Play this: 'Highgrounds' is 'Magic' without the cards

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Browser game Highgrounds has many of the features that make collectible card games like Magic the Gathering so addictive — the only thing it's missing is the cards. The game thrusts you into a series of battles with the goal of destroying your opponent's city. To do this you'll take turns placing units either in front of or behind your city. And depending where they're placed, they'll behave differently, doing everything from attacking and defending to generating resources necessary for buying additional units. Each round you'll have a new group of units to choose from — sort of like a random shuffle of cards — and this process continues until one city is destroyed.

The gameplay is simple to grasp, but the variety of units available means that there's quite a bit of strategy involved, and a lot of flexibility depending on how you want to play. The game also draws from CCGs by letting you purchase booster decks with real money. These can net you some incredibly strong and useful units, but if you don't feel like spending any cash there are still plenty of characters to unlock in the single-player campaign. The combination of challenging gameplay mixed and fun deck building (not to mention the ability to play online with friends), makes Highgrounds an excellent way to get your CCG fix — and you don't even have to remember to bring your deck along.

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