Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
 
Card Hunter $20 purchase plan

As you might have noticed, I rarely have images in my blog posts. Which is mostly due to the observation that my blog is read a lot during office hours, so I consider it an advantage if my site doesn't look like a game site. :) That is not to say that images can't seriously enhance a blog post. And so I'm happily linking to Azuriel's post on Card Hunter Free2Play which has some very nice images of purchasing options.

I have a rather different opinion about Card Hunter's Free2Play model and available stuff for sale. To understand Card Hunter, you need to consider the target audience. Look at the last image in Azuriel's post, showing the cover page of a Card Hunter adventure. There are two options here: Either you are too young to recognize the style, and thus the style evokes no special reaction in you. Or you have been playing D&D in the 80's and you are hit by a wave of nostalgia. It is pretty evident to me that Card Hunter targets primarily the second group. The kids are probably not THAT interested in a turn-based game anyway. But if you played D&D in the 80's, you are now 30 years older. For most people that means that you disposable income has gone up significantly. Collectors pay crazy money for toys from the 80's due to nostalgia. Paying $99 out of nostalgia for Card Hunter is really not such a big deal, especially since the game is so great.

Having said that, I consider that the best value you can get for your money in Card Hunter is the following plan: Spend $20 for 690 pizza IMMEDIATELY after the tutorial (White Skull Canyon). Then, before doing the Wizard's Workshop, sign up for the Card Hunter Club for 1 month (-300 pizza). By that you get the extra items from the club membership right from the start, which is when you need them most. Play the game until level 6, at which point you will get access to the Defense of Woodhome adventure, the first "locked" treasure hunt adventure that can be unlocked with pizza. At that point buy the "value bundle" for 330 pizza, which unlocks all the additional treasure hunt adventures, a great investment for both the extra items you get and the extra content to play through. That leaves you with 60 pizza from your purchase, plus some free pizza you get. For example you don't need to spend money on pizza to buy a starter pack for multiplayer, you get enough pizza for one free pack at the point in the campaign when you are officially introduced to multiplayer. In my opinion the best investment for the extra pizza is transforming them into gold and buying lots of simple chests early in the game for the gold, or a mix of simple chests and items for 5 and 25 gold from the different stores.

While I personally went for the $99 package, that was purely to vote with my wallet for Card Hunter. Anything beyond the $20 purchase plan I outlined above is giving you significantly less bang for your buck. Because only at the very start of the game are you really short on items to build a variety of decks with. Getting one month of Card Hunter Club, the treasure hunt adventures, and some simple chests gives you enough items to play the game for quite a while. Unlike other games the better low-level items are useful until you are much higher in level: It isn't before level 36 that you have enough power tokens to put higher level items in all slots.

Now obviously I have only played the beta which ends at level 20, out of a possible 50 for the full game at some later point. But in my experience it is a lot of fun to play through the various adventures more than once, for example to try out different party set-ups. If you have some typical mixed party at the start, you'll be surprised how different an all-dwarf or all-elf party plays. And if you play through the adventures more than once, you will collect quite a lot of items. At first you'll be happy about any new item, then comes the point where you barely look any more at the commons, until finally you're only ever interested in rare, epic, and legendary items any more. And if you have sufficient items in your collection for a number of different decks, there isn't much reason to keep spending money to get more items. You can get the purely cosmetic figurines, but those are hardly a must-have purchase.

Card Hunter is perfectly playable for free, although you might have some difficulties starting from level 8 if you don't replay adventures to gather more gear. The $20 purchase plan proposed here is providing a somewhat smoother start with more deckbuilding options early on. In the long run all further purchases have diminishing returns, because most of the time you buy additional random items and the chance increases with each item that you get something you already have. And even if you get a new item, it is most likely only marginally better than a similar item you already own. Unless you are really looking for every tiny advantage you can get for competitive multiplayer, anything above those $20 is just pure luxury. And $20 for such a great game like Card Hunter is really cheap.

Comments:
Level 8 so far and I am loving it. I had to replay 4 levels to get more gold and refine my techniques, because sometimes you get beaten just for your own stupidity (knowing the cards makes a huge difference... and nothing is better than replaying the same level).

I still didn't feel the need to invest real money though. It's true that enemies are getting stronger now but... I like a bit of grinding to get more money and learn new tricks.
 
Thanks tobold for laying out great tips on how/why/when to buy into cardhunter.

I've played a good 3-4 hours. I like it, and was thinking of buying in. But I don't really know the value to me of anything that I can buy with pizza. Sure they give you a few free trials but is the adventure pack a good idea? Do I want to by mulitplayer packs? What is in the Elves pack - sure some elves but what do they come with?

And then - I feel like I have to make a shopping list of things I (might) want, add up the pizza costs, find the pizza bundle that matches... maybe do a little min/max to get the best deal...

Every time I start to think to buy in, I just get turned off. Where as I'm fairly sure if I could just give them my mastercard info, and see 'Hey Adventure Pack $6.50, click here to buy' 'Club loot would have given you XXX legendary, 10$ you wanna buy in for a month and start with that loot?" I would have already dropped $20-$40 in the game already.


I can only speak for me and my impulse buying. But I know I'm far more likely to say yes to a few smaller things than have to research a shopping list, find the right pizza bundle, go back and buy the things, find out some weren't really want I wanted, buy more pizza...


 
Having said all that - I am think I am going to head over to cardhuner and follow your $20 guide to get started.

I hope others support the game as well, it seems really awesome, and looks like it has so much promise as well.
 
What is in the Elves pack - sure some elves but what do they come with?

Look at the bottom of the Elves pack, there is a VIEW button which shows you what they come with. Generally the Dwarves are considered to be strongest pre-made deck for multiplayer. But note that multiplayer and campaign share the same item pool, so buying for example the Adventurers pack might give you a better mix of cards to use in the campaign.
 
It would be awesome to play on the iPad (or any random Android tablet). Grr...!
 
Rugus, I played it on the iPad using the Splashtop 2 app. That copies your PC screen on your iPad and works perfectly well with Card Hunter, but only if you are at home on your own WiFi network.
 
@ Tobold

Yes I've read your post about it, but when I have my PC lose to me... I can play CH there :)
 
I know it's a little off topic, but I didn't realize that Richard Garfield (a la Magic: the Gathering) was a consultant on Card Hunter. It makes me very hopeful that this is going to be a very good game :)
 
Don't you feel a little silly, saying "pizza" every time you need to say "currency"?

When I played D&D in the early 80s we stopped around 6pm for an excellent home-made meal prepared by one of the players, so the "pizza" thing has no resonance for me. We also used metal miniatures not those standees, so those don't key into any nostalgia factor either.

If they could show WWF matches featuring Hulk Hogan or some early MTV in the background while you play, then we might be getting somewhere.
 
I got into the Beta over the weekend. Once I got to level 4 and was thoughly enjoying myself I decided to buy a 10 dollar pack to get the monthly sub. I did not realize the unlock feature for level 6 dungeons so I may just have to buy some more za.

This game sure brings me back to the 80s with how the graphics resemble so many of my old D&D game material!
 
I got into the beta about a week ago and have enjoyed it very much! Thank you for the guide on the most efficient way to spend pizza. I was just considering whether or not I should buy in. I'm just hit lvl 7, so I'm not that far into it, but, since there will be a reset before it goes live and they've said all pizza will be returned, just about everyone can use this when the time comes.
 
Finally got in the beta and yeah, semi nostalgia alley. However we never played D&D with minatures - never needed to as description from the GM was more than enough.

Quirky and fun little game for a short burst but I guess it's just not for me, mainly because it can't really compete with the other stuff I have sitting on my compy... Mostly MMOs. :P
 
STILL not in beta, and I signed up when you first mentioned it. *grumble*

Amused that you know the readership so well, though, re: images.

Also, that sounds like super-useful advice to me personally. I probably wouldn't drop the $99 up-front, sight-unseen, but I'm not averse to wrangling some high value/low-cost up-front like the $20+1month sub.
 
I think what Galleon said about f2p models turning him off to paying is a great point, and it has nothing to do with the two supposed camps of no-lifer pro-sub fanboys vs. the 'rich' no-time fanboys. The whole money-to-pizza conversion thing just turns me off, and I have plenty of disposable income for a game like this.

Maybe a simplification is in order. Play for free, or pay $10 and get A, pay $20 and get A and B, or pay $50 and get A, B, C and D. Then you're DONE. I'm sure I would have already bought one of those packages by now if the paid content was presented way.

Guild Wars, Neverwinter, CardHunter...they all have these unnecessary conversion systems that have in every situation actually made me NOT pay, when if presented in a more straight-forward manner I would have. I'll buy an app in an app store for $4.99 without a second thought because its simple and I know exactly what I'm getting.
 
Just got into beta last week. I like your plan, but I probably don't play enough for the "monthly" club to be worth it for me. Might be just enough to vote with my wallet though.

Currently sporting level 3's. Wish I could redo the campaign - partly because I skimmed over some tutorial text I'd like to "reread", and because I don't like the character names I chose for 2 of my guys.
 
@Justin

You can rename your characters by clicking the little pencil next to their name on the character screen.
 
I got in last weekend (I signed up when Tobold posted about it). At level 10 and loving it. The difficulty level is just right for players who like a challenge. [So far I've won every campaign, but occasionally on the last of the three tries you get before you have to start the campaign over (each campaign is about 3-4 individual scenarios.]

I bought pizza for the treasure hunt campaigns - can't see myself buying lockboxes or adventurer club membership as I like juggling imperfect gear and anyway the drops are sufficient.

I don't know if I will play much multiplayer (the timer is a bit short for me!) but certainly it will support another run through the campaign with a different party. If that's all I ever do, the game will be well worth $10-20 or whatever it costs.

 
I just tried this, and you can't buy Pizza until after the first battle. I think you also can't join the Card Hunter Club until after that.

All the loot you get during that first battle is only available temporarily, anyway, so it won't give you a huge advantage of getting a second Legendary item.
 
I expressed myself not very precisely when I said "before playing the first game". What I meant was before playing the first level 1 game. You have to play a higher-level battle as tutorial before that.
 
Level 6 in campaign, halfway through today's Epic Chest Dash-Grab. playing on an eeePC eith low settings, acceptable lag. Followed Tobold's $20-path advice, and enjoying it immensely. I like board games, and this gives me some ideas for tabletop. Debating what to do with 90 pizza: Chests? Packs? Math-time!
 
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