But I'm very interested in the mechanic and so happy to see westernised versions of the highly popular and lucrative Asia genre hitting app stores.
To-date, I've enjoyed Kabam's Heroes of Camelot, although eventually stopped playing because there wasn't enough new content. (Apparently, Kabam is going to fix this in 2014).
Currently, I'm also playing the DeNA-published (on Mobage) and SuperSaga-developed Heroes & Havoc, but our focus today is the EA/Bioware Heroes of Dragon Age.
Coming up trumps
It's pretty easy to spot how card-battling gameplay is being repackaged for western audiences.
Building on the hero meme from MOBA games like League of Legends, all three of the games previously mentioned have the term 'Heroes' in their titles.
Unlike games such as Heroes of Camelot, Heroes of Dragon Age does away with cards, however, at least as a graphical element. Instead, you have a squad of five heroes, which are displayed as if they were 3D figurines.
Battles take place automatically; your only input is the ability to trigger the use of time-dependent Runes, combined with minor issues such as Hero selection and formation i.e. whether a character is in the front or back row.
Level 'em up
In terms of monetisation, as with all card games, Heroes of Dragon Age is all about buying new characters. These are either low level characters that you combine (or consume) with your Heroes to level them up, or higher level characters you swap into your squad.
Playing through single player mode and multiplayer battles rewards you with Gold - the soft currency - and XP.
As you'd expect, you can buy low level characters with Gold and high level characters with Gems.
The only other in-game resources are Stamina, which is used for multiplayer battles, and Energy, for single player quests. Once you've used up these resources, you pay with Gems for a refill or wait.
Doing the business
Digging down in the game's economy, it uses a typical six band IAP range for Gems, which ranges from $1.99 to $99.99.
Looking at the Discount Currency ratio (how many more gems you get per dollar spent comparing the minimum IAP to the maximum), is also a fairly standard 1.4.
Heroes of Dragon Age has been relatively successful; since its 16 October release it's gone top 10 top grossing in 18 countries on iPhone and 22 on iPad.
In the US, its top grossing position has been #27 for iPhone, #27 for iPad, and #14 for Android.
Breaking these down using our Success metric, we get
iPhone = 0.009
iPad = 0.011
Android = 0.02
Anything over 0.01 we treat as being a commercially successful game.
As for the Monetizer ranking, Heroes of Dragon Age's standard IAP economy give it a score of 80. We treat anything over 100 as being highly monetised.
There are a couple more things to mention, however.
Heroes of Dragon Age is a good example of early-stage reciprocity as it gifted players with a rare Dark Revenant character as an "early access exclusive".
More worryingly for EA, though, over the past couple of days, the game has been suffering from stability issues, ranging from requests to reload to the failure of the store to connect to iTunes. At least that's been my experience.
Conclusion: Heroes of Dragon AgeSuccess ratio (iPhone) = 0.009
Success ratio (iPad) = 0.011
Success ratio (Android) = 0.02
Currency Discount ratio = 1.4
Monetizer score = 80