Be Better Than Alec: Win At Card Hunter Right Now

By Nathan Grayson on September 13th, 2013 at 9:00 am.

Dragon plays 'is a Dragon, is basically impervious to axes'

Remember when Alec played Card Hunter’s multiplayer? Back when he couldn’t even beat the game’s own creators on his first go at it ever? What a joke, right? I mean, practically anyone could do that. I would, but I’m too busy decimating the world’s most sophisticated chess-playing computer with both my brains tied behind my back. You, though – you should absolutely brush up on your Card Hunter skills, as a) Alec still lurks in the shadows, waiting to suck all potential victims into the black night of his vengeance and b) it’s a really great game from former BioShock developers. The free-to-play pen-and-paper/TCG game fusion is now available in easily accessible browser form. Go slay dragons with a vicious series of paper cuts!

Developer Blu Manchu hasn’t posted a launch trailer or anything to that effect, so here’s Alec losing again. Like a loser. Who loses. (Oh fine. He actually fares better than I probably would’ve in the same situation, and his is a voice that could reduce a tiny tabletop cardboard cutout of an angel to joyous tears.)

I’ve played it a couple times in various states, and it’s quite fun. Strategic options are many and varied, and deck building is as utterly compulsive as you’d expect. The plot is also full of cheeky nods to tabletop role-playing, so you will be amused on all possible levels.

Card Hunter is free-to-play, with money potentially unlocking new characters and adventures individually. Alternatively, you can snag a “basic edition” for $25 or subscribe. I am curious to find out how all these various tiers affect multiplayer (if at all), but I haven’t played enough of the full release yet to find out.

The cost of entry, however, is 100 percent free, so you have nothing to lose by rolling the dice on it. Now go! Glory and the shriveled remains of Alec’s self-esteem await.

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28 Comments »

  1. Torn says:

    Card hunter is polished, and packaged up really nicely. The devs deserve supporting.

    Those spear-wielding trogs in the alpha/beta were pretty tough to fight though – I’ll have to see if they’ve been toned down for launch

  2. atticus says:

    It doesn’t seem like they’ve been toned down at all. They really are very hard to beat, even if you equip your entire party with weapons that penetrate armour.

    Card Hunter is the kind of game I end up rage-quitting after drawing a third hand of just movement and blocking for my fighter, but within a few hours I’m really pumped to give it another go. It’s a very good game, but it can be extremely frustrating at times!

    Edit: was meant as a reply to Torn

    • NooklearToaster says:

      They’re not terrible if you outfit your fighter with a lot of reach attacks and lunges, and armor on your mage is incredibly vital to the point of favoring it over spells. That being said, a series of bad draws can cripple any setup and I love that fact, it keeps multi fresh and a little more exciting :)

    • Megadestructo says:

      Hey there! If you have a priest during the Trogg fight (which I think you will), don’t equip an item into their Divine Doodad slot and they’ll get Wavering Faith. That card will force an opponent to discard their oldest card in the hand (usually their armor), making the Troggs a lot less of a problem to deal with.

    • Rymdkejsaren says:

      I know this is may be a bit crass, but did you try thinking?

      I for one welcome a game that challenges me. I hit the same dead spot at the trogs. “Wait what, I can’t just play the same spells over and over and win?”

      It is a good thing that there are games out there that challenge you to adapt your tactics instead of just bungling forward at a comfortable difficulty. Too many games today do not even give an option to play them at a challenging level because it scares off consumers.

      The trogs are far from unbeatable, and you do not generally need to grind for new gear to beat them. You just have to re-equip and play differently from the other adventures (which are all fairly straight forwards). The SP campaign continues in this way, so if you do not like having to rethink then do not play it.

      Or just play MP instead, which is separate and awesome. I have had so many good matches so far, brilliant people and games that come down to the very last turn. Sure, there’s the luck of the draw. But if I wanted complete lack of RNG, I would play chess.

  3. BooleanBob says:

    Just started playing this yesterday. I’m completely charmed by it so far. I do feel a little bad, though: the devs are unlikely to see much (or any) money out of me and I’ll probably drop it as soon as it starts feeling grindy. The model is what it is, I suppose.

    • Xercies says:

      Yeah I would actually like to pay money for the game…but not the F2P gubbins cause for some reason paying for virtual items in a game seems silly to me.

      • BooleanBob says:

        There’s two problems I have with F2P. The first is that I’m happy to pay a certain amount of money for a certain amount of game. This holds for expansions, and even DLC, although I’m less thrilled about the latter. But with F2P there’s no such certainty. The amount of game you can pay money for is essentially limitless. I’m not comfortable with that.

        The second problem isn’t even Blu Manchu’s fault at all. It comes from hearing that the Candy Crush developers rigged their engine with a flag that makes the game harder once you’ve made a purchase. The first purchase is always psychologically the hardest, so the devs figured that once you were over the hump, so it were, you were ripe for the harvest and adjusted the game’s difficulty accordingly, nudging the player towards needing even more power-up purchases. Like I say this isn’t Card Hunter’s fault, I’m sure their intentions are pure, but the scummy actions on the part of one F2P game have soured me with the suspicion that any of the others could be doing the same thing.

        • aepervius says:

          That explain a lot on why I felt the difficulty ramp so much up as to make all unplayable. They msut be using soemthing similar :P.

          I mean come on, I am spread at random on a field, the skeleton have 19 hp, an armor which block all elements, and the skeleton explode with I think 15 acid damage when it dies. And there is two of them, plus 4 or 6 zombie.

          That#s supposed to be a missin 9 level fight. Yeah. Right.

          • xao says:

            Only the (single) festering zombie explodes in that fight. Conveniently, he explodes for enough damage to kill any of his allies…

    • Snargelfargen says:

      This was not intended as a reply, woops.

      A couple thoughts after playing: This is really polished. The humour is great, lots of riffing about tabletop gaming.

      The deck building system is novel: each piece of equipment an adventurer equips comes with several cards. The various equipment then makes up that character’s deck. I like this, as it tickles my d&d bone and I’m often overwhelmed by the options when building decks in other card games. I imagine hard-core M:tG players may be turned off by this though.

      The IAP is ok, sort of. There don’t seem to be any items exclusive to the in-game currency or the membership, so the only advantage money brings is that it accelerates the deck building process. No upgraded versions of cards or other game-changing bullshit in sight as of yet.

      The starter pack is a bit expensive (25 bucks) considering how little in-game currency it comes with. 15 or even 20 would be fair in my opinion. That said, they don’t give any detail on what the “9 figures” and “11 treasure hunts” are. Maybe those are really cool things, but if that was the case, you would think that it would be explained in more detail, no?

      • NooklearToaster says:

        If you play through the tutorial it shows you all the available figurines and shows you how premium adventures unlock. I believe the starter pack gives you a pool of redemption points and you can pick and choose the ones you want.

        • Aerothorn says:

          It actually gives you 9 specific characters (one for each race/class combination) and all premium adventures that have yet been created. This is indeed the bulk of the deluxe package (it’s basically buying all at cost, with the 9 characters as the freebie). People who spent money in beta (which was refunded) get the 9 characters for free and need not bother.

    • Baines says:

      I started getting bored of the single player when I reached the enemies that hit for double-digit melee damage.

      At that point, the single player was starting to feel increasingly like its design was “play a new scenario, get beat, re-kit to deal with whatever their specialty was, beat scenario”. Even though I didn’t get beaten until the king-shaman 3-on-2 (which was a lost cause after the king two-shot my warrior, after already losing my wizard, and leaving me with only a healing priest), I was seeing characters rendered ineffectual (like the scenario that introduces magic blocking and reflection, which is easy enough for melee but almost removes your wizard from play at the start) and sometimes seeing characters die.

      • aepervius says:

        I got the feeling that the game in SP was not made to be fought with the initial team of 3, but geared to have you buy 2 more fighter / wizard and priest, and have a selection of character depending on the situation. For example use 2 fighter + a priest, or even go full 3 fighter and similar.

        • BooleanBob says:

          A post over on the site wot must not be named around here suggests you might well be on the right track here.

          (To flirt with danger for a moment, the site wot must not be named is putting out some incredible work at the moment.)

  4. Lobotomist says:

    Warning for people that were not in beta. If the game seems sluggish to you , you wait long after each card played, AI takes long to react – this is not how the game is. The servers are coping with lot of lag. So dont quit the game because it seems slow.

  5. FurryLippedSquid says:

    Well I’ve just lost a morning to this.

  6. KicktheCAN says:

    Unfortunately it cannot be played on Linux since the latest version of flash player is 11.2 :(

  7. the_old_pk says:

    Great game! I had some issues with the Shamy-King board, but I just needed to play through the other maps a time or so to level up my quishy wizard.

    Dorf Power!

  8. guygodbois00 says:

    Thanks for reminding me about this game, Mr Grayson. I’m logging in “as we speak”.

  9. Big Murray says:

    I lost interest when it told me I’d have to wait 16 minutes to log in.

  10. abbieray says:

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  11. DrollRemark says:

    I’ve been fiddling with this for the last couple of hours and it seems quite fun, I’ll probably chuck some money into it when I can afford to.

    Anyone else encounter a bug where it hangs after selecting a card though? I can still do other things on screen (right-click other cards, type in chat, go to the menu), but it left me unable to either play the move I wanted, or choose another card instead. Had to quit and retry the level.

  12. sirdavies says:

    Played it for about an hour. Looks nice, plays nice, would rather pay for it and have it in my computer than play it in a browser+free to play model. Oh well, good luck to them I suppose.

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