Welcome to the very first Card Hunter development diary. These diaries will fill you in on what we’re doing and how we’re doing it. Over time, we’ll also explain how the game works.
In this first diary entry we’ll tackle the origins of the game. Why are we making Card Hunter and where are we going with it?
I’ve always loved card games and board games. I was first introduced to Magic when I was working at Looking Glass Studios, a development house in Boston which made incredible games like Ultima Underworld and the original System Shock. Working there was an great experience and opportunity to work with a bunch of really creative and clever game developers. I don’t remember which one of them introduced me to Magic – it might have been Dorian – but I was instantly hooked.
We played an office league where each week Rob Fermier (one of the three Irrational Games co-founders) opened a couple of new booster packs and distributed them out to everyone in the league depending on their standing. The constant influx of new cards and trading between people in the league was a great way to keep the game fresh. It was also a very low financial commitment.
Years later I dipped into Magic Online. I found it a bit hard to get into to. There was very little between the couple of tutorial battles and the jungle of competitive play. I didn’t know anyone else playing and didn’t have any cards. The saving grace was the leagues they ran which you could enter for the price of a few booster packs and then play against a small group of people for the next few weeks.
But what I really wanted was the ability to play against the computer. I liked competitive play, but it was incredibly mentally draining and not something I always felt up for. And I wanted to just be able to make a reasonable regular financial commitment to the game.
So, now, given the chance to do my own thing, I decided to make the card game I wanted to play. I wanted to create something that would create anew the sort of creative tactical decisions that I had when I first started playing collectible card games but in a format where I didn’t have to compete every time I played the game and where I could invest time and use that time to win cards from the game. Thus was born Card Hunter.
The key idea idea in Card Hunter is – what if you were playing a fantasy role playing game where everything your characters could do, and everything the monsters could do, was represented by a deck of cards? In Card Hunter “cards maketh the man” (or woman). A character is a deck of cards – nothing more and nothing less. If your character can run, there’s a Run card in their deck. If a monster has a slavering poisonous bite, there’s a Slavering Poisonous Bite card in their deck.
But – aren’t there stats? Strength and dexterity and charisma? Nope.
But – aren’t there attributes? Poison resistance and infravision? Nope.
There are cards instead. Card Hunter, naturally enough, is all about the cards.
As your character grows, you tune their deck, adding new cards and taking out old ones. Your character changes and grows as a result. Monsters get tougher because their cards get stronger. Monster behaviour grows out of their deck composition. Spiders throw webs because they have a Web card in their deck. Kobolds are cowardly because they have a Cowardly trait card mixed in there.
It’s a simple concept, but a powerful one that leads to a lot of interesting new takes on fantasy role-playing.
I hope you enjoyed this introduction to the world of Card Hunter. Next week I’ll be talking about the basics of the moment to moment card play. Until then, here’s your card of the week.