Sprinting to lethal made me feel so smart.

In the light of the revelation that I have finally become what I despise—one of those people who buy skins for free games because they look pretty—I know that my refusal to spend money on Hearthstone doesn’t really add up in the grand scheme of things… but I don’t ever want to spend money on Hearthstone. I know how the pack system works and I just don’t want to feel compelled into buying packs in bulk for the chance for better cards.

That said, I did drop a few hours of time into it last night while catching up on a few podcasts and YouTube subscriptions and I actually won games. Two with basic decks. One with a custom Rogue deck. The significance of these wins? They’re the first wins I’ve been able to pull off in Hearthstone in over a month or so.

One of these moments stand out.

After clearing my entire board, my opponent proceeds to hit me for 11. My life is down to 5. He runs out of damage to apply, throws out a 2-health taunt just to screw with me, then ends his turn.

At this point, I’m thinking “how can I ever win here” while looking at my hand and the 3/1 weapon equipped on my character. I have nine mana, a couple of 4-mana minions without charge, a two-mana two-damage-battlecry, and a Sprint.

I think about and double-check my mana count. Playing all the cards that I had, I couldn’t make the eight damage I needed. I had to play Sprint and hope that I get at least three damage and that backstabbing the opponent’s two-health wouldn’t trigger that one secret above his icon. I dragged the card out and four cards sweep from the deck into my hand.

I start doing the math and I realize it’s lethal. I tap the playing field a few times, wave the card around and then proceed to play everything I needed to finish my opponent off. I don’t think I have to tell you how smart you feel after doing the simplest of math based on how lucky you were to draw the exact card(s) that you need to finish a game of Hearthstone. You feel like a genius when you connect everything together.

I think card games like these can offer some of the most rewarding yet simple logic puzzles in gaming today that give you such a boost in confidence and that draw you into that particular game. I have never run in any Magic The Gathering circles before because the cost to get into those games seemed high–especially when I was younger and decided my disposable income would be better spent on gas and random junk food. If I was able to commit to showing up to a game store every so often to play with other people, sure. But Hearthstone takes care of all of that—and it’s free, to boot.

Maybe that’s not the top reason that Blizzard would rather I have to play their game, but I’m sure they’ll find a way to get me to pay for something eventually. Like a skin. Or something.

With Hearthstone on the iPhone now, my battery is surely forfeit.

The long-awaited update to the iOS version of Hearthstone was released this afternoon, and will soon™ be on the Android handsets that can support it. I downloaded it, which didn’t take long at all, and gave it a whirl since I could burn the five minutes it would take to play through a casual match to unlock the free pack they’re giving away for completing your first game with an iPhone.

It took five minutes. I beat a custom Warrior with a basic Rogue deck. Cha-ching: free pack.

First thing’s first, with the condensed UI, you should consider tapping the board as a menu escape method if you need to zoom all the way out from looking at your hand and just considering what’s on the table. Otherwise, it’s best to operate one tap at a time to reduce the possibility of messing up what moves you’re going to make in your turn. Assigning minions to attack specific targets still works in the logical sense—sliding from the attacking minion to the minion you wish to damage—but avoid swiping from the bottom edge in quick succession, due to bottom drawer’s triggerbeing ‘any upward swipe from the bottom edge.’

Other than that, there are minor quality of life improvements made to the UI so that you don’t have to tap on the screen additional times to get things done, such as opening packs. No more dragging a pack and then clicking an ‘open’ button. You drag the pack, you get your cards—nice and simple.

I’ll add more in the future as play more games of Hearthstone. As far as progress, I’ve not completely unlocked all of the basic decks for all nine classes, but I’m getting there. I haven’t played a solo adventure since I unlocked the casual matchmaking feature, so I’m getting slowly used to the meta. I even have a couple of custom decks, but I don’t own nearly enough of the cards that exist to really use a custom deck in a match.

Oh, and also:

But it’s only available for download on the Amazon Appstore, at the moment. Which is LOLtastic.

Well, now all of the Android people can play cards now!

I became a stoner this week… a Hearthstoner, that is.

Screenshot 2015-03-02 17.25.34

I’m not entirely sure how it came up in the mm1 Slack, but between whatever we were discussing and the fact that World of Warcraft will be adopting a PLEX-lke currency for game-time in the coming months, I figured I would go ahead and give the Battle.net client an install.

Hearthstone appealed to me on a time-waster level, but not as something I could just sit there and play for hours on end. I mean, if I did, I’d probably have to be multitasking. Since I don’t think that Blizzard will allow multi-tabling to come to Hearthstone, I would imagine that I’d probably end up playing poker or something at the same time if I really wanted to commit time to the game. However, if I’m not taking the game super seriously and I treat it expressly as a time-waster, I think I’d get the most out of it at that point.

It’s the same sort of attitude that I’ve been giving a couple of other casual mobile games from a certain developer called Supercell. Clash of Clans and Boom Beach are freemium timer-based-tactics titles. The’s a timer for nearly every aspect of the game. Want to upgrade a type of unit in Clash of Clans? Pay thousands upon thousands of Elixir and then be prepared to wait two days for your upgrade to finish. Want to expand your Radar coverage in Boom Beach? Get ready to wait for days to gather the stone needed, and then wait twelve hours to perform the upgrade. The way to escape this particular cycle is to use the gem/diamond currency that can only be used to speed up production/timers.

However, being able to play these games without giving into the need to spend real currency to skip a timer just a handful of times isn’t worth it to me. It’s not that I expect to eventually turn into a pro gamer at either game, but I just don’t want to feel beholden to the game going forward. I want the fun that I’ll have fighting other bases with my armies to be genuine and not something I feel like I just have to get used to—like the feeling I get sometimes when it comes to Destiny and paying for that season pass.

And in that way I could definitely see myself passing random bits of time playing Hearthstone and trying to make as many coins so that I could unlock all of the cards without spending money. However, Xûr’s in the bar near the hangar, and I have some strange coins to earn, then spend.