A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What 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'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?
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.
Talk to your kids 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.
- Platforms: Mac, Windows, iPhone
- Subjects: Math: addition, numbers, subtraction
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: analyzing evidence, decision-making, strategy
- Price: $0.00
- Pricing structure: Free (Additional card packs can be purchased for $1.25 to $1.50)
- 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
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.