September 16, 2013 4:00 AM | Konstantinos Dimopoulos / Gnome
Take a pinch of Magic the Gathering, add a healthy dose of Dungeons and Dragons, sprinkle liberally with meta-plots and serve on a virtual tabletop, and, voilà, your Card Hunter is ready. And just out of beta and ready for everyone to enjoy too, which, trust me, everyone will do.
Card Hunter, you see, really is brilliant.
It is also a truly innovative board-game that somehow made it to our screens instead of into one of those hefty boxes and one that's trying to make the best of its digital, web-based condition. It is, for example, free to play and comes with a real world meta-plot that manages to tie in its (sensible and actually not irritating) micro-transactions with virtual pizza deliveries, quite a few chuckles and some great writing.
The game itself is played on a lovingly crafted and decidedly cartoony virtual tabletop, using characters that look as if made from cardboard and cards that feel papery enough to reinforce that feeling of physicality. But, lovely as they are, aesthetics never make or break a game and Card Hunter's strong point lies within its mechanics.
Combining a DnD-esque board with an interesting use of game cards, players take turns to play one card each. Said card can be a spell, an attack, a move or anything RPGy enough to make the cut. As players take turns to play only one card, meaning only one of their on-board characters can act, and as each character is assigned his or her specific cards that can only be replenished if a turn is passed, things get highly tactical indeed.
Add to this a RPG layer of dungeon exploring, some deck building, a lot of adventuring, quite a bit of character managing and the aforementioned meta-plots and you've got a great game that will hopefully keep evolving even further. Oh, and Card Hunter can be enjoyed as both a single- and a multi-player thing.