Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

Game review by
Carolyn Koh, Common Sense Media
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft Game Poster Image
Compelling mix of popular online world and card gameplay.

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 8 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational value

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.

Positive messages

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

Positive role models & representations

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
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.

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.

User Reviews

Adult Written byHensonFamily November 22, 2015

Caution: Check the Graphics

I was surprised at the suggested age for this game. I recommend that parents look up the graphics online of the characters before allowing children to play. T... Continue reading
Parent Written bynpmorlan February 2, 2015

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 pa... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byMalik Saad Nawaz December 6, 2015

HS is

Someone mixed World of Warcraft and Magic:The Gathering
Kid, 9 years old April 6, 2015
its for me for 6 years

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.

Game details

  • Platforms: Mac, Windows, iPhone
  • Subjects: Math: addition, numbers, subtraction
    Hobbies: collecting
  • 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

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love strategy

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