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Free vs Paid Trading Card Games of 2022

If you're big on MTG or even just missing the old Pokemon card games of the 90s, you have to read this one. I think you'll find you can get even spend less money on these decks.

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Free vs Paid Trading Card Games of 2022

Gone are the days of lugging tons of pounds of cards around in books. Now you can play all your favorite card games on your mobile device. We tested some of the highest-ranked games to see which ones were worth your time and what came out on top, paid vs free. After our extensive research, The Witcher Card Game came out on top, beating some great games in the process. Want to know which other games completed our top 3? Read on to find out!

Table of Contents

  1. 1. Apps We Selected
  2. Our Pick GWENT: The Witcher Card Game GWENT: The Witcher Card Game Runner Up Exploding Kittens® - Official Exploding Kittens® - Official Also Groovy MORTAL KOMBAT: A Fighting Game MORTAL KOMBAT: A Fighting Game
  3. 2. Everything We Recommend
  4. 3. The 411 from our Appventurer
  5. 4. Other Apps Considered
Our Pick

Best for Animated Card Games

  • Command mighty Witcher-world heroes in epic online PvP card battles!
    4.4 Ratings 437K+ Reviews 1M+ Downloads
    Free Fresh In App Purchases
    Free In-App Purchases
    Free In-App Purchases


This is a very enjoyable, borderline addictive game that we simply loved to test. It takes some great features from other card trading games and integrates them smoothly into their ‘world’ of ‘The Witcher.’

Why we chose GWENT: The Witcher Card Game:

  • Totally free to play, but there are in-app purchases available from $0.99 – $139.99 if you want to buy extra packs.
  • Great for beginners with easy-to-understand tutorials to help you learn the game.
  • High-quality graphics and fantastic animations make this game even more visually appealing.
  • Good use of strategy and tactics makes this game even more enjoyable to play.
They break down how to play the game with a comprehensive tutorial, and they make the gameplay so engaging that you can help but keep playing.
Read GWENT: The Witcher Card Game's Full Review
Runner Up

Best for fun card game experience

  • Exploding Kittens, the most-funded game in Kickstarter history, now on Android!
    4.6 Ratings 62K+ Reviews 500K+ Downloads
    In App Purchases
    $1.99 In-App Purchases
    $1.99 In-App Purchases


Exploding Kittens is a super fun game with great use of strategy, tactics, and light-hearted fun.

Why we chose Exploding Kittens:

  • Only $1.99 to download, and extra packs are available for another $1.99. Overall the cheapest game we really enjoyed.
  • An incredibly fun and enjoyable game that will have you in tears laughing.
  • Creative gameplay with good use of tactics and strategy.
  • User-friendly interface that is easy to learn and great for beginners.
  • Quick, fast-paced game that doesn’t take too long to finish.
  • Smooth animations and easy-on-the-eye graphics.
Some of these games are darker and more intense, but Exploding Kittens (despite the name) is really low maintenance and easy to play. Very enjoyable game and a worthy runner-up.
Read Exploding Kittens' Full Review
Also Groovy

The best for playable action

  • Assemble an elite team of Mortal Kombat warriors and fight in epic 3v3 battles!
    4.3 Ratings 5M+ Reviews 50M+ Downloads
    Free In App Purchases 1M+ Reviews
    Free In-App Purchases
    Free In-App Purchases


Mortal Kombat takes the traditional card battle games to a whole new level. Instead of sitting back as your hypothetical heroes do battle, you can actually fight with your selected team.

Why we chose Mortal Kombat:

  • Free-to-play game. In-app purchases are available from $0.99 - $99.99.
  • Easy controls and super easy to learn the buttons.
  • Great use of challenges and in-game tasks keep the game exciting.
  • Fantastic graphics and animations, especially on the more brutal ‘finisher’ moves.
  • Quick and easy, fast-paced action keeps the game engaging and fun.
This is a great, fast-paced, and action-packed game, but be warned, the moves are quite graphic, so if you’re a little squeamish, this may not be the game for you.
Read Mortal Kombat's Full Review

Everything We Recommend

  • Our Pick
    Join in The Witcher universe’s favorite card game — available for free! Blending the CCG and TCG genres, GWENT sees you clash in fast-paced online PvP duels that combine bluffing, on-the-fly decision making and careful deck construction. Collect and command Geralt, Yennefer and other iconic Witcher-world heroes. Grow your collectible arsenal with spells and special abilities that dramatically turn the tide of battle. Use deception and clever tricks in your strategy to win the fight in classic, seasonal and Arena modes. Play GWENT: The Witcher Card Game for free now!

    FREE TO PLAY THAT’S WORTH YOUR TIME — A fair and fun progression system turns the effort of building a competitive collection of cards into pure pleasure — simply collect new cards to build decks with as you play GWENT; no strings attached.

    STUNNING, ALL ACROSS THE BOARD — Beautiful, hand-drawn art and mesmerizing visual effects breathe life into every card, battle and battlefield, making GWENT fun to play and every duel a joy to watch.

    SKILL BEATS LUCK — Crush the enemy with brute strength or outsmart them with clever tricks — no matter your deck, GWENT’s unique round-based gameplay opens up a world of strategic possibilities to play with when fighting for victory.

    MORE THAN ONE WAY TO PLAY — Whether it’s a quick online game against a friend, a highly competitive PvP challenge, or something new and wildly adventurous like the Arena, GWENT’s selection of game modes has got you covered.

    EASILY SATISFYING, ANYTHING BUT EASY — Sling cards from your deck across two tactically distinct rows — melee and ranged. Gather more points in the duel against your opponent to win a round. Win two out of three rounds to win the battle. It won’t be easy, but no one said it should be.

    NO HOLDING BACK, NO HOLDING HANDS — You start with 10 cards from your deck in hand, able to play each card right from the start. It’s up to you to open the game with your strongest unit, or save the best for later in the fight. How will your deck look and what will your strategy be?
    In-App Purchases
    $0.99 - $99.99 per item
    $4.99 - $29.99 per item
  • Runner Up
    Play the most-funded game in Kickstarter history anywhere with the Exploding Kittens® Official mobile game!


    The mobile version of the game is available now, including the Party Pack, Betrayal, Streaking Kittens, and the all new Barking Kittens expansion! Play with friends or strangers in online play, challenge the AI, or play offline with friends face-to-face!

    In this highly-strategic, kitty-powered version of Russian Roulette, players draw cards until someone draws an Exploding Kitten, at which point they explode, they are dead, and they are out of t​he game -- unless that player has a Defuse card, which can defuse the Kitten using things like laser pointers, belly rubs, and catnip sandwiches. All of the other cards in the deck are used to move, mitigate, or avoid the Exploding Kittens.


    - Exploding Kittens is a multiplayer card game for people who are into kittens and explosions and laser beams and sometimes goats.

    - Play with 2 to 5 players across multiple phones in the same room, or online with friends or strangers

    - Featuring original art by The Oatmeal

    - New cards exclusive to the digital version of Exploding Kittens

    - Digital versions of the hit expansions, including Streaking and Barking Kittens, as well as digital exclusive Betrayal and Party decks

    - The digital version of the most backed game in Kickstarter history

    Creat​ed by Elan Lee (Xbox, ARGs), Matthew Inman (The Oatmeal), and Shane Small (Xbox, Marvel).

    Exploding Kittens is a paid app in which optional game features may be purchased with real money. You must be at least 13 years old to download and play. There is also an option to compete online against strangers and resulting data transfer charges may apply. Player usernames and expressions are their own. Exploding Kittens, LLC is not responsible for and does not endorse player usernames or expressions. For our privacy policy, visit
    In-App Purchases
    $0.99 - $1.99 per item
    $0.99 - $9.99 per item
  • Also Groovy
    Experience the over-the-top, visceral fighting action of MORTAL KOMBAT! Bring the power of next-gen gaming to your mobile and tablet device with this visually stunning fighting and card collection game. Assemble an elite team of Mortal Kombat warriors and prove yourself in the greatest fighting tournament on Earth!

    The MK11 team is extremely versatile, packed with unique abilities and powerful team synergies to inflict pain onto your enemies. The MK11 collection includes MK11 Raiden, Scorpion, Jade, Sub-Zero, Kabal, and Skarlet, and they are just as deadly as their console counterparts! They even perform the same Fatal Blow!

    Create your own team of Mortal Kombat fighters and lead them into battle to earn experience, new special attacks, and powerful artifacts. Team up warriors with unique synergies to get an advantage over your enemies such as Team Ronin, Team Nightmare, and Team Day of the Dead!

    This game is the ultimate CCG! Collect over 130 Mortal Kombat characters including veterans like Scorpion, Johnny Cage, Sub-Zero, Cassie Cage, Ermac, and many others. Discover new additions to Mortal Kombat Mobile like the bloodthirsty Vampiress Mileena, soccer champion Kombat Cup Sonya Blade, mysterious Klassic Reptile, and warrior princess Ronin Kitana.

    Prove yourself in epic battles and complete a series of matches to bring new Mortal Kombat warriors to your roster! Come back every week to take on a different Challenge and expand your Kollection. 

    Compete and fight with other players in Faction Wars, an online competitive mode where players engage other player teams. Rank up in your Faction’s leaderboard to earn weekly prizes.

    Unlock unique character customizations in Feats of Strength. Win battles to show off your mastery with limitless combinations of action packed Victory Stances, insulting Victory Taunts, and champion worthy War Banners. Unlocking Feats of Strength also boosts stats for characters!

    Mortal Kombat Mobile brings its trademark Fatalities to mobile, with stunning graphics, and over the top action moves that will punch you right in the guts. Other fighting games don’t come close!

    Send characters on epic Quests to earn special rewards! Begin your journey in Outworld and make your way to Netherrealm!

    Download this groundbreaking, free fighting game TODAY and unleash your power!

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    For game support:

    * Mortal Kombat Mobile features high quality visuals. Performance is not optimized on devices with less than 1.0 GB RAM.
    * Mortal Kombat Mobile is an online-only game.
    * A minimum of 1.1 GB of free space is required on your device.
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. Contains intense violence, blood, and gore.

    Ad Choices:
    Terms of Use:
    Do Not Sell My Personal Information:
    In-App Purchases
    $0.99 - $99.99 per item
    $1.99 - $19.99 per item
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The 411 from our Appventurer

  • Thank you for sharing!

Anton Mark
Written by:

Anton Mark

As a freelancer, I use all types of different apps so that I can manage my time and remain organized with ease. I’m always on the go so I love anything that can help me to stay on top of my tasks but for fun, I love playing games or watching movies.

I’m a huge sports fan so I’ll usually be checking the latest scores or following up on my teams and I also like to expand my mind with audiobooks and podcasts. Using apps allows me to get through so much more in a typical day that I simply wouldn’t be able to cover otherwise and I love it.

Being able to write about apps is pretty great as I get to research the best apps out there and find the hidden gems that people may not know about then share that information to help others discover their new favorite apps.  

Free vs Paid Trading Card Games of 2022




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