If you haven’t tried Blizzard Entertainment’s pixel based strategy card game dubbed Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, then you are really missing out. You don’t need to be a fan of World of Warcraft to appreciate the enjoyment it has to offer, in fact some of my friends that are now hooked openly despise MMOs in general.

Hearthstone  is very beginner friendly and requires you to complete a training session to unlock your first starter deck and try your hand at real life opponents. To unlock other decks simply use that deck to defeat the class deck you are trying to unlock.

The first hero/class deck you unlock is that of a Mage and considering it has one of the best out-of-the box deck options, that is a great place to start. Other classes available to you are Hunter, Warrior, Paladin, Druid, Warlock, Shaman, Priest, and Rogue. A total of 9 classes each with cards unique to them paired with a pool of cards that can be used by all give you the freedom to customize your deck strategy based on your unique play style.

I can’t say it enough, Hearthstone  is great fun and best of all, it’s free.

If the starter deck isn’t enough for you, there are several ways you can increase your selection.

As you level your class you will unlock new ability cards specific to the class you are playing. These cards can not be obtained by any other means.

The other, all be it, time consuming way to unlock packs is to win games and/or win games per the requirements of the daily quests. The amount of points allotted here verses the time investment required to win the games is a bit off in my opinion so if you are in a hurry to expand your deck this could be frustrating but if you aren’t this is a nice bonus.

Lastly, you can purchase packs if you like, but I’d like to reiterate that there are plenty of class based decks that play well out of the box with a little customization, so you don’t need to spend money to have fun and/or win. If you do decide to start spending real life money on these digital decks I’d like to issue you a friendly word of caution, the rush that comes with hovering over an unlocking these digital packs is not that different from the rush you get playing an MMO when the boss is downed and you are waiting for loot to be linked, in other words, it can become very addictive and the charges can rack up fairly quickly.

The above video was the only one I could find that embodied the rush of opening a pack without a talking head placed in the corner of it telling you how awesome they are. Of course the end result of the video above is a joke, everything else is pretty accurate.

The only downside to this game is that you can’t trade cards with your friends, however the system does have a mechanic in place to help make use of any duplicates or unwanted cards you gather. You can disenchant them into dust that can be used to craft cards you desire. The ratio of dust rewarded to dust required is a bit steep but it’s not meant to be a quick building mechanic.

Overall the game’s pros greatly outweigh any cons so if you think this is something you might be interested in I recommend giving it a try.

Hearthstone is currently available on the PC, MAC, and Ipad.