Magic: The Dungeons And Dragoning – Card Hunter

Dragon plays 'Is A Goddamn Dragon, Why Are You Fighting It With Trading Cards?'

Card Hunter‘s got quite a lot going for it. For one, it heralds from a studio headed up by former Irrational co-founder Jon Chey. Also, that studio’s name is Blue Manchu. Everything else is secondary – even the card-battling RPG’s fusion of Magic: The Gathering-esque deck building, grid-based tactical battling, obsessive Diablo-style loot collection, and an honest-to-goodness dungeon master. Those things are, however, still pretty great, so watching them in motion is a thing I would advise. And you can do just that right after the break.

Not exactly what you’d expect from a guy who had a big hand in making BioShock and System Shock 2, huh? But it looks quite nice nonetheless, and it’s come a long, long way since Alec spoke with Chey about his turn-based TCGRPGDNDR2D2 a year ago. I actually got the chance to briefly play it and interview Chey myself recently, so look for that soon. In the meantime, though, I’ll just say this: TCGs generally take some getting used-to, but Card Hunter really surprised me by making the whole process feel a lot more natural. Instead of fussing over individual cards, you build decks using loot. So a magical sword, for instance, might add five or so thematically-appropriate cards to your deck. That kind of thing. And while dice rolls decide your fate in the background, battles are nicely animated and easily understandable.

I’m pretty excited about it, honestly. I’m digging the focus on demystifying rule sets that’d normally be pretty obtuse, and there still seems to be a fair bit of room for tactical complexity. As a recovered childhood TCG fiend, however, this is could turn out to be a very slippery slope. Maybe I should first find a healthier, less costly hobby to keep me from getting too obsessed. Like heroin, for example.


  1. NathanH says:

    This looks good. And sneaking a shout out to Thief into your trailer is always a good idea.

  2. TillEulenspiegel says:

    Interesting concept, and the art style is extremely well done. Not so much the battlefield figures, but the terrain and the interface are gorgeous.

    It says free to play and they won’t sell booster packs, so what’s the business model?

    • atticus says:

      From the official FAQ:

      What will I have to pay?

      The game will be free to play. There will be an in-game store where you will be able to buy items and other things that enhance your game experience. More details will be announced as we progress / figure it out.

      Aren’t free to play games just designed to make you have to pay to win?

      Some free to play games are designed that way, but our model is that we want to provide you a great free experience with the option of purchasing stuff if you like the game and want to enhance your experience. We are striving hard to make sure the game isn’t “pay to win”.

  3. AmateurScience says:

    I absolutely love the look of this game, and love turn-based tactics, but damn, I could barely follow what was going on there.

    I hope there’s a setting that lets you slow down the pace that cards go whizzing about.

    Also usual, personal caveat emptor about this being F2P and thus having the potential to be a cash gougefest.

  4. Sheng-ji says:

    Really interested in this, it looks great and from what I can see, the actual mechanics look like they’ve got loads of potential.

  5. vonkrieger says:

    Only found out about this now. Usually hate TCG style games (pox nora et al.) as they are thinly veiled money vortexes but this looks like it might have an appeal too strong to resist.

  6. Randomer says:

    Played it at PAX and it was amazing. Extremely well polished.

    I’m also curious about their business strategy. I’m not sure why it will be free to play. Give me a good campaign (or several shorter campaigns, ala Wesnoth), some challenge scenarios, and some sort of multiplayer environment and I’d gladly fork over $10-20.

    • Phinor says:

      This game looks intere… free-to-play? Nevermind then.

      Maybe I change my mind about free-to-play games some day but today isn’t likely to be that day.

  7. Sp4rkR4t says:

    “this is could turn out to be a very slippery slope. ” – this hurt my brain.

    Looks good though and definitely something I could get into.

  8. Ninja Foodstuff says:

    I’ve been following their blog for about a year now, it’s interesting to read about how they’ve conceived and discarded various mechanics and art styles.

    Looking forward to this a lot, even though it’s Flash-based and F2P.

  9. MythArcana says:

    I was checking this out this week and I stopped at the “collectible card game online” part. I’m smelling a cash sink in here somewhere…at least I think that’s a cash sink. 0_o

  10. blackfire83 says:

    I want to give these people my money. Pretty please.

  11. Jubaal says:

    I love the concept of this and the style is beautiful.

    Does anyone know if it is going to be playable co-op?

    Edit: Ignore that, I just found this on their website:

    “Will there by competitive multi-player? Co-op play? How much single-player content will there be?

    Card Hunter is designed primarily as a single-player game so there will be a large amount of single-player content. There will also be a competitive multi-player game. In time, we plan to add a co-operative mode and other group play modes as well.”