Card Hunter Releases September 12th, Brings Joy

There’s something entirely infectious about the whimsy with which Card Hunter presents itself. There’s absolutely no attempt to be cool, it’s an unapologetically, ridiculously geeky game designed to play off the decades of history surrounding the hobby. Alec echoed as much in his preview back in June and now we can excitedly reveal that you can all get your mitts on it on September 12th via any web browser you care to mention. While the inevitability of my own endless fascination presses heavy, you may require further convincing. Read on.

The developer pedigree on show is immense – the parts of Blue Manchu Games not composed of ex-Irrational and Looking Glass, which is most of them, are Magic: The Gathering heavyweights such as Richard Garfield. What that man has forgotten about designing games would likely fill my head to bursting, nevermind the multiple brilliant games he’s helped put together.  And hay, it’ll be free to play and supported via purchases of additional characters and adventures, as well as a subscription system that buffs rewards, so you don’t really have an excuse not to try. If it grabs your fancy but you’re not one for this business model, there’s also a ‘Basic Edition’ on offer for $25 which provides a number of extras including all available single-player content.

Want it now? The beta is still available to sign up for over on the official website.


  1. stoner says:

    12 September? Sorry. I’ll be too busy playing ArmA 3 (also released that date).

    Total War: Rome 2 comes out 3 September. How far into the campaign will I be? Not far enough.

    • RedViv says:

      Well enough, one probably can’t play two games this similar to each other at the same time.

  2. pakoito says:

    Good game with some flaws killed by terrible monetization :(

    • Okami says:

      Umm… Wut?

      In which way is Card Hunter’s monetization model terrible? I usually detest f2p titles, but Card Hunter offers a huge amount of well crafted and polished content for free and never forces you to pay for money to win any of it’s challenges.

      You can pay to get more item drops, but not better ones. Of course you can buy in game gold and spend that in item shops, but you don’t need to in order to complete any of the campaigns.

      Have you actually played the game?

      • pakoito says:

        Since early beta days. The game is another grindwall/paywall, maybe lighter and with a better gameplay core, but advancing levels is a chore, low level fights a nuisance due to randomized itemization and hard currency buys you time instead of the other way around. It wasn’t better before the introduction of pizza either, but at least it just felt grindy but fair.

        • Vesuvius says:

          Admittedly I’ve only been playing for about a month now, but I’ve never felt there was a pay wall- I’ve come across my fair share of epic and legendary items, my homemade group advanced pretty quick (they just got to level 18) and you get a fully leveled up group for free by Gary anyways. The next set of adventurers I’ll be working with should go much quicker since I have so many more items to work with at all levels.

          Plus, quite frankly, playing has been fun for me and has never felt like a chore- and I’m speaking both for myself and my two friends who started playing at the same time. It’s actually one of the few games I’d be happy to pay into, precisely because I don’t feel I NEED to- the only money I’d want to sink would be to play the bonus adventures just because I’ve enjoyed the single player challenges, or to customize my multiplayer group, but as I mentioned- I haven’t done either yet and don’t feel like I’m at some disadvantage because I haven’t.

          In short: different strokes for different folks, I feel like I’m getting a lot out of it, especially for the grand price of $0.

        • glass says:

          Have you played it recently? Or have you not played since early beta?

          I haven’t found low-level fights to be a nuisance at all, and the levelling is not “grindy” by any definition I have ever seen used. You can level up simply by advancing in the campaign. There are some places you may want to go back through to get more loot and levels before doing a tougher fight, but if you consider that “grindy” you’re beyond help.

          And even if you do have some bizarre definition of “grind”, it’s not a “paywall” since spending money will not let you advance levels.

        • Steelphoenix says:

          I completly disagree with you, kind sir.
          I have been playing this game alot, finished every solo campaign mission at least once (admitely if you exept the paying ones), did nearly all the challenges, and have been sitting in the top 25 multiplayer ranking for months, and all that without paying a single cent.
          That’s about as far from a ‘paywall’ I can think of. Maybe this game just isn’t for you.

        • aepervius says:

          Exactely what pakoito said. I am not sure what level I am anymore maybe 9 or 10, but it is an incredible grind with unfair battle.

          The AI already got 2+ armor protection on a 3+ dice, which protect against anything my magician can cast (electricity acid and fire). And enormous HP. Oh , and I get put at random position among the map. And they hit *very* regularly on 7+ damage.

          The problem of this game I already mentioned I think in a previous RPS thread. It open items slot , making you think “great I open possibility”, but the reality is that it forces you to have more card, diluting the chance for you to get the card you want. Even if you do not put an item in the open slot you get random card. And the armor I got thru randomization is crappy, with a very low chance to be gotten due to the sheer amount of cards.

          The idea was good, the execution has some flaw. I lost the will to play in the campaign at all. At least they should stop forcing you to have random crappy card in item open slots, so that you can artificially limit yourself as a strategy to have less card.

          On the other hand the humour played well with me.

          • glass says:

            Pro tip: use cards that destroy armour, or bypass armour.

          • pakoito says:

            If you happened to receive an item or have a build that allows it. If not, back to the grind mines (only allowed once every 24h).

          • Vesuvius says:

            You get free money at the start of the game, you get a whole free party fully equipped with loot you can bring back to single player by level 6ish, and you get 8-10 loot items for free with every quest you complete- you’re not exactly starved for money. Penetrating weapons, piercing bolts, acid (to burn off armor), some enemies have to be facing you for armor to work- so flanking works, or use the card that EVERY starting cleric gets that forces them to discard their oldest card, and get rid of their armor that way.

            Those are just the simplest methods.

            Play the tutorial and read, and don’t jump into multiplayer until Gary tells you to, and you’ll be fine. It’s not hard. I’m not a great strategist, I’m rather impatient, and I’m only 3 weeks into the game- having spent nothing and yet I’ve maxed out my first party and earned about 800 gold. It’s very doable.

      • d32 says:

        It does not force you to anything, but sure teases a LOT.

    • Awesumo says:

      I played for 8-10 hours. The only monetization I saw was the extra levels, which you could do instead of waiting for the 24hour reset timer on the plentiful number of free levels.

  3. Skeletor68 says:

    I love the flexibility of the payment structure. Basic edition with all single player content and some extras for $25 please! I can then safely treat what I have bought as a ‘complete’ pack.

    Edit: Well the above is what I hope. Haven’t played it yet but looks great

    • Vesuvius says:

      Yeah, I’d buy that. Single player plus a couple extra costume choices? Yes please.

    • AlexV says:

      Yep, tempted by that offer too. Devil’s in the details, though – would it still be trying to monetize me after having paid the $25? Presumably there would be nothing further to ‘unlock’, but would it still be popping up exciting new opportunities to pay them even more money to advance quicker, skip grind, replenish consumables, buy special items, see what’s inside mystery boxes, etc?

      It isn’t so much the means of payment that makes me avoid f2p, as the effect monetisation has on the game design and experience.

      • Premium User Badge

        Aerothorn says:

        There are no mystery boxes or consumables to replenish, there is no “extra turns” to buy, etc. It avoids all the pitfalls with a singular exception – after you complete an adventurer, you’re shown the loot you would have gotten if you subscribed. It’s not actually a design issue (it doesn’t change the game or decisions you would make within it) but it’s an obvious ploy to get you to subscribe. Admittedly, the subscription price is quite reasonable for my money.

        • AlexV says:

          That sounds generally encouraging, thanks for the reply!

          • Moth Bones says:

            I found that I had no desire whatsoever for the extra loot perks you can pay for – there is more than enough loot anyway. You can buy some extra dungeons, but I don’t find this unreasonable, especially considering that there is a lot of free content. If you have any interest in the genre it’s definitely worth giving a go.

      • gerryq says:

        [Note: I have played the beta to almost the max level – I was about L14 before I failed to complete a campaign by losing three missions, and this was with playing each campaign just once and buying hardly any loot in the shops even from dropped gold. I did buy the treasure hunt levels. Only around L16 did I start to lose some campaigns. So, it is quite playable without paying.]

        I’m sure they will try to get more money from you (and if you want to join the Adventurer’s club to get extra items from drops, it costs a monthly sub). But you don’t need to pay anything. If you’re good at the game, random drops will be just fine. You’ll likely want to pay for the extra dungeons as that increases content, but that’s a one off cost.

        The $25 introductory offer is more than you need to spend, but it isn’t bad if you want some extra loot. You get the 11 ‘treasure hunt’ (paid) dungeons which offer a one-time reward of an epic item. And if you are in the Adventurer’s Club (i.e. if you do the dungeon in the first month) that should mean another 11 epic items as well. The choice is yours. Epic items aren’t game-changers in Card Hunter.

        F2P does bring some issues. If the campaign (which is mostly what interests me) were a single-player game that you paid for once, you could set it to easy level if you were finding it tough. If you’re not good at this style of game, there could end up being some truth in the cliché of F2P games meaning ‘pay or grind’.

        So if you like a tough challenging game, don’t worry about the F2P issue. You can get the most out of it even if you pay little or nothing. If not… well, see how you like it first.

    • Awesumo says:

      Yeah, every free to play game should have a ‘Make me feel like I bought it’ option… They usually get me to hand over my cash that way.. worked for Smite, and I prob. wouldn’t of payed for that otherwise.

  4. Haplo says:

    I see the coffee boys are down to a skeleton crew again.

  5. aliksy says:

    I had fun with it, but progress felt slow and I didn’t have many cool cards.

    • Thrippy says:

      Go through the single player campaign again and/or add a new character to your party to level them up alongside your existing higher level characters. The single player levels can be generous with legendary and epic drops. I’d say this was purposeful as an incentive to not ignore the campaign. Players who jump right into multiplayer are always wondering where the good cards come from.

  6. ecbremner says:

    Are they doing a reset from beta?

  7. FriendlyPsicopath says:

    Wonderfull little game, full of tactical depth regarding positioning and skills, i recommend to all that ever played a card game or a tabletop rpg. There’s no paywall or it is p2w also!

  8. strangeloup says:

    I do fancy having a go of this. I got in on the beta, in theory, but something screwed up on their end and I wasn’t able to actually play. Figured that it’d be out soon enough, and they’d probably reset things after the beta anyway, so I didn’t bother to chase it up.

  9. limbeckd says:

    I’ve had some fun playing the beta, even paid money to unlock the extra levels. Keep in mind that any people above who are talking about it taking a long time to level are talking about single player only, you get fully-leveled multiplayer characters for free.

    The one (rather large) part of the game I’m not in love with is movement. Kiting enemies and chasing down enemies kiting me are both really boring. I expect card games to be fast paced, but kiting destroys any sort of pacing.

  10. wahoffelmadenga says:

    You can take you’re AAA development and eye-watering graphics, Cardhunter is shaping up to be my favourite game of the year. It’s just so much fun and although you could sink a load of cash into it there’s no need.