Card Hunter: card mechanics and details

, | Game diaries

With Card Hunter out and running very well since it’s had a bit of time to stabilize, and now that I’ve talked about the basic mechanics on how to play, I thought I’d next take a minute to look at the actual cards themselves.

After the jump, card mechanics and details

At a glance there can be some confusion on how cards work, making it easy to disregard a powerful effect or put too much stock in something that seems too good to be true.


There are several types of cards, including cards that attack, cards that let your figures move about the board, cards that protect you from harm, and etc. Let’s start with something easy — a basic movement card.


Dash is an potent move card, elven characters get this as a free card every turn, but you will find Dash cards on various other pieces of equipment as well, such as descent quality boots. This card is easy — it’s worth four movement points. Note there is a little “U” in the lower right corner of the picture — cards can be common, uncommon, and rare. The color of the title bar indicates the card’s quality. Dash is bronze colored, following a color hierarchy which ranges from low quality black and paper colors up to gold, emerald, or even amethyst. I’ve never seen anything higher than gold, myself.


Walk is okay, Dash is better; Quick Step is even higher quality than Dash, and so on. Higher quality doesn’t necessarily mean better though, you can probably safely ignore the quality and should instead focus on what the card does rather than its alleged power level. Let’s take a look at a more complex movement card now that we have the basics.


Violent Spin is only a movement 3 card; however it does a Push 2 to every character standing next to you when you play the card. Since Card Hunter features a zone of control around figures creating a challenge to move passed them, this can make for a great card to play when you are boxed in, sending enemies reeling away while pushing adjacent friends further to safety.

Speaking of Push 2, how are you supposed to know what that means? Card Hunter has a handy tip system, just hover over any keyword and you get a quick info tip:


All cards have a general color to them to help tell at a glance the main purpose. For instance, blue is movement. Let’s check out the red (attack) cards next.


Where a movement card displays its movement value in the lower left, an attack card displays damage, and also adds a range stat in the lower right. Like movement, hovering over an attack card will overlay a colored grid (blue in the case of movement cards, red for offense) onto the map so you can determine what your effective range will be. In in the case of damaging attack cards the grid will highlight targets that will be affected as you move your cursor over them.

Flame Spit has a special quality, burning 2. As you can imagine, it deals 2 ongoing fire damage for three turns, in addition to the 2 damage it deals when it immediately strikes a target. Quite handy.

We talked about reaction cards such as armor in the last diary, so let’s take a quick look at one of the best dodge cards — Parry.


Armor (whose cards are grey in color) generally triggers from any direction, and is normally kept even after being used. Dodge and block cards, which are green colored, work a little differently. First off, they tend to cancel any additional effects entirely. If a dodge card indicates you “block any”, which would include even a spell, you also avoid any lingering effects that spell had with it, such as burning. If a F lame Spit hits you with armor on, you are still on fire and are going to burn for two fire damage every turn for three turns (though your armor can prevent that, as well, but it’s a separate armor roll each time you take that damage). Second, your enemy has to be in front of you to trigger a dodge effect. If they get behind you, which can happen as you auto turn towards whatever hit you last as well as turning towards any figures you interact with, your dodge cards will not trigger.

Let’s look at Parry — on a 2 or higher it triggers on a six sided dice. All block cards are kept in hand until they work once, and then are discarded. Parry, however, replaces itself by letting you draw a card when it triggers successfully. T he problem with the design in Card Hunter for new players, or at least this was the way with me, is that often you can look at a card like this and not quite intuit things like “does this card stay in my hand if I fail the 2 or higher roll?” or “Do I draw a card even if I fail the 2 or higher roll?” and often it’s just a matter of getting used to the games verbiage and how the cards are worded.In this case, Parry does indeed stick around until it’s successfully used, and you only draw a card when it’s successfully used.

Not all cards are good — sometimes a piece of equipment will have several amazing cards
attached to it, but one or two black cards as well, referred to as Drawback cards. Here is an example of a Drawback card:


This is a trait — there are several powerful and useful traits, but there are a few negative ones as well. What makes traits especially unique is that if you have one in hand then before you can play a card you must immediately use it and it does not count as an action — it will even bounce lively up and down until you click on it to play it, attaching it to your figure for some amount of time determined by each individual trait. Almost every trait, once played, is replaced by drawing a new card. This generally goes for the negative ones too, at least.

However, some traits are so nasty, like the one above, that putting the equipped item that has said card attached to it on your character is just too risky. Look at Loner there, it’s pretty bad — two damage for each character within 2 spaces of you. Does this include enemy characters, or just allies? You would think only allies, but I’ve never bothered playing with it to know for sure (see my above comment above regarding how you can’t always tell exactly how a card works until you’ve played with it for yourself). I just know it has no duration. That’s alarming.

Some cards are just one shot effects but they have long lasting results. One of my favorites is Mass Frenzy, which I picked up on a divine relic I equipped onto my cleric. Check this guy out.


This is an example of a white Assist card. Hopefully by now you can look at this and realize how amazing it is immediately — three additional melee damage added to any attack for two turns is potentially huge, and it even affects all of your party members. Popping this at the start of a turn, especially a turn where your warrior is loaded with sweet, sweet attack cards, can be a big swing in your favor on any map. Note that it’s not a trait — so its use is not automatic (which is good in that you can save it for when it will do the most good) and it will not be replaced by a new card when you play it. It does however attach itself to all allies so that you can have a visual reminder of the effects that are active — you can right click on a figure at any time and see what traits and conditions (such as burning or encumbered) are active on any units.

So that’s how the cards work, by and large. There are so many cards in the game I could talk for hours about the ones I love and the ones I find useless (probably because I’m playing them wrong) but at the end of the day, the best way to get accustomed to the game’s mechanics is to get in there and check it out for yourself!

Up next: the deck building
Click here for the previous entry.

Scott Lufkin currently lives in Iowa with his wife, two children, and a beloved PC. He posts on the Quarter to Three forums as BleedTheFreak.