Today’s Kickstarter Highlight is Shardhunters by first-time Kickstarter creater Peter Hornyak, and an international team. Shardhunters is a quick strategy card game for 2-4 players, and boasts some impressive art with a distinct dark fantasy aesthetic that reminds me a bit of my some of my favorite fantasy settings like Bloodborne or Solomon Kane. In Shardhunters, players draw a hand of monster cards which they use in a series of fights against the other players’ monsters. The core of the gameplay is similar to War in that the player with the highest total value on their monster cards wins the fight. But of course, there’s a bit more strategy at play in Shardhunters – each combat (of which there are four each round) has a different number of monster cards that must be used. The first combat is with a single monster card, the second combat uses two, the third combat uses three, and the final combat uses the last remaining monster card in the players’ hands. Each monster also has a type, represented by a color, which modifies the combat. When red monsters are played, the game of war is won by the highest total value. However, when a blue monster is played, the winner is the player with the lowest total value. There’s also yellow monsters which serve as additional support for breaking a tie – whoever has the most colored cards during a tie wins the tie. The gameplay of the hunt comes down to playing the right cards at the right time – do you go all out? Do you hedge your best cards? Can you read your opponents’ moves and hopefully counter them?
There’s another piece to the strategy of Shardhunters. And that’s in the hunters themselves. Players have a separate pool of hunter cards that confer bonuses during the fights of the hunt. You can see in the example above, that Shena reduces the value of all your blue cards by 1 – a handy ability for those fights where you’re hoping to outsmart your opponents by playing some ankle-biting blue monsters. When you win hunts, you’ll earn shards – which are used to purchase more hunters, and ultimately win the game.
The overall goal of the game is to collect a party of five hunters, and win a hunt. One of the neat features of Shardhunters–fitting perfectly with its goal of simplicity–is that you can only have two of your hunters “active” at a time. This makes keeping track of your abilities easier, and adds an element of choice to which hunters you want to use during each hunt.
Shardhunters is a really great game – it’s strategic yet quick, it uses simultaneous player actions which keeps the fun high for everyone, and it’s got some fantastic artwork. If you’re into dark fantasy, or you’re looking for a fast and fun card game, swing by the Kickstarter page for Shardhunters.
Until next time, gang. Keep it plucky!