This month has seen the North American launch of Might & Magic: Duel of Champions, a free-to-play tabletop card game for the PC and iOS devices. I’ve been a fan of Might and Magic ever since Might and Magic 2, while card games have been an interest of mine since at least the earlier editions of Magic: The Gathering – mixing them up seems like a promising combo, wouldn’t it? Well, in this case, intuition pays off. My time with Duel of Champions has revealed an extremely TCG with some slick tournament offers, and a gameplay style that truly does reach that triple-play goal of “easy to learn, hard to master, fun to play”. Add in the fact that your deck status is shared whether you play on PC or iPad and you’ve got a serious contender to the Magic: the Gathering franchise, at least where computer play is concerned.
Let’s talk gameplay fundamentals. Might and Magic: Duel of Champions plays like a loosely translated version of the Heroes of Might and Magic series. You and your opponent have four ‘lanes’ to place cards on, each consisting of a front line slot for a melee card, and a back row slot for ranged creatures. If there are no opposing forces in the enemy lane, creatures can attack the opposing player directly – as usual, reducing the enemy player to 0 health wins you the game. You can also move your creatures from one row to another, in case you need to reinforce your lane against a particularly nasty opposition, and creature attacks are as a result limited to their particular lane. On top of all this you have spells and fortune cards you can play from your hand (think sorceries, enchantments, and instants from Magic: The Gathering), and two ‘event’ cards that change each turn – one selected randomly from each of your and your opponent’s decks, which generally allow for both players to gain a temporary boon or curse if points are spent to activate it.
Right now it looks like there’s a good, solid community for Might and Magic: Duel of Champions, and as far as collectible card games go, it can easily be said to give its nearest competition (Magic: The Gathering: Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013) a run for its money on the iPad. If you’ve been looking for a new card-based addiction for your iPad or PC, this is your best bet at the moment. Check it out either in the app store or – for you PC users – hit the main website to download the client.