It has been an interesting weekend of gaming so far but not in the way it usually is for me. Most of my play goes into mmo’s and then various other shooters I am interested in the time…occasionally a strategy based game. This weekend I was lined up and ready for the Turn based, DnD themed Card hunter and I am still enjoying it immensely. The Launch has gone really smoothly so far, a couple of maintenance times when the server went down and a modicum of lag… I call that just about a perfect launch when you’re talking about online games. (Although it’s down now, hence me writing this)
I’m still finding the game rather challenging too even though I’ve been through these same modules before, you try to use the same overall gearing strategy but there is a lot of strategy in the general gameplay about where to move and what to attack that I still haven’t gotten quite down yet. There is a large component of luck to the game as well with getting the right drops to upgrade your characters, the dice rolls that happen, and drawing the right cards that you need that keeps each of the fights feeling fresh.
It’s nerve wracking at times too with losing health and characters and trying to finish of the last of the enemies, even though you get 3 chances at the fight and that would usually be enough there is still that element of tension as you never really know how the fight will end and be damned if you’ll let some Lizardmen dance on your corpse.
The amazing part to all of this is that Card Hunter is entirely run through the browser and it runs really well with some nice artwork and decent depth to it. However I’m not so sure about the micro-transaction system, you could spend vast sums of money on the game and it even has a subscription yet, at most this is like a $20-$30 title which makes the starter pack a pretty apt price but that doesn’t include it all.. far from it. Everything just seems rather overpriced considering what it gives and for the relative indie quality of the game.. it’s extremely polished but it’s no AAA game in turn of graphics and expansiveness.
It does what it does very well though and is well worth playing as it is a very unique and polished experience offering some challenging gameplay with a brilliantly designed nerdy Dungeons and Dragons Package wrapping it all up. It offers an overdose of nostalgia at times as well as a certain self referencing humour of nerd culture that could have come of as insulting but that is actually rather endearing.
I have also outdone myself in nerdiness now. I don’t know what it was but playing Card Hunter instilled a need in me to get some board games to play, proper board games rather than the mainstream games at the local Target. I had a few younger family members over this weekend and we went for a drive to Games World and picked up Talisman and Settlers of Catan. If it was up to me I would have gone for a game like Relic over Talisman, they are based on the same sort of rule set but Relic has a 40k theme.. and it looks pretty… The DnD themed Talisman was picked though (ungggh).
I have to admit though it is a very pretty game. It is a board game around adventurers travelling the land with the aim of one day controlling a great relic. There are 3 rings or regions to the board that increase in danger and challenge as you go. You draw cards on your adventure such as events, items, monsters, and followers that slowly increase in power enough that you feel comfortable in progressing further.
It took us a long time to get going with the game as there are a lot of little components to set up and figure out at the start and as you play but once you get going the game does seem to flow quite well. It takes a long time to play with the regular rules, I think the second game that we finished took around 3 hours but its a time that is all rather enjoyable. it takes a little while to get going at the start while you are gaining strength and filling out the game board with events and such but after several turns the pace becomes more reasonable and you’re able to make more important actions. You’re watching and interacting with other players, figuring out your own strategy to victory, and even conspiring together for the win.
We are a friendly bunch so most of the early game was more about a sort of cooperation in the world based on a mutual understanding of growth, attacking people would hurt you both but as it gets further the need and want to attack each other slowly grows. It becomes a competition and a deadly/ conniving one at that but that is a lot of fun.
The first game involved me rolling a sorceress and becoming completely overpowered enough that no one else stood a chance, my board gamey background must have helped a bit with my choices and strategy but to be honest it was a little boring. The second game was amazingly awesome as everyone was very close together in power and growing at seemingly the same rate. I was the Bard, another was the druid, and the last the assassin and they all seemed to have their strengths enough to stand their own in the adventure and against each other. Everyone was both being offensive and defensive, not wanting to confront others except on their own turn but actively flinging spells around to hinder each other. It came right down to the last fight in the middle of the board, I attacked and won the roll… it looked like they were defeated and would be placed back on the outer region but the other play save them with a spell. The next turn and attack they won, knocked me back, won the game and I squealed in rage as well as slapping the offending spell caster.
It’s a great game for a small group like we had, it plays at a decent pace but it would be absolute choas with a larger group as I can imagine a lot of tenuous truces and backstabbing going on throughout play.
Settlers of Catan seems to be completely different to Talisman; it has a slow methodical relaxed pace and is easier to understand for the board game beginners like myself. It is game that is equal parts luck and strategy but competitive as well. There is a certain amount of rules to it but the main goal involves you building out your settlement enough to take advantage of resources spread throughout the land. You expand, upgrade and compete over land with others that starts slow and progresses from there. It is an easy game to play overall and while starting out with these sort of board games but I think would get a bit boring after awhile… that’s definitely not yet but I can see myself upgrading to more complex board games.
Funnily I actually had more fun playing these little games instead of their online counterparts over the weekend; I’m pretty social while playing my mmo’s usually but it was more personal playing something physically in front of you and a lot of fun having such a widely different experience.