To be fair, it's a pretty big twist. While The Elder Scrolls Legends beta has a whole lot of Hearthstone going on, it's going on in two lanes at once, which is actually pretty cool.
I just got into the beta test for The Elder Scrolls Legends yesterday afternoon, so I hopped on last night to play through a chunk of the single-player story mode, another very welcome deviation from the Hearthstone formula. It's sort of like the campaign's seen in Magic: The Gathering's Duels of the Planeswalkers games, layering on concepts with each new chapter.
I really appreciate a good single-player mode in my digital card games. Here we've got a light narrative that follows the player from battle to battle, and the odd moral decision that nets them specific cards to add to their deck. It's nice to have a story in a game with The Elder Scrolls in front of it.
As for the gameplay, we've got magicka points that increase each turn, allowing players to cast more powerful cards as the round progresses. It's pretty much standard attack and defence card-based play.
The major difference is that instead of one massive battlefield, the board is split into two lanes. Creatures can only attack enemy creatures in their own lane. Abilities are often lane specific. A creature with Guard (AKA Taunt) only Guards against creatures in their own lane. Throw in different types of lanes, like windy lanes that randomly blow cards back and forth between rounds or shadow lanes that offer summoned cards an extra turn of protection, and the strategy can get pretty deep and satisfying.
Or it could also be pretty cheap, like when you set up one side of the board to take down an entrenched group of enemies, only to have a key card blown to the other side right before your turn. Ouch.
Check out the video above to see The Elder Scrolls Legends in action. It's very brownish, and quite intriguing.