Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

 

Learning(i)

Compelling mix of popular online world and card gameplay.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

There are no positive or negative messages to be found within the game.

Positive role models

While there are characters on the cards, they don't demonstrate positive or negative traits during gameplay.  They exist solely to trigger effects of powerful cards.

Ease of play

There's a tutorial that takes players through the game. The rules are streamlined and easy to read and understand, and the game makes any calculations necessary. Tool tips in the first few games for players will help them learn the game, and a "suggest a card" feature will help new players build a deck.

Violence

There's some cartoon violence and blood as cards are destroyed, complete with animation of cards breaking into pieces. The cries of the character can be heard when one card hits another.

Sex

There are some scantily dressed characters depicted on a couple of cards.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

The game is free to play but kids can be tempted to buy additional packs of cards for real money. Future expansions may also cost money to buy.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

There are some alcohol references in the game as some characters on the cards are depicted with mugs of ale.

Privacy & safety

In-game commentary is limited to a menu of phrases such as "Good Game!" or taunts such as "You Asked For It!" But if you use a third party method of communication to talk to your opponents, like C3 or Xfire, you could be open to a host of unsavory commentary.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Hearthstone is an online CCG (Collectible Card Game) similar to games like Magic: The Gathering and Card Wars - Adventure Time. It's fun to play and can be compelling with its simple rules, fast gameplay, deep content, graphics, and animations. The game has to be played online even if playing against the computer and not against a live person. The game is free to download to play, but additional cards can be bought with real money.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Math

  • addition
  • numbers
  • subtraction

Hobbies

  • collecting

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • analyzing evidence
  • decision-making
  • strategy

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Selecting character cards to build a playing deck can keep players busy for a long time. The graphics, card combat animations, and voice-overs when players select their moves keeps Hearthstone engaging for hours.

Learning Approach

Strategies are discovered by playing multiple opponents. Players compare the cards they have against the ones displayed by their opponent. Using simple number comparison, and reading the effects on their cards, they decide on the cards to play. The game will do the calculations and show players if they did well in the turn with the move they made or not.

Support

Player created "wikis" as well as official game databases and short movies are available online for players to supplement their game knowledge.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Math

  • addition
  • numbers
  • subtraction

Hobbies

  • collecting

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • analyzing evidence
  • decision-making
  • strategy

Players learn critical thinking, strategy, and decision making skills when facing off against opponents. They also practice number comparisons, addition, and subtraction when deciding on cards to play against their opponents. Selecting which cards go into their decks and deciding on which cards to play against an opponent helps keep players engaged in matches packed with animated characters. Many people could dismiss Hearthstone as just another card game, but its depth and focus on strategy will keep players coming back for more.

This Learning Rating review was written by Carolyn Koh

What's it about?

HEARTHSTONE: HEROES OF WARCRAFT is a collectible card game (CCG) set in the fantasy world of Warcraft with all its characters -- humans and elves, colorful but cartoony monsters such as trolls, ogres, demons, and animals. In the game, players get cards which depict characters, spells, and abilities which have to be selected and added to a deck. Then cards are drawn and used to battle against the computer or another player. Each card has attack points and health points clearly shown in yellow and red on the left and right side of the card respectively. Players look at the numbers and compare them with an opponent's cards, before deciding how to best attack their rival.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The rules are fairly simple in Hearthstone, and a tutorial with voice-overs will help get players get up and running immediately. Variety is added thanks to some cards with possible side effects. For example, a minion may have a chance to explode if it runs out of health. The colorful graphics, voice-overs, and combat sounds as cards are played add to the appeal. Although kids might be tempted, there's no requirement to pay for additional cards because they can be earned in game. Cards in acquired packs are also random so there's no guarantee of getting a super powerful card even if you buy them.

Players learn strategy in this game as they play as a hero with their own powers and unique class cards. However, there's a large element of chance in the game which could make it fun or frustrating to play depending on whether your luck was good or bad. Players also get opportunities to learn as they watch their opponent's strategies. For example, they can see their opponent consider playing cards with different effects, since each card will up as they are moused over. Matches are fast and each game only lasts 10 to 15 minutes, so players can easily get in a round or two even on school nights. Hearthstone is one of those titles that might seem simple, but its depth and its play are wildly compelling.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the addictive nature of Hearthstone. Players will frequently say "one more game," but how can this turn into even longer play sessions?  Can this lead to problems for players? Take a look at our suggestions on screen time.

  • Talk about how this collectible card game may differ from other collecting and battling games such as Pokemon.

Game details

Platforms:Mac, Windows, iPhone
Price:$0.00
Pricing structure:Free
Available online?Available online
Developer:Blizzard Entertainment
Release date:March 11, 2014
Genre:Strategy
Topics:Magic and fantasy
ESRB rating:T for Alcohol Reference, Blood, Fantasy Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes (iPhone, Mac, Windows)

This review of Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 9 years old April 6, 2015
age 9+
 
LEARNING
its for me for 6 years
What other families should know
Easy to play/use
Too much violence
Kid, 8 years old March 22, 2015
age 7+
 
LEARNING

warcraft rules

i like to play haerthstone because it helps with my magic cards game rules
What other families should know
Easy to play/use
Parent Written bynpmorlan February 2, 2015
age 10+
 
LEARNING

Better than Magic the Gathering in many ways

My son and I also play MtG, but he has to pay for cards out of his own allowance and even online MtG is costly. Hearthstone is free to play (although you can pay for card packs, it's completely unnecessary. Card packs can be purchased with in-game gold collected by completing quests and regular game play) and can be played through Battle.net on Windows/Mac, on the iPad and now on Andriod as well. Family members can create their own accounts so you can play against each other or kids can play with friends online. The game also only allows players to use set phrases like "well played" and "hello." Any violence is fairly cartoony and the game is much easier to learn than MtG. There's an in-game tutorial and you can just play against the AI instead of other players. It's a strategic game that anyone can become quite good at if you work at it.
What other families should know
Easy to play/use

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