can only be played in a single-faction deck (Hero must correspond with the faction).

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that Cards and Castles is an exact copy of Blizzard's game, or that Hearthstone is completely original. Let's just be clear that the similarity is quite stunning, and though the cards and value/damage balances are different, you will only play one or the other because of how alike they are. So what's different about Cards and Castles? What makes it stand out? What makes Cards and Castles Unique?

First off, Cards and Castles is played on a chess-like map. Think grids, like Hero Academy. This adds another layer of tactical strategy to the game, because you must maneuver melee units and ranged units to win. The condition for victory is destroying the opponent's castle while defending your own. Castles are structures on the map that can be targeted via units or spells. Another unique aspect of Bit Mass' game is that you can summon buildings. Buildings offer different buffs throughout battle, such as giving you an extra summoning coin or allowing you to draw an additional card, and can be critical to winning.

Another feature of Cards and Castles is the campaigns and tournaments that players can participate in. Though in-game currency (Card Points) are required to unlock these, the fact that you can unlock them with the free in-game currency is pretty cool. The campaigns and tournaments offer interesting scenarios that are not typical battle scenarios, with different objectives and situations that are fun to try.

Friendly Games, Ranked Games, and Draft Mode

There are three different modes/types of games in Cards and Castles. Friendly games are casual games, usually used for practice against real people (because the AIs are predictable and all follow the same pattern). Ranked games are a ladder system, where players are rewarded stars for winning. More stars indicates a higher rank, which means harder opponents. The Draft Mode is where players choose two factions and are given randomly generated cards of each faction to choose from until a deck is created. Then, with that temporary deck, players fight five other players online. This is heavily borrowed from the Hearthstone Arena mode.

Collecting Cards 

New cards are required to have a strong and competitive deck. I found that collecting cards was incredibly hard as a free-to-play player. Booster packs for cards cost 2000 Card Points, the free and farmable in-game currency. However, the chance of getting Epic or Legendary cards is pretty slim. I opened at least seven booster packs and only received one rare card. The biggest drawback to this game is that it is pay-to-win. Much like Hearthstone, people willing to pay real world money can easily get their hands on strong cards. Silver Points, the real cash currency for Cards and Castles, will get you specific cards or booster packs with better chances. For every Epic or Legendary card a F2P player farms, someone with a lot of money to spare is just going to buy fifty more.

Another thing to note is that Cards and Castles sees a lot of updates. New cards are released regularly, but the game is always re-balanced to ensure that the newest cards are the strongest. Thus, you have to stay current with the game to remain competitive. This is, of course, a business model that most card games follow and is somewhat inevitable.

Smooth User Interface, Good Graphics, Good Music

The clean UI made it easy to navigate the game. It doesn't look cluttered, the buttons are neat and accessible, and it's all easy on the eyes. I also enjoyed the cartoonish graphics, which makes the game's atmosphere more lighthearted and playful. The music is solid and adds to the medieval feel of the game. My biggest qualm with the game is that it would bug out and freeze many times (at least once every hour).

Final Verdict  Fair

Cards and Castles is a decent game to pass the time. With tactical gameplay made possible by the five different factions, players will find it challenging to master. However, due to  the heavy load of farming required to obtain new cards for free-to-play players, Cards and Castles is more for casual play than for competitive play. It's hard to enjoy a game that, despite being strategically challenging, is pay-to-win.

Screenshots

Cards and Castles Screenshots

Videos

Cards and Castles Videos

System Requirements

Cards and Castles Requirements

Minimum Requirements for PC: 

Operating System: Windows 7
CPU: 1000 MHz
RAM: 1024 MB RAM
Hard Disk Space:  200MB
**NOTE: Internet connection is required to play both single-player and multiplayer mode. 

Minimum Requirements for Mac: 

Operating System: OS X
CPU: 1000 MHz
RAM: 1024 MB RAM
Hard Disk Space:  200MB
**NOTE: Internet connection is required to play both single-player and multiplayer mode. 

Music

Cards and Castles Music & Soundtrack

Coming Soon...

Additional Info

Cards and Castles Additional Information

Developer(s): Bit Mass, LLC
Publisher(s): Bit Mass, LLC

Languages: English*, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Swedish, Traditional Chinese, Turkish (*English is currently the only language supported on the Steam release of the game).
Composer(s): Schulyer Johnson and Ian Luckey

Other Platforms: Andriod, iOS
Release Dates: Early Access (Steam) - December 18, 2014; Mobile Release (iOS and Android?) - April 10, 2014

Development History / Background:

Cards and Castles is published and developed by Bit Mass, LLC. The game was first released as a mobile game for Android and iOS in April of 2014. In 2015, the game went through a large revamp with its "Tournament of Champions" update, boasting an improved UI, better graphics, and new music. As a CCG strategy game, it has seen many comparisons to Blizzard's Hearthstone. With many of the same gameplay elements and features, Cards and Castles strives to set itself apart from its competitors with the tactical aspect of grid-based combat.

  • Rohan Viajar

    uhhh. draft mode borrowed from hearthstone?
    I think you're looking into this too much.

    MTG online and physical has draft systems.

  • Matt siege

    Game is lame, I'd rather do a gay thing than play it