Card Hunter on Steam, New Expansion

ch expansion sci fi Card Hunter is now on Steam, free to play with cash shop (same as in browser). The new sci fi-themed Expedition to the Sky Citadel expansion is also live, free unlock once you’ve completed the main campaign, with free loot daily for launch week.

The Steam client seems less responsive than the in-browser client. [ETA: I was wrong. The game is now running more slowly in the in-browser client as well. It is a problem with the game, not Steam.]

: Zubon

Too Good Not to Farm

While I have been avoiding grinding or farming in Card Hunter, I am currently at the right level range for Lord Batford’s Manor, which is like an instant selling point for the “buy the treasure hunts” pack that is letting me catch up on my gear without trying. Being a subscriber gets you an extra piece of loot per fight. This adventure has 6 fights, half of which have only two enemies that you need to defeat.

I don’t even need to farm this thing very much. Heck, visiting once per day like a daily quest isn’t even farming, just normal play. And 2 or 3 days gets me all the loot I’m likely to need for this level range.

Gotta catch ’em all? They provided a treasure hunt to fill out your menu of loot. I’m torn between thinking this was a horrible idea in terms of risk vs. reward and thinking this is a great idea in terms of getting to the endgame without really needing to farm.

: Zubon

Card Hunter: Puzzles?

I have reached the mid levels of Card Hunter, where “more brute force” is no longer always the right answer. Maybe. I am not grinding, so I am far from “best in slot,” so I am likely having some trouble because my characters are twice the level of some of my equipment.

I am undecided on how I feel about the fights that call for changing your build. They are usually because of setups like fighting opponents with multiple times your hit points, fighting enemies who are immune to a damage type, or being on a map with victory point tiles, where the enemy gets them unless you are built for that race (say, you are outnumbered and on movement-impeding terrain while your opponent can just walk a few steps forward).

On the one hand, thinking, woohoo! On the other, this is only a challenge because you do not know what you will need to build before you go into the fight. Once you see the opponents and learn what sorts of cards they have, you can counter. It is like in adventure games where you open a door, a trap kills you, and you learn to open the other door. This fight has skeletons, so equip blunt weapons; this fight has zombies, so are these the ones that are immune to elemental attacks or is that the other group of very similar zombies?

If your characters could switch weapons mid-fight, that would be one thing. You cannot. The adventures now usually have four fights, so you do not have the option of going in, losing to see what cards the opponent has, then choosing equipment now that you have adequate information. That is an exaggeration, because you get a few losses before they kick you out and you can probably beat half-ish the fights with your default deck. But then you can also lose any fight due to bad luck, and it may take several fights before you see enough of their cards to know what new and one-off opponents do. It is starting to feel like Guild Wars 1, where the appropriate answer is to check the wiki before going in and potentially to change your build before every map. You do not need to look up a build, because thinking, but in-game does not provide enough information in advance to plan without intentionally wiping on some fights to see what the mechanics of the fight are.

I am enjoying it less because my options seem to be “waste time” or “read spoilers.” Most of the fights can reasonably be done with any reasonable build. a fair number require something special, and you don’t really know that in advance, and you also don’t know until you try it a couple of times whether you have the wrong build, wrong tactics, mistakes in execution, or bad luck. Or if you are just supposed to grind for a while, which is never a good answer either, even though it is the right answer in almost any game with RPG elements.

: Zubon

Card Hunter

I have started playing Card Hunter. I was enthusiastic about it before release, mentally moved on, and am now getting back to it. I have enjoyed it, although its luster seems to fade quickly.

Card Hunter feels great, a mix of retro aesthetic with modern functionality. Personally, I am way past tired of the retro trend of faux 8-bit graphics; this reaches back even further to the classic Dungeons & Dragons modules. That nostalgia appeals to me. It recreates a bit of the tabletop experience, with dice and miniatures.
Continue reading Card Hunter

Idle Games

While in a gaming funk this year, I tried a variety of idle games. They can be mechanically interesting, and they scratch that MMO Achiever itch and help you overcome it by taking it to its logical extreme.

“RPG” has come to mean “character advancement” and that familiar treadmill of leveling up by playing a poor combat mini-game to do the same thing with higher numbers and a more garish color scheme. MMOs have done a great job of pushing this to narrative irrelevancy through static theme park worlds that you cannot change because all the other paying customers need to be able to ride the same ride, and you can also pay to ride that same ride repeatedly. Fight goblins, then fight blue goblins, then fight orcs, then fight blue orcs, then fight gob-orcs, then raid gob-orcs until the expansion gives you a gear reset so you can start over. Along the way, optimize any remaining fun out of the equation in your quest for the most efficient path from number to number.

ProgressQuest is the trope-maker, a perfectly fire-and-forget single-player MMORPG. Create your character, and the game takes care of the rest as it slays monsters, loots their bodies, completes quests, etc. True idle games do their job too well: you get the point very quickly, and because there is nothing to do, you wander off. You might leave one running for a while just to watch it go, but it is too shallow to impact you meaningfully. Later idle games added gameplay, mostly something vaguely like economic gameplay in the sense that you accummulate money, use it to buy upgrades, and then earn money more quickly (and repeat). That can also be engrossing while providing the illusion of accomplishment and a perfect Skinner box of “push the button to get imaginary money/cookies.”

At some point, it sours. The part of your brain that knows that you are doing something compelling but not fun wins. You perhaps have a sense of letdown or betrayal. And then you cannot help but recognize how much “click the button to kill the goblin to level up the button to kill the blue goblin…” looks like “click 1 to shoot a fireball to kill the goblin to level up to cast Fireball 2 to kill the blue goblin to finish the quest…”

: Zubon

Mamono Sweeper

Flash bagatelle of the day: Minesweeper with mines worth variable “points” and a dungeon-crawl theme. The instructions are kind of Engrish so:

  1. Start with Minesweeper rules.
  2. The blue monsters (level 1) are normal Minesweeper mines. Higher level monsters count as multiple mines on the same square.
  3. You level up by stepping on mines/monsters. Keep it to your level or lower to avoid damage.
  4. Level up to 2 and start stepping on bigger monsters. Repeat to 5.
  5. Hit level 5 and step on every square to win.

: Zubon

Bonus rule: click on a monster you’ve revealed to see what number is “under” it (what the number in that space would be were it not a monster).