It's been an App Store eternity since cross-platform CCG Shadow Era [Free] was released way back in 2011, where it got a fair amount of press in the gaming media, and some delicious kudos from us at TouchArcade. Since, the free-to-play Shadow Era has released physical cards, held a national tournament, and released its first expansion, Dark Prophecies [Free] to little fanfare outside of Shadow Era's own forums.
This is possibly due to some...caveats with the current client. to put it simply, in Shadow Era it's impossible to have more than one deck at a time. This isn't too big of a deal for PC players who have all manner of tools and tricks to importing deck info, but for iOS players it's problematic, especially if you feel the urge to experiment with your chosen play style. There are other issues as well, including some sync issues and a really strange error that essentially acts like your wi-fi has disconnected and costs you a match. To their credit, the developers, Wulven, have at least attempted to salve a few of these wounds - server issues typically end the match in a draw, but you'll still earn some gold (to buy new cards) and EXP (to level up) for your troubles.
But, rejoice! In a recent episode of Shadow Era Radio, it was announced that a new update will allow for multiple decks. Additional tidbits were hinted at, including a complete redesign of the net code to avoid disconnection and sync issues, as well as few other morsels aimed at getting Shadow Era fans salivating, and hopefully getting those who quit, or never started at all, into the digital CCG fold, hopefully before the World of Warcraft CCG, Hearthstone, comes out and blows everyone away.
For what it's worth, as a hardcore Shadow Era player, this news couldn't have come at a better time. Part of the reason I (and I would assume others) started playing Shadow Era is because it felt like I was getting in at the ground floor. There were only 100 or so cards, and really only 3-5 viable strategies, all of which could be countered fairly soundly, resulting in a pretty tight meta game.
The physical aspect of a collectible card game can be daunting. Besides managing dozens if not hundreds of cards, when it comes to playing the actual game, often times there’s a bevy of procedural nuance that can prevent a new-player from immersing themselves in the game completely - oftentimes a new Magic: The Gathering player will spend weeks if not months figuring out the little details of blocking, when to cast instants, the way certain spells affect other spells. Throw in some math, the need to turn over a D20 every time you take damage, and the fact that practically everyone you play is going to be better than you for a very, very long time - getting into a CCG in the brick and mortar realm is a tricky proposition. It was for me, anyway.
With the release of the most recent expansion the number of cards available to players has almost doubled - So now might be the best time to jump in before things get too bone-crushingly complicated.