Loot boxes are the topic of a lot of conversation these days, in both the free-to-play and premium worlds.

Deck-builders have seen mighty success on mobile, and there’s a tangible reason why the micro-transactions within them are a smoother sell than other types of purchases; real-life mirroring. Games that rely on the collection and building of card decks mimic the experience of buying and opening card packs in real life. Play Magic: The Gathering, or Yu-Gi-Oh!, and your only option for building a better deck, is to go to a store and buy a blind pack of cards.

It’s this practice that games like HearthstoneClash RoyaleFifa, and many others have translated to digital platforms.


Card Castles
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Animation Throwdown


Why Play?  While Kongregate’s combination of some of the world’s most popular cartoon franchises was drawn out of an adoration for games like Hearthstone, but it is presented more like a re-skin of their previously released, and IP-devoid Spellstone. Animation Throwdown takes the PC-port issues and throws them out the window, simplifying the layouts of a card battle, and making for a much cleaner mobile experienceCollect and combine cards with familiar characters from Family GuyAmerican Dad, King of the Hill, and more!

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South Park: Phone Destroyer

Ubisoft Ent.

Why Play?  The relationship between Ubisoft and South Park has been fruitful – with two absolutely fantastic console and pc RPGs – and has since made a big splash on mobile devices with Phone Destroyer. South Park’s pocket collectible card-battler takes its theme from the console RPGs but draws inspiration from Clash Royale and Hearthstone for match gameplay. Collect upgrade parts, and character cards to build the best deck of South Park faces to be victorious with both pvp and story modes. It’s hilarious (in that South Park way), and has amazing presentation and graphics.

Google Play App Store
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Blizzard Entertainment

Why Play?  Born from an appreciation for classic deck-building games like Magic: The GatheringHearthstone took Blizzard’s vastly historical and deep World of Warcraft universe and made what is the most popular digital deck-building game. With a tightly-knit design and strong community, coupled with never-ending updates, balancing, and expansionsHearthstone is the pinnacle of experiences in card-based games today. Nearly every deck-builder today uses the Hearthstone standards as their inspiration.

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Clash Royale


Why Play?   No one had foreseen the competitive potential of mobile gaming before Clash Royalecame by, but thankfully that mindset has changed since Supercell revolutionized how the world perceived pvp and eSports on mobile with this fantastically unique combination of gameplay and loot boxes. A neat, and fresh feeling lane-battler that feels like a solid mix of League of Legends, and Magic: The Gathering, Clash Royale is part deck-builder and part strategic pvp. With global tournaments, and plenty of reason to dig-in with your time, and your coins, Clash is a powerhouse and a standard for deck-based games.

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Compulsion Loop

CompulsionLoop is AC+A’s ( weekly pursuit of providing a Featured List for those in the games industry. A look at the latest must-play apps, along with short, useful takeaways from our team of game design and product experts. If you have a game that you think your industry colleagues should try, we’d love to hear about it at Don’t forget to tell us why industry insiders should be compelled to try out the game (see what we did there?).

Know a game that you think others should play? Let us know and tell us why we should play it.

Thank you for reading and we look forward to helping you discover more games that you can glean learnings from. Feel free to reply to this email or contact — we’re always happy to hear from you.

Have a great week!

- Adrian Crook