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.