Card Hunter Is Now On Steam, With Sci-Fi Expansion

Card Hunter [official site] is available on Steam right now. It will be one of the best games released on Steam this year just as it was one of the best games of 2013, when it launched as a browser-based free-to-play CCG/RPG hybrid. The development team includes former Irrational, Popcap, Looking Glass and Magic: The Gathering folks and the game is every bit as good as their combined back catalogue suggets it might be.

Go. Play it now.

Here’s my review from way back when. My thoughts haven’t changed a great deal. I haven’t played for a while and I’m looking forward to seeing how much I remember. The new expansion looks great, adding sci-fi equipment and settings. The whole game is in the form of a fictional tabletop RPG and the cross-genre pollination is exactly the kind of thing you often find in the supplements. It’s a lovely fit, right down to the electronic games master.

A quick note on monetisation. I usually run a mile when I see a ‘free-to-play’ game but the occasional pleasant surprise like Card Hunter helps to temper my instinctive flight response. You can play Card Hunter without spending a penny but if you do want to throw some money to the developers, there are cosmetic cut-outs to purchase as well as subscriptions that boost the loot you receive. I’ve spent a fair few quid on Card Hunter over the last couple of years but it’s still worked out cheaper than what I’d happily have paid for it, and I’ve never felt that the pace is unreasonably slow when I haven’t had a subscription for superior loot. You’re paying to improve your chances within the subscription period rather than shelling out a fixed sum for equipment that’s otherwise unavailable.

It’s a game that deserves a massive audience and hopefully Steam will help. If you already have an account, all of your progress and characters will work on the Steam version, which uses the same logins. I didn’t realise the expansion was out today and I have actually cancelled plans to go to the pub so I can play. I never do that.

19 Comments

  1. Xzi says:

    Still says coming soon on the Steam page in ye olde United States-e. I’m guessing it will unlock in an hour, because 11 AM in my time zone is when everything new unlocks on Steam. No reason to not give it a shot, I suppose, but I seriously doubt I’ll enjoy it enough to pull me away from my Darkest Dungeon/Chaos Reborn/Killing Floor 2/Path of Exile addictions.

  2. Freud says:

    It’s a great game and perfect for those that can’t play long sessions since most scenarios only take 10-20 minutes to play at most.

    It’s a very generous game in that it provides tonnes of content for free and you’re not forced to purchase anything to enjoy it. I enjoyed it so much that I indeed purchased because I felt the creators deserved it.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Aerothorn says:

    I foolishly predicted Card Hunter for RPS GOTY in 2013. It deserved it, damnit!

  4. Synesthesia says:

    nice!

  5. anHorse says:

    I liked what I played of Card Hunter but the meta DM and player stuff actually put me off a bit

    • Freud says:

      It’s just there the first time you play a scenario in the campaign version. After that any subsequent play is doesn’t have it.

  6. Kefren says:

    Weirdly, I just want to buy the game outright. Fixed price, get the full game. No online shenanigans, accounts or anything like that. GOG would be my first choice. I enjoyed the bit I played but I just like single player offline games, and this would have made a nice alternative to HOMM2 at the moment.

    • EhexT says:

      Yeah Card Hunter would have been an incredible stand alone, no nonsense, no microtransactions GAME instead of a monetization (no matter how gentle) scheme first and game second.

      • Kitsunin says:

        I don’t really get what you mean…monetization scheme first and game second? You’re referring to the loot system? But, progression is part of what makes a game, I get if you want a different kind of game, one with maybe an emphasis on gathering loot and leveling more quickly for compaigns with self-contained progression (yeah, that could be pretty sweet) or a more PVP focused game with much more strict item selections which are all equally competitive. There are good or even great alternatives, but Card Hunter’s monetization has incredibly scarce interaction with its gameplay.

        • EhexT says:

          It’s always online as a result of it’s monetization and the progression is throttled down (to sell progression speed-ups). It might be less severe than other games, but it’s still there and it has a profound impact on how it plays and requirements a singleplayer game should not have in it’s singleplayer mode.

          • abomb76 says:

            What progression speed-ups? I’ve played this game more than any other game in the last 2 years and there are no progression speed-ups available for purchase.

            You progress by leveling up and you level up by finishing adventures. There is absolutely no way you can pay money to make this happen faster.

            In fact the only things you can spend real-world money on are:
            a) Costumes (cosmetic only)
            b) Unlock extra adventures
            c) buy chests (waste of money as chests can be had for free by finishing adventures and winning pvp battles)
            d) club membership (gives you one extra item each time you open a chest)

            None of these are essential and don’t provide any advantage over people who didn’t pay for them. To me Cardhunter is the prime example of ‘free-to-play’ done right. It is not pay-to-win, there are no timers that make you pay to bypass, no gates, etc. It is a very fun tactics game and so much game for free that its generosity is what compels me to spend money on it – I want to pay and financially support the devs for providing me with hundreds of hours of fun for free.

  7. J. Cosmo Cohen says:

    Can it played offline? Can’t seem to find anything on the Steam page. I’m guessing not…

  8. vorador says:

    Well, in lack of a modern Hero Quest (as far as i know) i will take it.

    • vorador says:

      And Warpayment Quest can stay where it is. Far and away.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      It’s really not very much like Hero Quest. In particular, there’s no exploration or non-combat stuff. But it is a very good game.

  9. Freud says:

    About the monetization system. You buy pizza slices for money (the in game currency) and use that for all in-game purchases.

    The only thing you need to buy is unlocking the modules you don’t have and then just play. You’ll get enough items while playing to not worry about anything else.

    Every other option for pizza is really bad value for money. Converting it to gold and using the gold to buy items in the item shop is very expensive. The Club Membership (that give you one extra item per completed battle) is not good value for money. Buying chests for pizza is poor value for money.

    So just buy the modules you want, if you want to spend money. Then just play the game and you’ll be fine.

    If you want a bit of extra loot, there is a loot fairy that is active for one module each day. If you complete that module when the loot fairy is active, you get better stuff. Doing the loot fairy module every day is a good way to gear up. It’s tracked at: link to sorcererers.dotq.org

  10. kalzekdor says:

    Because for some reason it wasn’t in the article…. Here’s the Steam page.

    • kalzekdor says:

      Article was edited to include the steam link. Unfortunately I can’t edit my now unnecessary comment. :-/
      No matter, hopefully it’ll save anybody else having to spend 60 whole seconds looking it up. Enjoy your extra minute, people. Danke, RPS editors.

  11. Matfink says:

    Card dealing was too random for it to be great.