Philosophy Videogames

Life, Chance, and Hearthstone

The past couple of posts have been sort of heavy. So hey, let’s have some fun. Here’s what’s been entertaining me lately: Hearthstone.

For the uninitiated, Hearthstone is a free card game where you build your deck from a pool of cards (there’s a base pool, but as you play and/or spend money on the game, you expand it) and use it to battle other players online. 

It’s a tactical game of building armies (and wiping them out with a well-placed spell), but the luck of the draw is what keeps drawing (sorry!) me in. 

I like games that balance preparation with chance. I love the way that they mirror life, and in a way, I see them as essential training for life: a way to practice not being resentful for bad circumstances, and making the best with what you’ve got. 

Of course, winning is preferable, but there’s a mature kind of satisfaction from knowing you’ve managed to push a losing hand pretty far into the game, too.

Sure, if you start today and go against someone who’ve been collecting (or outright buying) cards for months, no amount of good fortune will prevent you from losing more games than you win. That’s also life. Some people have all they need to succeed right from the cradle, but most need to bid their time and build their resources over time until they can have a shot at doing something meaningful.

Entry into Hearthstone is an exercise in humility, then. That said, the game has never been more generous than today, throwing plenty of cards at new players, and providing an ample selection of single-player modes that do an excellent job at showing them the ropes.

Its cheerful exterior is clearly aimed at children, and I approve of this. It might just help the next generation build some backbone and feel just a little bit less entitled.

(Transparency disclaimer: if you use the link above and play until you reach level 20, I’ll get a handful of cards.)