I’ve played Cardhunter and its Amazeballs

 A while back I did a preview of some very intriguing card games coming to digital devices. These weren’t just digital conversions of existing collectible card games but new properties that took advantage of the digital medium. A few weeks back I looked at Solforge and couldn’t help but be a little disappointed. Well over the last week I’ve been playing the Cardhunter beta and, quite frankly, it’s brilliant.

Cardhunter is a card based combat game that pays more than a little bit of an homage to classis Dungeons and Dragons. You tackle a group of typical adventurers on a series of fantastical quests using cards to move, attack and cast spells. What sets this apart is that everything is made to look like an early D&D game, right rom flat 2 dimensional maps, cardboard stand-up up miniatures and simple line art. The visual style really stands out as original, quirky and a lot of fun.

It's Dungeons & Dragons but not as we know it...

Visuals may be one thing but the game is where it’s at and thankfully Cardhunter plays really well. You play against either the computer or another player and each player will have a number of characters and handful of cards to play. The cards available depend on the characters, class, equipment and skills in your team. Each player takes it in turn to play a card or pass. If both players pass then cards get re-drawn and another round begins. The first player to pass gets an advantage in that they go first on the next round, but passing when your opponent has a hand full of offensive skills can be game ending. There is a campaign where your DM, Gary, takes control of the monsters in a series of quests. These quests all have classic names and even have a little booklet with a code number. It may be a small thing but I remember those classis TSR adventure codes and the little touches in this game certainly made me smile.

Multiplayer pits two teams of adventurers against each other.

Cardhunter is of course, free to play, and you can boost your items, loot drops and quests available by buying pizzas (the in game currency). At the moment there is plenty to do without buying pizzas and currently the items you can buy for real world money aren’t too offensive.  I can see myself doing the whole tip jar purchase if I continue to play. The Cardhunter Club is the area where you can see things getting a bit expensive; this is a subscription based service that guarantees an extra piece of loot with every adventure. The current cost strikes me as being a bit expensive but as with all these things you’re not forced into paying up.

Some spells also have negative effects.

What makes Cardhunter so great at this point is they’ve managed to tap into what makes both collectible card games and old school roleplaying games so fun. It’s a great blend of tactics, loot collecting and team management with a refreshing sense of humour and style thrown in. To put into context how much I’ve enjoyed playing this, earlier in the week I downloaded the latest Humble Bundle which includes, what many consider to be, some of the finest video games of recent times, and I haven’t played one because I’ve spent all my time playing Cardhunter. It’s great in short bursts and I do worry that a prolonged session may get a little boring.

Cardhunter is currently available for PC in closed beta. To sign up go to www.cardhunter.com.

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