I possess no background in card games, whether it be TCG or CCG. I intentionally avoided scouring databases and watching the Fireside Duels specifically so I could go into my first Hearthstone play session with that perspective. There's value in that perspective: most people who play the game for the first time will have the same experience. My lack of knowledge did make me quite nervous when I sat down to play Hearthstone, though. Would I waste my entire playtest session (on-site at Blizzard Entertainment) blundering through, simply trying to learn the rules? As it turns out, yes. That's exactly what happened.
We were only able to play for about an hour, so don't take my confusion for the duration as a condemnation of the game. Rare is the strategy-based game that can teach you all of its intricacies in an hour. By the end of that hour, however, I had a grasp of the basics and understood most of the terminology. It didn't click fast enough for me to attempt much experimentation with my deck or playstyle, but simply playing put me on the right track. I felt truly lost when I first sat down, but grew more comfortable with every turn. I'm told Hearthstone does have a tutorial to guide you through that initial learning phase, but it wasn't included in our playtest. With an estimated 45 minute duration, the tutorial would have consumed nearly our entire hour. Blundering through turned out to be just as effective.
Filed under: Hearthstone Insider