While the initial game is free-to-play, you will find yourself
endlessly frustrated if you don’t spend money on the game.
Booster packs contain 10 cards and cost 399 points, which is $3.99 (the same price as a printed pack of Magic cards, inexplicably). If you buy in serious bulk, you
get a small (11%) discount if you buy 24 packs at a time. While the
campaigns are a reasonable $5 for the gameplay they give, you still
won’t be able to accomplish much of anything without buying
The auction house. You'll be
This might be excusable, except for the fact that trading between players is barred from the game (to discourage the secondary market), and the auction house extracts a 15% fee every time you set up an auction. This makes trusted trading - i.e. posting a card for an outrageous amount of money so that a friend can pick it up and (hopefully) return the money - a losing proposition.
Good cards (rare or better) on the auction house run from 40 to
over a 100 gold. You start the game out with 20 gold and you can grind
out a few gold per day per daily quest. If you're willing to go fairly one-dimensional (sticking with a solid two-color strategy and auctioning off the rest of your purchased deck), it's possible to construct a decent deck with about what you'd spend on a triple-A game at retail.
However, that 20 gold quickly goes
away if you want to play in any kind of tournament. Do badly in a
tournament and you'll end up with nothing to show for it except emptier
pockets. You can buy more gold using station cash at 50 gold per 500
station cash, which equates to ten cents per gold.
In this respect, Tactics
is just like the original trading card game. If you don’t
spend money to accumulate a lot of cards to make a variety of decks,
then you’ll learn how to lose on a regular basis. If
you’re extremely patient, you can keep the costs down by
grinding and using the auction house. If you’re impatient or
want to have killer spellbooks right away, this game can quickly become a money