Wot I Think: Card Hunter

By Adam Smith on September 17th, 2013 at 9:00 pm.

Unless you’re reading these words on a device that doesn’t allow you to play Flash-based browser games, there is absolutely no reason for you not to toddle into another tab and start playing Card Hunter right now. If you have a terrible time, you can always come back, read the rest of this post and then jump straight into the comments to tell me how incredibly wrong I am. The rest of the post, you see, is made up of paragraphs of praise for one of the finest games of the year.

Part deck-builder, part tabletop RPG and part turn-based tactical brilliance, Card Hunter isn’t as simple a thing as the rather unenticing title suggests. There are cards and it is imperative to hunt for them, but not in the manner of a frustrated dad trapped inside on a rainy day, with a deck a couple of kings short. In Card Hunter, cards are derived from loot. Each piece of equipment attached to a character adds a selection of cards to their deck. Broadly, cards allow for attack, defense, movement or short-term ability modifications.

A rusty old sword could grant three weak attacks, unlikely to penetrate a decently armoured foe, and may also carry the possibility of a fumble or a rare piercing strike. Conversely, a magical diamond-edged blade might grant five armour-shattering slashes while also occasionally slicing through the bearer’s own flesh, causing double-edged damage in both directions.

During combat, characters are vulnerable to the luck of the draw. It’s possible to have a mighty warrior spend an entire turn shuffling across the battlefield, unable to bring himself close enough to crush a gang of goblins with his Mallet of Mashing. Rather than frustrating, this adds to the pleasure of inventory management. It’s all well and good having an inventory stacked with high-powered melee attacks but they’re meaningless if the enemy can prance out of range, firing sparks and arrows, or skewering the heavy-footed heroes with polearms and spears. Balance is key, whether across the party of three or in the loadout of each individual.

After a few adventures, the loot stockpile is high, although it will probably contain a few duplicate items. Anything can be sold for a few coins but it’s worth hanging on to a diverse set of items so as to counter the specific threats of each of the game’s many quests. There’s an enormous amount of content, far more than I realised when I first created my account. Like everything else in the game, the map is a digital representation of a fictional tabletop RPG. It sits atop a table and clicking and dragging scrolls the screen across it, revealing lands far away from the kobold-infested corner where the game begins.

Apart from the portraits of the dungeon master siblings, which lack personality, Card Hunter’s aesthetic is delicious. Everything has been designed as if it were a copy of a real object. Quest briefings are printed on adventure sheets, with branding, logos and instructions listed. Characters are two dimensional cut-outs lodged in plastic stands and their depiction follows the logic implied by their physicality, as I noticed with delight when I first saw a fire elemental – rather than simply hovering above its stand, it was elevated by a strip of white card, holding it aloft.

There’s a level of commitment to the creation of this fictional game that I admire and the detail of every element makes even the most predictable fantasy tropes a pleasure to discover. As well as being a visually intelligent game, Card Hunter has a clever approach to narrative. While the mode of depiction makes even a zombie interesting, the two separate plotlines work together to make dungeon raiding intriguing.

Alongside the usual heroics of the player characters, there’s a slow-burning story of sibling rivalry between the games master and his older brother, who has his own ideas as to how unforgiving and sadistic a GM should be to his group. Kill ‘em all, he reckons, to teach them that life isn’t fair. Meanwhile, the hapless youngster messes up nomenclature and quest plotlines, becoming distracted whenever the pizza delivery girl arrives.

Some people may find it irritating that the player’s character is always (presumably) male, given the flustered reaction to a female presence in the game space, and that’s a fair complaint, but there’s a surprising nuance to the burgeoning romance. While the games master tries to hide the fact that he’s playing with miniatures and dice whenever she visits, the delivery girl just wants to be invited to play. She’s a gamer, locked out of the group because they’re too bloody pig-headed, introverted and stubborn to realise that she might want to spend time with the people they are rather than the ciphers they pretend to be.

Given the talent that worked on the game, it’s probably daft to be surprised that it unassumingly delivers a nostalgic, comic and thoughtful tale, in brief and easily ignored snippets of dialogue. If you care to engage with it, the text of Card Hunter has something to say about awkward adolescence, the sociability and insularity of gaming groups, and how personality can define the way we play together. It’s a far better proposition than the series of geek references and jokes that I expected.

The combat itself, which is the heart of the game, is superb. At first, it seems simplistic, with few obstacles carving up the maps and monsters that walk forwards and then die by your swords and spells. As different abilities are introduced and maps become more cluttered, wizards and priests must be positioned with care, as their spells can only buff and bludgeon figures that are within range and line of sight.

At the beginning of each round, each character receives a hand of cards from the individually assigned deck determined by the items equipped during the planning phases. No replacements are dealt until the round ends, which only happens when both the player and the GM pass. Two cards can be kept and the rest are discarded, so unless there’s an unpleasant trait that a character would rather be rid of, it can be best to take action rather than waiting for the perfect moment. Traits must be played as soon as they are drawn and they have various effects, from removing a character’s ability to make killing blows (squeamish) to automatically teleporting him/her to a new location at the beginning of each round.

Even if defeated, characters don’t die, instead simply removed from that particular adventure, leaving their companions to fight on alone. Some quests have victory points, locations that can be held to earn points toward a set total that grants success, but most just involve eradicating the opposition. There’s a great deal of variety in the opponents faced but I won’t spoil their behaviour here – exploring the map, and realising how much there is to see and to kill is one of the game’s great pleasures.

Completing an adventure, each of which contains several battles, unlocks new locations. Most of these are further adventures, but there are also shops, which restock daily or weekly, and special treasure hunts that grant unique loot. These, along with some character reskins, are the only specific unlocks that require actual cash expenditure. Skipping them does not prevent progress and by the time I completed the first, I already had better equipment than the item I won at the end of it, so I doubt they’ll even speed progress particularly. It’s also possible to buy membership in monthly instalments. Members receive one extra piece of random loot at the end of each adventure.

I’d hope that people will come to the game because of its quality and then feel happy subscribing or buying the Basic Edition, which provides access to all of the special treasure adventures, nine figures (cosmetic only), 100 slices of in-game currency and a month of membership. The in-game currency doesn’t provide boosts or unlock anything other than cosmetic items, further months of subscription or additional treasure hunts that may be added at a later date.

Card Hunter is an enormous, accomplished and complete game before a penny is spent. I’m excited to see it grow, even though I haven’t finished all of the launch content yet despite spending three days doing little else but playing. I haven’t had to grind either, although it is possible to replay adventures after a cool-down period. When I find myself struggling, I switch equipment and try again, and eventually, the breakthrough comes.

Every minute that I play, I’m considering options, cursing or cheering as cards come into play, and learning new tactics. Don’t stay away because its free-to-play – from the player perspective, this is the ideal of that model. I just hope it works as well for the creators as it does for me and that the generosity and lack of paywalls and nagging hindrances doesn’t prevent people from parting with their cash. deserve profit as well as acclaim, and Card Hunter is perfectly suited to expansions. I’d be happy if it kept growing for years.

By creating a game that mimics the tactility of a tabletop experience, Blue Manchu also present the rules of ever encounter and skill up-front, though without drowning the player in numbers and stats. Even the interface is commendable, quietly displaying the relevant equipment for each character class and inventory slot as the contents of treasure chests, inventories and shops are explored. It’s as good a turn-based skirmish game as I can remember any studio releasing in a good while, exquisitely presented and mechanically solid.

Go and play Card Hunter now! I’ll share thoughts on multiplayer soon.

, , , , .

75 Comments »

Sponsored links by Taboola
  1. Choca says:

    Yeah I bounced off of it in beta but I’ve been playing it like crazy for the last few days, it’s surprisingly good.

    I do wish you could save equipment builds for your character though, so you could switch from long range lightning attacks to fire stuff before an Ent heavy quest without having to dive into the (quickly) overstuffed inventory.

    • CaesarBritannicus says:

      You can save party configurations and equipment loadouts, I believe, at the Keep. Look for the store/retrieve button in the lower left while in the keep.

      • Premium User Badge

        Martel says:

        That’s what the Keep is for? I’ll be damned, I’ll have to try that.

        I would love it if inventory stayed in place when you moved it around. I tried to keep a few kits worth of gear and every time you go back in there it’s all sorted again (not the way you did it). Very minor complaint though, and mostly due to my OCD. The game is a lot of fun so far.

        • Premium User Badge

          xao says:

          You can actually do this at any of the briefing or inventory screens. Just hit the Store/Retrieve button!

  2. Halpa says:

    “The in-game currency doesn’t provide boosts or unlock anything other than cosmetic items, further months of subscription or additional treasure hunts that may be added at a later date.”
    I want to note this is not entirely true. Pizza (The real-money currency) can be used to buy treasure chests full of high level items in an unlimited capacity.

    • jcalton says:

      “The in-game currency doesn’t provide boosts or unlock anything other than cosmetic items,”

      With a subscription, you also get additional loot drops (of guaranteed quality) with each mission completion.
      Coupled with chests, that probably meets most people’s definition of “pay to win.”

      I also could have sworn the game offered XP boosts and so forth, but whatever.

      I definitely wouldn’t say that it’s “not entirely true” that the currency “doesn’t provide boosts” or is “only for cosmetic items”…I’d say that’s an outright untruth.

      • Snargelfargen says:

        There are no experience boosts.
        The items in the chests and the loot drops are drawn from the same pool that normal rare items come from. It doesn’t give paying customers access to anything that others don’t. The end result is that it accelerates the deck-building process. I don’t think I would call it pay 2 win by any means.

        The purchases are a bit too expensive though. I was ok with buying the basic starter pack, but the membership and pizza are way too expensive to justify.

        • Yglorba says:

          Weren’t there pay-to-unlock special missions with unique rewards that you can only gain if you pay for the mission?

          Or did they remove those after the beta?

          • Snargelfargen says:

            Oh yeah, forgot about the treasure hunts. They are all unlocked with the starter package. I’ve done the first two and the rewards seemed good, but not exceptionally so. They didn’t match my decks, so I haven’t actually used them yet. Maybe someone who’s played the beta can chime in on this.

        • mwoody says:

          Sorry, but I’d say outright buying items you normally get through play as absolutely the dictionary definition of pay 2 win.

          • Anti-Skub says:

            Pay 2 Win is when you can buy items you CAN’T get through normal play. As in you pay to get an advantage people who don’t pay can’t get. Paying to unlock things you could have got just by playing is pretty much the dictionary definition of what Pay 2 Win is not.

          • Snargelfargen says:

            I suppose if amassing items is your end goal, then the game is indeed pay 2 win. That would make more sense if equipment was depicted on the character sprites or there was some sort of virtual card binder. Card Hunter doesn’t seem to be going down the collector-mania route so far, thankfully.

          • ScorpionWasp says:

            I’d say the pay-to-win description is moot in a game where grinding is allowed, to begin with. You either pay with time or with money, but the bottom line is, it’s not a level playing field. Different players don’t start on equal footing. Contrast that with Chess, Starcraft or CounterStrike. It does not matter how much you payed OR how much you played. Each match is a blank slate. There is no inter-match progression.

            In my (admitedly uncompromisingly purist) book, if a game doesn’t fit the latter model 100%, it’s not worth of my time.

    • kalirion says:

      Is Pizza (the real money currency) the same as the in-game currency being talked about?

      • Vander says:

        No, the in-game currency is gold, i think.

        The free to play model is not bad, but definitively not restricted to cosmetic items. And its a little pricey imho.

  3. aliksy says:

    I enjoyed it in the beta, but found progress kind of slow, and the early powers aren’t that satisfying.

    • CaesarBritannicus says:

      I felt the same way in beta, each turn was bash-bash-bash. I think it is a bit better now.

  4. Lobotomist says:

    I simply love this game

  5. FurryLippedSquid says:

    I played it for 8 hours straight and it was brilliant fun, but at the end of those 8 hours I was a bit bored.

    I wonder if the missus will be up for a bit of one-on-one (fnar).

  6. aphazard1 says:

    I am having a ton of fun playing this. The tactical portion of the game is very well done, the card/deck mechanics work surprisingly well, and the narrative and look and feel of the game bring back memories from my own table top days. Blue Manchu has really done a great job with this game.

  7. Premium User Badge

    DrollRemark says:

    I also have barely stopped playing it since it came out. So much fantastic game, for absolutely nothing. I intend to give them so much of my money as thanks when I get paid.

  8. Sardukar says:

    Tried it, seemed polished, was bored by it. Had a fun few hours, though. Not really tempted to try again.

    • Noumenon says:

      It is fun, but each match is much more similar to the others than if you were playing against a different deck in Magic: the Gathering. Kind of doing the same thing over and over. So I’m actually looking forward to level 10 now (I’m level 5).

    • Premium User Badge

      DuncanIdah0 says:

      I’m still low level (level 4 I think) and last time I played I had to force me to play a little more, as I was starting to get bored with the game. Being low level I can understand that things may get interesting further down the line, but reading the comments here I see there are more people feeling the same. I guess this game is not clicking for some of us.

      One of the reasons may be the fact that I have never been into pen and paper RPGs nor table top gaming, so the nostalgic part and the remembrance of our youth staff is not working for me. And then you also have the mixture of genres which for me is a bit of jack of all trades, master of none…

      For the tactical battles, when I was playing I was thinking all the time why am I playing this when I could be playing HOMM 3 or one of the King’s Bounty games.

      Respect the TCG, I am lately playing Solforge and I am having more fun with that (even in its beta state) than with this game. I think it is due to the more rewarding deck building you get from a more traditional TCG game. The fact that the mechanics of Solforge reduces quite a lot the frustration of a bad draw of cards (like being mana starved in MTG or the equivalent no movement/no attack in Card Hunter) also helps.

      Anyway, I believe I will give Card Hunter a few more hours to see if things get better before I give up…

  9. AiglosCelt says:

    I think it’s quite a stretch to assume the player character has to be male. I’ve been in plenty of gaming and other groups where the female members were treated as “one of the guys,” for lack of a better term, while outside women were reacted to with terror.

    • Premium User Badge

      RedViv says:

      My experience as well. Though being a six two monster might play into that. But there’s more that plays into it in this one, seeing how the story of Pizza Delivery Girl is one of a girl that can’t even get into the group when it’s obvious that she’d want in too.
      Have to see how the oddly charming meta story continues.

      • AiglosCelt says:

        Definitely, I didn’t take the story seriously at first but it’s turning out to be pretty well written, if a little lighter than I’d like

    • MellowKrogoth says:

      It’s nice that the story has more depth than initially perceived, but what’s the problem if the player character is male? I want well written stories, and if the game’s creator had to write two or make it “modular” so it can fit a male or female protagonist, the story would lose in quality. I don’t want a gender option here, just as I don’t want the ability to play Lars Crotch instead of Lara Croft in Tomb Raider.

      The author was probably inspired by his own experience with an all-guys gaming group from his teenage years when he wrote this, so what are you gonna do, blame him for not being a girl?

      Instead of asking guys to twist themselves to make political statements (to get girls to play or empower them or whatever) instead of following their inspiration, ask girls to make games that reflect their own experience and naturally inspire other girls.

      • AiglosCelt says:

        There’s no problem if the character is male, that’s not the issue being discussed. The point of this conversation is that there is no real indication of the character’s gender. Instead, you are the one twisting others’ words to make your own political statement.

        • Gentlemoth says:

          For fairness, it was Adam Smith who wrote that the character is presumably male, and that there was need for irritation in such an presumption. I believe Krogoth is merely expressing disagreement in that such a presumption should not need to be a bad thing, although that opinion came off relatively aggressively.

    • wererogue says:

      I’m agreed that there’s plenty of space for the player character to be female. It reads to me like Gary’s crush on the pizza delivery girl and his internalized geek embarrassment is the obstacle. More “she seems nice and normal and she’d think we’re stupid geeks” than “she is a girl so she’d think we’re stupid geeks”. So far, it feels like the game has been *very* careful not to imply a gender for the PC.

  10. Premium User Badge

    Don Reba says:

    I just could not get past being instantly incredibly annoyed with that dude with glasses.

  11. Aberaham says:

    Please, don’t start bringing the tumblr pseudo-social justice bullcrap here. We all know what gender really plays tabletop games.

    • Premium User Badge

      RedViv says:

      That being arcane talking tables, clearly.

    • Premium User Badge

      Don Reba says:

      Relevant SMBC comic: http://www.smbc-comics.com/?id=2636

    • AiglosCelt says:

      http://www.rpg.net/news+reviews/wotcdemo.html

      Obviously 20% of the demographic is completely discountable

    • Caiman says:

      In our family, females outnumber males when it comes to board games and PC game playing. We also used to play D&D back in the day. So don’t bring that “my opinion must apply to all” bullcrap in here either.

    • wererogue says:

      Yeah, we do. Looking back over the tabletop games and larps I’ve played in and run, the percentage of women range from 20% to 80% per game. So I know that it’s “both of them”.

      And for the record, in my case the games that have had the most intrigue, exploration, and character- and inter-character-development have all been in the 40-60% range.

    • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

      Grow up.

    • nindustrial says:

      Thanks for identifying yourself for my block list. It must be exhausting to be you.

  12. Frank says:

    I didn’t realize this was an actual game up until now; I thought it was just a series of posts about cards (like that cardboard children thing) and never bothered to read about it. Anyway, going to have to try this out now.

  13. jcalton says:

    Again, I haven’t played for about 3 months (I did go back for the tutorial; the game is definitely more polished ans user-friendly), but I got bored [edit: “frustrated” is a better word] around level 10. All the reviews I see appear to be people who haven’t played it for very long.
    Adam Smith what level were your characters when you wrote your review, out of curiosity?

    What happens around level 10 is that you can’t play with the decks (i.e., characters) that you built any more…you have to completely change them (in the narrowest way possible) to suit each room of each adventure…generally after failing miserably with the characters/decks that you know and love.

    Bid goodbye to any feeling of ownership or uniqueness you have to your characters and say hello to hours minutes of micro-management to get through the fun part of the game.

    It’s obviously a very compelling game at the early levels, as are all social games or “free” games that are trying to get you addicted and then charge you $50 for 1800 pizza slices. That’s a 6 month subscription. This isn’t WoW. Nothing is. Most MMO’s are free or far cheaper than that.
    For $50 (back then) you could play Skyrim or Fallout3 and run around on open world almost forever.

    I don’t mean to come across as a hater; this game is SUPER fun at early levels and could be highly addictive if it weren’t so loot/card/equipment heavy and fiddly as soon as you are hooked and ready to commit to the game. Cut those prices by about 90% and they could make money for years, I’m sure. I’d happily give them $20 to play the game for a year. If I liked it better (after level 10) I’d probably give them close to $50 to play it for life (like Fallout/Skyrim). That seems awfully reasonable to me. $100(ish) a year? There’s just no way.

    And I’m not saying you have to pay that to play the game–you don’t. It’s just ridiculous that they are asking that, and gives you a pretty good idea of where the developers are at, either in terms of greed (not likely) or naivete (more likely).

    • CaesarBritannicus says:

      I found that I stalled out at around level 8 in beta. I have all of the treasure hunts now, so it has been pretty smooth sailing for me until level 10 or so. I just got here last night, but the game definitely gets harder. I just realized there was a level 9 treasure hunt which I forgot to do, so I am going to go back to it. Even then, I suspect i may have to ‘farm’ a few completed quests to get the levels and or loot to progress. That said, I don’t mind doing that at all.

      Personally, I haven’t used any of my pizza for the club or on loot chests (minus access to treasure hunts). While I think the game does allow you to pay for progression (=loot), it doesn’t restrict your power in away ways (or allow other players to be ahead in power). I agree that the subscription price is too expensive, and the rewards probably too few, but I can forgive that in a great game (which I think it is). I can still give them some money ($20 for now) and get what I want with some to spare. If people want to pay more, support the game, and get a tad more loot in the process, then be my guest!

    • MellowKrogoth says:

      Agreed about the boredom coming in pretty fast, but only because I have a low tolerance for battle after battle without a good amount of story in-between (Shining Force I and II nailed that perfectly). Still, I know it’s a game I’ll come back to.

      What I don’t like, though, is the online aspect of it. Since this is a game that can be played entirely solo, I’d like to be able to purchase it DRM-free on GOG.com and partake in MP as an option. Otherwise it’s not as worth investing time into, in a sense, since when the servers go down the game’ll cease to exist. So no playing it in 5 or 10 years.

    • Premium User Badge

      xao says:

      I’m at level 13, and I’ve only had to replay one adventure (damn you Morvin!) so far, though I’ve had a number of final battles come down to the wire. Of course I’m updating my decks as I go along, though I rarely have to customize more than one or two items for a specific battle. I’ve found that adjusting my tactics can often take the place of adjusting my decks.

    • irongamer says:

      I’ve played to the end of the content a couple times. A number of months ago it did get quite difficult and/or boring around 8 – 10. However, they made some adjustments and that wall was basically removed. The curve upward is in the mid teens my last play through, but much easier than before. I’m mainly interested in the game for the campaign content. Hope they allow custom campaign builds with their editor. Last I knew the editor was only used for making PvP maps.

      If you don’t buy the extra missions you may find yourself replaying some old missions “once they are refreshed” to get useful cards. This seemed to be less of a problem the second play through. Much of the difficultly of the game for people first playing it just learning what works well and what doesn’t work so well.

      I love the presentation and would like to see more titles like it. While the extra missions you can buy are fun I really don’t like f2p models. Although you can get all the special content for $25. You can spend $99 for a 12 month subscription (one extra loot drop for each map completed). $25 seems ok and is about the price someone might pay for the game, but the club member price seems ridiculous for what you get. You can buy 25 epic chests for $99 which mean you will get at least 50 epic or better items for levels 1 – 18… this is the stuff I don’t care for.

      I haven’t played recently so I don’t know where the campaign ends now. Previously it capped out at around level 18 for adventure difficulty.

    • Lobotomist says:

      Sorry, but i think that is the point.
      The game starts to be progressively harder, and you have to adapt your decks accordingly to each encounter, and strategise like a boss , in order to win.

      The game is challenging and does no hand holding.

      • mondomau says:

        ‘Hand holding’

        Don’t be so dismissive.

        There is nothing wrong with expecting you to re-think your loadout from time to time, but that’s not what happens here – you have to respond to specific enemies with a specific range of cards (that’s not tactics, it’s micromanagement) and even then, if you haven’t got a great stash you end up with low-level items and empty slots cluttering up your hand with useless dross, while your opponent is dealt a guaranteed set hand of block, move and damage cards every turn.

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying the game, but I feel it could do with some more work on smoothing out the difficulty spikes (without resorting to grinding / buying more items, the latter especially if you ‘bought’ the game). I also don’t consider it to be all that tactical, and it’s barely strategic – Other than building the ‘correct ‘ deck (again, specifically tailoring your deck for a specific foe with very little room for variation leads to dull repetitive gameplay- which is a complaint you see creeping in to the late-game players), it’s basically a series of mini puzzles you have to solve based on blind luck of the draw.

  14. WrenBoy says:

    Nice but buggy. My game crashed when fighting Greenfang, which was after about 5 minutes. Now I cant connect to the server.

  15. TekDragon says:

    Got stuck just after the tutorial section ended. All my guys are getting is 1 attack per round each if they’re lucky. 80% of my draws are movement or utility cards. Restarted 3 times (the maximum) and it was the same thing 3 times.

    • GCU Speak Softly says:

      There are pages of advice in the forums, lots of which reference that exact problem. There is/was a somewhat heated debate about card drawing percentages and Random Number Generators, also.

  16. wodin says:

    Been saying for the last two years there is a big gap in the market for tabletop type games on the PC. Wish it had been a paid for release though with single and Multiplayer aspect. No matter how it’s done I don’t like the F2P model.

  17. Snargelfargen says:

    If you’re coming from an rpg background, the need to re-spec decks/character builds is pretty jarring, just an FYI. Coming up with new strategies and card combinations is a big part of card games, not so much dungeon crawlers.. Lots of fun, but it can also be pretty frustrating to discover that a character you’ve built up over the course of the game is geared incorrectly for a battle.

  18. TheMopeSquad says:

    Card Hunter is so “anything goes” definitely not what you would expect from a card game or a tactical game, balance is just out the window completely. Make a deck beforehand and that’s the limited of control you have because once you get on the board its a no-holds-barred death match between you and the dice. Don’t expect a celebration when you get back to the tavern either because then the real battle begins against terrible inventory management. Despite annoyances its an excellent game to bang your head against, usually on walls of cards every color but the ones you want, when you want to waste some time. its easy to come back to again and again because Card Hunter hates you so much and will never let you win, ever.

  19. Drake Sigar says:

    Been playing a couple of hours and lovin’ it. Got an all dwarf party related to one another, and I’m sure the lack of movement is gonna’ bite me in the ass but I don’t care, because it’s dwarves, baby.

  20. Advanced Assault Hippo says:

    Ah, it’s a shame about the method they’ve chosen to push it out with.

    Had it been a paid release I would have been quite interested. But looking into the details of the subscription and everything, I’d rather pass.

    • Caiman says:

      Read the article again, no subscription is required to play the game. You can pay to unlock bonus missions if you want, which may give you some nice loot (or may not), but it’s entirely optional. As for the subscription, that’s also entirely optional and increases the chances of getting a good decent item at the end of each mission. Having played the late beta extensively, I can say for certain that it’s non-essential because the items you’re given are rewarded during normal play anyway, you just get slightly more of them. Your inventory will be heaving with stuff soon enough anyway. I really can’t see the point of the sub frankly, but having the option is fine.

      • Advanced Assault Hippo says:

        No you misunderstand. I’ve already tinkered with the free version and there’s not really enough there for me to pay extra with the way the sub works. I had a few hours of reasonable fun but that’s it – the game needs more variety.

        If it had been a more fleshed out paid release, the game would have probably had a lot more to it from the start. It all feels rather flimsy to me.

        • Kitsunin says:

          I think you’re the one who misunderstands. If you don’t like the game, okay. However you didn’t tinker with the “Free version” you tinkered with the game as a whole. Paying for a subscription doesn’t give you access to more content, (There are the Treasure Hunts but they’re a relatively unimportant aspect) it just gives you an extra random drop after each battle.

          • Advanced Assault Hippo says:

            Well, then the ‘game as a whole’ isn’t anywhere near substantial enough anyway. So the whole thing almost becomes academic.

          • Kitsunin says:

            Like I said “If you don’t like the game, okay.” You could probably say it in a more constructive way, though…

            Well, I’ll just say I personally can’t agree with anything you’ve said.

  21. Moth Bones says:

    I approve Adam’s review. Although (as mentioned by posters above) I did run into a bit of a wall around level 9/10, I had already had 15-20 hours of glorious, simple yet compelling fun with a really stylish game. Now it’s out of beta I intend to resume, and probably buy the treasure hunts. What you get for free is immense; it is a game with a generous spirit and I recommend it.

  22. Stargazer86 says:

    If you had trouble around level 10, just wait until you stumble across the monkeys later on. I don’t think I’ll ever look at a damnable video game primate in the same way ever again. I hit finished the whole of the campaign during beta and found it to be quite an enjoyable game, if difficult at times. Sometimes winning an adventure just came down to the luck of the draw but that’s just par for the course when it comes to card games. Getting screwed over because you didn’t draw enough attack cards is just like getting mana flooded in Magic the Gathering. Variance and chance is just a part of the system. And just the fact that you never need to spend a single cent to enjoy it is reason enough to at least give it a try.

  23. Zogtee says:

    I think I like the old-school D&D art style more than the actual game. I played it in beta and it was reasonably fun for a while, but ultimately frustrating and boring. If this was a proper game (ie not browser-based and F2P), I’d probably give it another go.

  24. Balanuir says:

    I’ve been playing it for a while and it’s absolutely brilliant. Definitely one of the best games around right now. If they brought this out as a native OS X game, I would pay for it.

  25. bramble says:

    No mention of the multiplayer? It really has a lot of potential, especially as a bit of a release valve after failing repeatedly on certain frustrating missions. Unfortunately the lack of enforced time limit makes it a really painful experience. They should take a page from the Duels of the Planeswalker games, which have as much if not more tactical depth, and encourage quick decision making and play.

    Waiting a minute for a guy to finally decide to move his dwarf 2 squares to the left is life-draining.

  26. Hatonastick says:

    Card Hunter is a rather unique game in many ways. It has a bunch of very neat ideas and it’s presented in a very slick package. I rather like it a lot, however I also consider it to be fundamentally flawed at its core (and I’m not talking about F2P vs P2P) because for a strategy game as it has one too many levels of luck. Dice for combat is generally accepted in the circles of people who would typically play this sort of game, but because of the way the cards are handled there’s another level of luck going on which really damages the tactical side of things. Put simply it doesn’t matter how good you are at choosing your deck, you are still at the mercy of the luck of the draw as you have zero control over which types of cards are drawn. This means it is entirely possible to have a round where you draw _no_ combat related cards at all and suddenly find yourself at the mercy of your opponent. I lost two battles tonight due to this and on both occasions when I replayed each scenario I kicked my AI opponents behind majorly without changing anything in my teams layout — and the only thing that was different in both replays was I didn’t have to sit through a turn not being able to do anything.

    The worst thing is it would have been incredibly easy to avoid this situation by changing the game rules a little. Just off the top of my head:

    a) Adding in a simple action point system where playing a card uses a point, as does discarding a card and drawing another one. Points available depend on level and cards available (or similar). Basically anything that would allow a discard system during a turn but without making it cost or risk free. There has to be a cost or risk involved of some sort otherwise players could just keep discarding until they get what they want.

    b) Breaking the card pools into groups of cards eg. movement, battle, miscellaneous (skill etc.). Depending on number of items or level (or just making it an arbitrary number of cards drawn from each pile) when it’s your turn you take a certain number of each for each character. eg. 1 movement card, two combat, two miscellaneous.

    I’m sure there are other options, assuming I’m not the only one who finds this layer of luck incredibly annoying, but this is just off the top of my head. If I could house rule this like you can board games, I would do so. :)

    Still, I’m not a hater. I really think it has a lot of potential and I’m hoping they will continue to expand it.

    • mondomau says:

      Have to absolutely agree here, I love the game and bought the starter pack – got a few levels in (currently on the Ruby Demon one) and my initial unbridled joy has been thoroughly bridled. The game looks amazing, the gameplay can be really fun and it provides many seat of the pants moments that are hugely satisfying.
      But.
      Once you pass a certain character level threshold (generally around 5-7 from what I’ve read, though I’ve seen reports of it happening as high as 9-10), Luck starts to take a much more heavy role in your play style and, contrary to a lot of the advice I have read on the forums, stacking your deck with the ‘right’ type of cards is a)quite difficult if you haven’t been fortunate in your loot drops and b.) not a huge amount of help if you have shitty draws.

      Added to this, certain enemies have particular attack patterns (designed to ‘test’ your strategic abilities, but actually just a way to force you to change your loadout) that automatically grant them specific move + high damage cards every turn without fail. When your hand is consistently filled with useless block and irrelevant buff cards or short ranged attacks and not enough move, this can be really frustrating and sucks a lot of the fun out of the battles.

      Apparently, it evens out later and I think that the earlier battles show the random draw mechanic can work, the devs just need to fine tune it a little to prevent these sudden and needlessly aggravating barriers to your progression.

  27. immaxx says:

    it’s not that different than any other rpg… it’s rock paper scissors on damage types. so even if your best cards are bludgeoning on your warrior say, you have to have a secondary set of slashing cards for when you’re on a level with oozes. same goes for acid and electricity or fire for a mage. i’ve always found that you really only need 2 sets, it’s rare to find monsters that are immune or resistant to 2 out of the 3 types.

    as for the gender comments… as a geek it’s one thing to have girls in your game, but it’s a whole other thing to have ATTRACTIVE girls show up with a pizza. and whether your gaming nights were unisex when you were younger or not, we all know how every adolescent gets around people they’re attracted to.and that’s multiplied by 1000 if you’re talking about a socially awkward geek, which is a broad portion of the audience.

  28. Kefren says:

    Fun game, but I would rather have just bought it on GOG as a single-player or LAN game. Also so it is offline. A few times I have had an Internet downtime of 30 seconds, enough to fail the mission as if I was cheating.

  29. Beaucine says:

    Not usually the kind of game I look for, but it looks surprisingly interesting.

  30. RanDomino says:

    I was immediately turned off by the nonsensical turn-order system. One of my guys goes, all of the enemies go, the same guy goes again, all of the enemies go again… So your fighter stands there for three rounds while the wizard casts a bunch of spells, then the wizard stands around while the fighter hits things? What’s wrong with initiative order? I might be doing something wrong but if so then the UI is disagreeing with me.

    • Thants says:

      You’ve got it confused. It’s “You go, the dungeon master goes, repeat.” You can each pick any card from any character you want to play on your turn. It’s not done on the basis of individual characters.

      • Kefren says:

        I think you are both right. RanDomino is probably referring to the way the DM has groups of monsters sometimes, and playing one move card lets him move all the monsters in that group before you get another go. It isn’t explained at all in the game.

  31. Honest_Canuck says:

    Honestly just loving this game!

    Having issues with making more gold, does anyone have any tips to make some gold? Right now most items I get from loot just get me 1-5 gold.

    Any help would be great!