The other card games this developer has released are fairly straightforward -- this one, though, is more complex, and kids may find learning to play it frustrating. Getting to a point where players understand the basic Card Crawl Adventure rules could be a lengthy process. The cards invoke different actions, such as dealing three sword strikes to the next monster card you connect it to, or refueling your strength. Some actions occur right away, and others are delayed. The order kids select cards in is important. Choosing two attack cards in a row, for instance, inflicts double the damage to all monsters in the same path.
Some confusion may stem from the tutorial kids see before playing, such as it excluding the fact that there are different types of cards, which are denoted by a symbol in the upper left hand corner. Attack and Skill cards offer benefits to help you defeat monsters, while Monster cards do damage. Even if you read a card's description, its effect may still not be completely clear. In addition to the basic gameplay, kids can also try to complete three optional tasks in each tavern -- defeating the tavern boss, looting its treasure, or completing an associated quest -- to win gold that can be used to improve their character and cards. While they don't have to do any of that if they don't want to, those elements add even more complexity to the game, which can already be confusing. If kids are willing to invest the time to figure out the rules and familiarize themselves with how the cards work, the game could potentially offer them a chance to flex their logic and basic math skills, since Monster cards zap one or more strength points. The considerable learning curve that's involved in Card Crawl Adventure, though, may be a deterrent for some kids.