Dungeons and Dragons is probably one of the oldest and most unique role-playing games ever to be created. Players literally take on the role of their characters and come together to go on an epic adventure which can be as fun as the players’ imagination wants it to be. While Card Hunter is not quite as engaging and free form as Dungeons and Dragons, it is still an excellent recreation for the digital age. Developed by Blue Manchu Games, Card Hunter is a browser-based game which uses digital cards and a board to simulate the role-playing experience. However, Card Hunter is not just a fantasy adventure. It also has a modern day meta story which involves two brothers, one of which is your Dungeon Master, Gary. Players will go through a tutorial of sort with a fully equipped party only to have Gary’s older brother Melvin, take back his cards forcing you to play the game with a basic character.
With a name like Card Hunter, it is pretty obvious you will be seeing cards in this game. Each piece of equipment you equip on your characters grants you cards. These cards encompass everything your character will need in order to win; from clubbing your foes to moving around them. Your “deck” is thus created from your equipment and better gear will naturally give you better cards. Combat in Card Hunter is divided into rounds. Each round will start by randomly drawing cards and you and the Dungeon Master will take turns to play your cards. Once you have exhausted all your cards (or decide that you don’t wish to play anymore cards) the round will end and new cards will be drawn. Because of this element of RNG, you may sometimes end up with awful cards. Thankfully though, players have a party of three (which are all fully customizable) so you do have some breathing room should you draw a bad hand for a single character. While the combat may sound easy, simply unloading all your attacks all at once will only serve to get you killed. Players will need to strategize how best to take on their enemies. For instance, you might want to begin your attack with weaker attack cards to waste an enemy’s defensive cards. Or bide your time and buff your characters to unleash even more devastating attacks. Combat is thus fairly in depth and requires a fair bit of strategy.
Throughout your adventure, players will venture to all sorts of different terrain with each map having its own unique characteristics. You may venture into a cave with impassable walls or a tunnel with caustic floors. While the wealth of information available to you may sound daunting, players are able to easily keep track of everything by simply right clicking to inspect anything. The user interface of the entire game contains all the information players will ever need at the click of a button and is easily one of the best features of the game. In between your various adventures, you can visit shops, towns and embark on new missions. Inventory management is painless and easy. It only requires you to click and drag over your characters’ equipment slot. There is also a competitive multiplayer lobby for players to test their skills against each other or simply observe a match that is ongoing. While there is a lack of a co-operative multiplayer mode, Blue Manchu is looking into it and may be released in the future. Card Hunter being the browser based game that it is, is free to play. As such, there are some micro-transaction elements in it. Your hard earned money will be exchanged for “pizza” which can be used in-game to purchase things like costumes and treasure chests which gives you gear. Or you can simply convert the pizza into gold (gold can be earned in-game). There is even a subscription model, which for under $10 a month (it is even cheaper if you subscribe to a longer period of time), will provide you with a better chance of obtaining better gear. For someone like me who has never played a game of D&D, it has actually given me a taste of it and I am more intrigued about it more than ever. While I’ve resigned to the fate that I may never get to sit down with a bunch of friends and go on an epic adventure in D&D, I can at least still experience it in Card Hunter. It is a wonderful experience that is filled with adventure and excitement. And to top if all off, the ramblings of Gary and Melvin are hilarious. Card Hunter is an absolute RPG gem with hours of fun to be had. It is an excellent, albeit abridged recreation of the classic tabletop, Dungeons and Dragons. Card Hunter can be found via this link here.