I Look at Card Hunter!

Card Hunter is a browser-based board game with CCG and RPG elements. You control a part of three little figurines and work your way through a campaign of battles, defeating monsters, getting loot and experience and doing it all over again. I loved it enough to keep playing for a good while, but frustrating battles, low speed of character progression and strange business models make me doubt I'll play it much longer.

This game looks really neat, it all feels board-game-y

Starting with the core of the game, it plays mostly well. You have four cards in your hand and play them to move, attack, heal, or perform other actions. You and your enemy takes turns until both sides pass one after another, starting a new turn, making you discard all but two cards, then you draw two more. It goes on until one side gets a certain number of victory points. You get them for killing enemies or controlling certain spaces. I wish there were more ways as well, otherwise all maps feel like 'kill everything!' maps.  I really like how everything is played out automatically, playing real card games like that would get bogged down with dice rolls and looking at cards, but Card Hunter runs very smoothly.

All cards are well explained, you see the range of your attacks and what they do, even though I'd love it for unusable cards to be grayed out instead of letting me use then, show 'NO VALID TARGETS' and have me click cancel. Speaking of which, it's not a big issue but while you can cancel most spells and attacks, you can't cancel movements, I've lost a few turns here and there moving by mistake, why's that? Moving should be cancellable.

Poik1, Poik2 and Poik3, reporting for duty

You get cards by equipping items. At first, you have a very small number of card slots - weapon, boots, armors, not much else, and as you level, you unlock more slots. All classes and races have different configurations and it means you're more-or-less guaranteed to make a warrior/priest/mage party so you can try/use everything. Each item has different cards and that's how you build your deck. It's hard to know what would make a good deck combination, too many attack cards and you won't be able to get to enemies, too many move cards and you won't be able to do anything, not enough armor/shield cards and you're going to die super quickly. A small deck-building tip or two would be nice, something like 'You need at least 5 move cards and 5 armor cards' to make sure you have some odds to get them.

And I think the game is a bit unbalanced. Enemies can wreck through your characters pretty quickly if you are dealt bad cards and it's just frustrating. RNG frustration can also hit when your shields (block attacks if you roll high enough or if the attack damage is low enough) and armors (block part of attacks if you roll high enough) all miss to prevent a hit that removes two thirds of your character's hp. Enemies can also get bad hands, but restarting a fight until you get good randomness isn't fun.

You only get experience for finishing adventures, losing at the 3rd fight out of 4 means no exp.

I feel like the game rewards you too slowly with items and very few experience.  You only get exp for finishing completely multi-part adventures and that means if you die on a really tough boss, you'll get nothing, and exp is very important. Give experience after each battle, even if it means raising the exp needed for the next level and lowering the experience per monster. You also gain a few items (with another that you can only get if you pay real money to get into the exclusive card hunter club) that sell for close to no gold, some items go up to level 18 and cost about 5000 gold, the rarest items I've ever got sold for 5, this feels like a ploy to get you to buy pizza (premium currency) and transform it into gold. I wish you'd get more gold, or that things wouldn't be that expansive.

I love how the 50$ option is checked by default

Card Hunter is really fun and if the progression was handled a bit better I might've been drawn in a bit more. As it is now, I had to grind stages I had already beat to get a few more levels and better equipment to defeat a tough boss I couldn't get through. And then I had to cheese him anyways. It's really a shame, because the world map is immense and if it's all covered in shops, battle maps and other strange locales, I would've loved to explore it all. But of course, I wouldn't be able to, because some 'treasure hunt' maps need you to pay real money to unlock. 

Why not sell this game instead? I would pay 10$ for a more reasonably balanced experience that doesn't rely on f2p schemes to try and make you pay something. They can say that the 3800 pizza slices for 99$ is the 'best value' but I fear that even buying that, you couldn't get everything in the game, and that's crazy.

Card Hunter is a game of compromise between your play style and the cards you can get.