Welcome to the PC Gamer Recreation of the Yr Awards 2013. For an evidence of how the awards have been determined, a spherical-up of all of the awards and the listing of judges, take a look at right here.
As gaming style boundaries proceed to interrupt down and old style style labels lose their relevance, designers are an increasing number of chuffed to collide as soon as separate ideas into creative new ones. None have finished that with as so much cleverness this 12 months as Card Hunter, which fuses flip-primarily based tactical fight with collectible card video games, wraps it up in an endearing D&D homage, after which provides all of it away without spending a dime.
CHRIS I in reality need Card Hunter to be triumphant. It’s a free-to-play sport with an excellent and beneficiant trade edition that by no means will get in the way in which of doing what you wish to have to do, which is negotiate a collection of D&D-fashion dungeons with a birthday celebration made of for my part customisable CCG decks. It sounds convoluted, however Blue Manchu have managed to marry two difficult genres in a method that makes each extra obtainable. The collectible card sport beneath helps to interrupt down the rules of flip-based totally technique into particular person, simply-understood components, and the technique sport helps to existing card fighting in a context that avid gamers will straight away understand. It’s a lovely little bit of design.
CORY It’s additionally a very charming sport. Proper from the beginning, you will see that the love Blue Manchu have wrapped up in its artwork model. This can be a sport made with the aid of tabletop enthusiasts, individuals who grew up sitting round, rolling 20-sided cube and scribbling furiously on graph paper. I like the way it expresses its mechanics via cardboard cutout figures, and enjoyment at each D&D in-shaggy dog story the designers have baked into the quite a lot of playing cards and moves. Card Hunter is charming as hell, and I might have simply paid full value to play its marketing campaign. That its builders permit you to log in totally free and handiest need to cost you for the smallest of important points is, frankly, implausible. Despite the fact that you’re now not into CCGs, you must supply the primary few singleplayer missions a are trying. They’re simply pleasant.
CHRIS I performed singleplayer for roughly a dozen hours ahead of graduating to aggressive play, however I’m satisfied that I did. I really like the room it offers for ingenious performs – the Flying Wizard Telekinetic Dwarf Slingshot is totally a thing, because I invented it. The game’s CCG foundations allow for turnarounds and upsets, too – and as frustrating as it can be to be on the receiving end of one, they always make for good stories. Card Hunter is easily the year’s second-best wizard ‘em up.
PHIL As someone who doesn’t like CCGs, I’m grateful to Card Hunter for the way it mitigates random chance. I’ve yet to move up to its competitive modes, so while being dealt bad cards is frustrating, it’s mostly an opportunity for creative tactical problem solving. Even drawing a purely defensive hand isn’t disastrous thanks to the pass system. By moving to defensible locations and skipping my turn, I can ensure I get first go when the new, hopefully more powerful cards appear – even using my apparent weakness as the basis for an ambush.
More interesting are the low-level cards that offer seemingly undesirable effects. What at first seems like a near-useless compromise can suddenly make all the difference. If a Warrior’s bludgeon can’t quite finish a monster, maybe that boobytrapped healing card can briefly turn your Cleric into an offensive unit, killing the enemy before the healing is applied.
That’s what I love about Card Hunter: the necessity of invention. Experimental strategies aren’t about showing off, or trying to be creative in the face of a more sensible or more effective option. They’re the result of an intuitive deck-building system, that is then reduced down to a manageable and interesting set of choices to be made on any given turn.