Card Hunter

Common Sense Media says

Cross-genre tactics game has Dungeons & Dragons charm.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Players are encouraged to think about their conduct, to be fair, and to care whether other players are having fun.

Positive role models

Although it reinforces stereotypes about socially isolated male teen gamers, it also breaks stereotypes by introducing a pizza-delivery-girl gamer who is in many ways more capable than the boys. She teams up with one of the boys, and together they're helpful, reflective, and caring; they advocate for good sportsmanship and resist an older boy who argues about rules.

Ease of play

A strong tutorial eases players into the experience.

Violence

The focus is on combat in a fantasy world. The figures are represented as paper cutouts and are placed to the side of the gameboard when defeated.

Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

The game is free, but players can pay to customize the look of their paper figures and to increase the chance that successful battles yield good items. These purchases are optional, and the game is fully playable with no need for users to spend money.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Creates serious privacy and safety concerns. Player must register their accounts using email addresses (although they're explicitly instructed not to use their real names). There is open chat with no moderation; this type of game typically attracts more mature players, however.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Card Hunter is a charming, online, browser-based, combat-strategy game modeled after tabletop role-playing games. Players compete in one-on-one matches against other real players or the computer, moving little paper figures on a grid and attacking until one side is eliminated. There's no graphical violence; when characters are eliminated, their figures are simply removed from the board. Although the game is free, players must register for an account using an email address, and there are optional purchases. If games are played against other humans, players can text-chat without moderation.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Math

  • subtraction
  • addition
  • probability

Hobbies

  • board games
  • collecting

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • strategy

Self-Direction

  • identifying strengths and weaknesses

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

The combination of two classic game genres works well, but extended play can turn into a grind for better equipment.

Learning Approach

Players can exercise math skills as they figure out which cards to play in which order. Players also pick the most efficient order in which to play characters' actions, helping them learn logic and systems thinking.

Support

The first few missions provide players with a well-scripted introduction to the game, and the online forums are supportive and active.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Math

  • subtraction
  • addition
  • probability

Hobbies

  • board games
  • collecting

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • strategy

Self-Direction

  • identifying strengths and weaknesses

Kids can get a feel for probability by customizing their card decks, making sure there's a higher chance of getting a good card if they stack the decks well. Kids also can learn how to plan and strategize by carefully orchestrating the order in which their characters move and attack. These skills are put to the test through new twists and challenges that require different card combinations to defeat. By combining the choice of collectible card games and the deep thinking of turn-based games, Card Hunter brings engaging, strategic customization to classic, chess-like tactical play.

This Learning Rating review was written by Mark Chen

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What's it about?

CARD HUNTER wraps two classic styles of play -- turn-based tactical combat and collectible card games -- in the retro fun of a tabletop role-playing game. In the main single-player campaign, players are introduced to three opponents (two teenage brothers and a pizza-delivery girl) and follow a backstory wherein they compete for tickets to an annual Card Hunter convention. According to the story, Card Hunter is a kind of role-playing game, and the paper figures on the board represent the players' dungeon-delving, role-playing characters. Tongue-in-cheek '80s and '90s Dungeons & Dragons clichés and stereotypes abound, including a dark basement with pimply teens, but this retro theme is given a modern spin with streamlined gameplay that's heavy on action and fun.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The combination of board game tactics controlled by randomized but customizable decks works surprisingly well, and the stylized, clean art and humorous -- though sparse -- writing draws players in. Each of the player's three paper cutout characters has a deck of cards, and players draw two cards per character at the start of each round. The drawn cards determine the abilities (for example, moves and attacks) characters can perform. As characters win battles, they receive cards for random equipment of varying power. Card decks can be customized by switching out different weapons or armor in the various characters' equipment slots.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how the game portrays geek culture. Do you think the characters in the game are portrayed realistically

  • Families also can discuss how to behave responsibly in multiplayer games with text or voice chat. How can you make sure you don't overshare and stay safe in an online game

Game details

Platforms:Linux, Mac, Windows
Price:Free
Pricing structure:Free
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Blue Manchu
Release date:September 12, 2013
Genre:Strategy
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Brothers and sisters, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires

This review of Card Hunter was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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