If you’re keen on a little something new in your games of Hearthstone — say, a mode that doesn’t have any cards in it — then you’ll likely be interested in Battlegrounds, the eight-player auto-battling mode unveiled at BlizzCon and now in open beta.
Here’s how it works: Players start by selecting Heroes. Then, in-between combat rounds, players enter Bob’s Tavern to recruit from a list of offered Minions. Minions cost three Coins, which are granted in increasing amounts as a match progresses. Coins can also be used to do things like refresh the lineup of offered Minions, freeze the list of Minions if you don’t have enough to recruit one you want, or improve the Tavern’s Tier to get a chance at stronger Minions. Coins can even be used to engage most Hero Powers, but they don’t carry over from round to round, so spending wisely is one part of the strategy.
The other important part of strategy is Minion placement. Position of your Minions based on factors like the abilities of the active Hero can have an effect on combat; for example, the Hero Arthas has an ability that grants Minions on the right side of the board Reborn. Once Minions are recruited and their positions are confirmed, the battle plays out automatically. Players earn rankings based on performance, and their next opponent is listed on a leaderboard to the left.
If all of this sounds intriguing, you can fire up Hearthstone right now and jump into the fray via the “Modes” button. You can also get an advance look at the Heroes and Minions here.