We are a diverse team of pioneers in the gaming industry with decades of experience. Collectively, we've created or helped create some of the most innovative games in recent memory including Magic: The Gathering, BioShock, Card Hunter, MetalStorm, Battle Nations, Trade Nations and much much more!

We are here to announce that DropForge Games ( will be taking Card Hunter ( to tablet.


What is Card Hunter?

Card Hunter is an award winning browser-based RPG/collectible card game by Blue Manchu Studios which is being re-imagined for tablet by Dropforge Games, an autonomous Wargaming-backed mobile gaming startup based in Bellevue, WA.

Who are we?

Richard Garfield (Reddit: AngryAngryMouse) - Creator of Magic: The Gathering and creative consultant for Card Hunter.

David Bluhm (Reddit: CardHunter_David) - David is a longtime veteran of the mobile gaming industry and is currently the CEO of Dropforge Games. Prior to Dropforge, he served as CEO of Z2, the mobile gaming company behind Metal Storm, Battle Nations, and Trade Nations. In total, David has founded, cofounded or held senior positions in dozens of startup companies resulting in 2 IPOs, 7 acquisitions and over $32 billion in high water market value.

Joe McDonagh (Reddit: CardHunterJoe) - Joe is the VP of Studio at Dropforge Games. Prior to Dropforge, he was a senior designer and writer on Card Hunter. Prior to that he was the Executive Producer at Popcap Games for Peggle, the company Creative Director at LucasArts, and Director of Creative Development at Irrational, where he worked on BioShock and BioShock Infinite winning. Joe is also the co-recipient of the Game Developers Choice Award for Best Narrative for his work with BioShock.

Jon Chey (Reddit: cardhunter-jon) - Head of Blue Manchu, the studio behind Card Hunter (browser). Previously: co-founder of Irrational Games, director of development on BioShock, producer of System Shock 2 and designer of Freedom Force. Cut his chops at Looking Glass where he worked on Thief and Flight Unlimited 2, and wrote 5 lines of code for Terra Nova.


We will begin fielding questions at 2pm EDT. Ask us anything about Card Hunter, mobile gaming, the future of gaming, and whatever else you want!

Please direct specific questions with @Cardhunter, @David, @Joe, @ Jon, and @Richard tags.

4pm EDT Update

The team is off on lunchbreak! Keep asking and upvoting your questions. We'll be back to answer your questions later in the day!

Comments: 1138 • Responses: 67  • Date: 

LonelyCannibal1538 karma

Years ago, I saw a guy in a Greyhound station who looked just like you.

I went up to him, and said, "You know, you look just like Richard Garfield. He's a famous mathematician."

He replied, "Isn't that an oxymoron?"

Was it you or not? I have always wondered.

AngryAngryMouse37 karma

I am guessing that it wasn't me, though I certainly might have forgotten. Very few people have recognized and approached me outside a game convention.

One of the weirder 'recognitions' took place when I called in an obstruction on the freeway, and the operator asked my name - when I said 'Richard Garfield' there was a pause. Then he said 'Richard Garfield the card guy?' I said 'yes.' He said 'We'll get right on that!'

Abstruse294 karma

At what point did you realize that Magic: The Gathering was huge?

Also, what was the next Magic series going to be after The Gathering before you got stuck with the name?

AngryAngryMouse336 karma

Magic's success shocked me and continued to surprise me for years. Very early on it was clear it was a huge success - which I wouldn't have bet on - I knew lots of excellent games that weren't huge successes. Many people thought it was a fad though - which I didn't believe, because I knew the game was excelling on its game play and game play never gets old - games that pass a certain point are better and better the more you play them...

Originally I saw the series going Magic: The Gathering Magic: Ice Age Magic: Menagerie (Became Tempest)

Darnwell226 karma

@Richard, what is your favorite magic card?

AngryAngryMouse413 karma

My favorite Magic card is Shaharazed (sp?) I really like the flavor and the surprising metagame affect of the card. I like cards that break rules you don't realize you can break.

mcymo139 karma


Sorcery, WW (2)

Players play a MAGIC subgame, using their libraries as their decks. Each player who doesn't win the subgame loses half his or her life, rounded up.

Illus. Kaja Foglio

AngryAngryMouse103 karma

My favorite Shahradaz deck was from back in the days where there were no card limits. It was something like 25 Shahradazs, 25 plains and 25 mox pearls.

I'll let you figure out how it works but it takes a LONG time to defeat your opponent.

Talpostal44 karma

Have you ever played with your card from Unhinged? Did you have a say in its design?

AngryAngryMouse62 karma

Yes I did play with it - what a headache - but fun...

I did have a say in it - in fact if memory serves I was asked to create one and had several that I wasn't happy with when that one was proposed.

goblinpiledriver119 karma

@Richard, Where do you see/hope MTG goes in the future with respect to design? Any mechanic or setting you have been wanting to see?

Are Goblins the best tribe or the greatest tribe?

AngryAngryMouse214 karma

That is a trick question. Goblins are the best AND greatest tribe.

When I gunsling at conventions I bring a handmade deck with mechanics I want to see but think are impossible to make in Magic (except perhaps an unglued version). Cards using dice was one expansion. My favorite however, are cards which steal your opponents cards and put them in your deck - and put cards from your deck in your opponents. For example, 'letter bomb, which is shuffled into your opponents deck and when drawn does damage. And enchantments that give you life every time you draw a card that didn't start the game in your deck. Etc. Etc.

bigolfish118 karma

How to you feel about the prices Magic cards demand on the secondary market, particularly chase cards from recent sets and staple cards from the older sets (Black Lotus being the most egregious example)?

In other words, do you wish that Magic was an overall cheaper hobby so that more players could afford to play, or are you satisfied with with with how it currently works out?

AngryAngryMouse173 karma

I wish it was cheaper, but am not super unhappy with it, In the early days when there was lots of card speculation I >was< super unhappy until the market crashed and players could afford to play.

For casual players it really isn't a problem - they don't need a lot of cards, I know play groups that get a box of boosters for the group and draft them again and again, then incorporate them in their decks and that can last a long long time. To be a high level player is expensive - but when you compare it to other hobbies - like skiing say, it is doesn't compare poorly. It seems ok that games which are taken that seriously are in the category with skiing rather than monopoly - which you play every once in a while.

billylooser112 karma

@Richard What's your opinion on planeswalkers?

AngryAngryMouse298 karma

I am not a fan. That said - I think they are pretty exciting and fun to play with. I don't like them because I see every game as having a complexity budget - you can add complexity to your game but you have to make sure it is work it - and planeswalkers blew what I would have seen as several expansions worth of complexity. The investment wasn't worthless - there was a lot of playvalue that emerged from the investment, but for that investment I expect more.

rockem_sockem_schmid75 karma

@Richard - In regards to Magic, what was your biggest "I wouldn't have done that" moment for a decision that wasn't your call that, positively or negatively, altered the game in a major way?

AngryAngryMouse147 karma

Probably Ultra Rare cards. Other nominees are legends (can only play with 1 in play) and planeswalkers.

I stil don't like some of these, but none are as bad as I thought - for example, I don't like ultra rares because I want the game to be affordable for players and I gauge that by the cost of the highest level decks. Ultra Rares are expensive - but their existence also brings down the cost of rares, so... I still don't like it but I do see the appeal for some players, and it isn't as bad as I anticipated.

idolminds59 karma

Are there plans for a standalone desktop version of Card Hunter? As a person with a terribly slow home internet connection it has been impossible to play the game in my browser.

cardhunter-jon49 karma

Yes! We're working on it at this very moment. We actually build a stand alone client as part of our regular build process and now we just need to polish that up and make sure that it works 100%. It's mostly there but there are a few little issues like pizza purchasing and reconnection stuff. Once those are ironed out we just need to figure out the best way of distributing it to ensure that lots of people see it and also so that anyone using the stand-alone version is kept up to date with the latest client.

Long story short, I'm hoping to see it out in the order of several weeks, perhaps a month or two.

michaelpruess7 karma

Is the standalone client also going to be using Flash? I ask because Flash is a tremendous resource hog (at least on Macs) :P

cardhunter-jon12 karma

Yes, it will use AIR.

I agree that Flash isn't great at handling memory usage. Is that what you mean by "resource hog"?

michaelpruess9 karma

For some reason anything involving flash kills my battery life, has been that way on every Mac OS machine I've used or observed in ten years or so. I'm not a computer architecture person so I'm not 100% on the connections between what Flash requires and why it uses so much power, but yes, my memory usage is always pretty high when I run Card Hunter. I haven't run comparison tests with Windows machines, but my experience with Flash being 'needy' is consistent across browsers, Flash plugin versions, and standalone Flash apps.

cardhunter-jon6 karma

That sounds fair. We'll continue to try to optimise some bits and pieces but it is likely a problem with Flash itself when trying to do such a complex game.

mackpack58 karma

What do you think the the most significant change in Magic since you left R&D? Do you like that change?

AngryAngryMouse141 karma

The changes to Magic are a mixed bag - but more good than bad. Early on I decided the best policy with a game as big as magic was to empower lots of people to help, and that means being supportive and giving advice but letting them make their own mistakes. This has lead to some mistakes in my opinion, but some changes that I didn't realize were right - and a very very talented set of designers running it.

For specifics - one change I didn't like was ultra rare cards. One I did was two sided cards (though inconvenient for draft :-)

HockeyCannon54 karma

What games are you currently playing?

AngryAngryMouse82 karma

I am playing (in the last few days...) (Electronic) Card Hunter (of course), TF2 (7 years old still amazing), Quadradius, Solforge (paper) Nations, Blood Bound, Masquerade, Coup And always - some games I am working on...

CardHunterJoe67 karma

I am a huge World of Tanks dork. Jon recently disrespected my World of Tanks achievements. I think it damaged our professional relationship.

cardhunter-jon41 karma

I wish we played on the same server so I could destroy you in person. Your German tanks would be crushed by my Centurion.

CardHunterJoe24 karma

You do a very good impression of Melvin, Jon.

cardhunter-jon22 karma

Who do you think Melvin is based on?

craven_trout10 karma

Full disclosure: They are in the same office typing these retorts.

CardHunterJoe15 karma

Jon's in Australia. I'm in Seattle.

cardhunter-jon27 karma

I'm currently playing Calculords ( Collectible card gaming with 8 bit art, a super nerdy number crunching system for playing cards and designed by Seanbaby. What more could you want?

AngryAngryMouse9 karma

I played that too - what a strange game - super nerdy. Innovative though - fun.

dmartin1634 karma

Hey Gents,

I'm not sure if you were involved in it, but the Magic The Gathering computer game that came out what, 15-20 years ago? was something I spent countless hours in. I had a total blast!

Do you guys have any plans to release an updated version with the newer sets and rules?

SuddenlyTimewarp24 karma

I thought the Shandalar game had great potential, and in a modern implementation could even become a successful MMO. I also play the Duels of the Planeswalkers games and enjoy them (despite their numerous flaws).

cardhunter-jon26 karma

The Shandalar game was definitely part of the inspiration for Card Hunter. I played it a LOT.

zerglingrodeo33 karma

Do any of you remember the moment that you decided that you wanted to make games?

What sorts of games inspired you early on?

CardHunterJoe51 karma

My first D&D game when I was 8. It was one of the most exciting days of my life. The sense of wonder and adventure was palpable. I spent the next day trying to create my own version of the rules. I suspect that there were lots of diagrams of stick men.

tenehemia28 karma

@Richard - When was the last time you played Jyhad? I (and many others) still love it and think it is an awesome game that gets overshadowed most of the time.

AngryAngryMouse36 karma

It has been many many moons since I have played Jyhad - which (for those who don't kniw) was renamed Vampire the Eternal Struggle (V:TES) in maybe '95 or '96

I think there are some cool mechanics in this game. It was designed back when I was trying to explore all the amazing possibilities of trading card games. It is inherently flawed however - because it takes too long to play. When it was designed I applied the standards of board games - but after it came out I realized trading card games wanted to play much much faster, so you could tweak your deck and play again.

Fantasy Flight is coming out with a new version fresh on the heals of Netrunner's re-release, however - and I look forward to that!

ivraatiems27 karma

How has Magic evolved over the years? I didn't realize this before but now I think about it it's quite an old game.

What other games do you recommend - card-based, tabletop or otherwise?

AngryAngryMouse56 karma

Magic is old - 20 years old. Amazing... it has changed a lot over the years, one of the things that I like about it is that every time I return to it, it is fresh but I am still an expert.

For new games - we are awash in interesting games, it is a games Renaissance. Electronic - look at cardhunter, that is why I am here! Tabletop, maybe Ascension...

Darnwell22 karma

Richard, could you give me a quick shout-out to a /u/Dantroid, my boyfriend who loves Magic, for me? It would mean a lot!

AngryAngryMouse39 karma

Hi Dantroid!

MurrayPhilbman18 karma

@Richard @Cardhunter @David @Joe @Jon

This one is for all of you!

Do you consider a hamburger to be a type of sandwich, or an entity of its own?

CardHunterJoe39 karma

This is a profound and challenging philosophical question. Personally I am more concerned by the misleading presence of ham in the description.

redditorx1357914 karma

Thanks for doing an AMA.

Where did the idea of Little Sisters come from?

CardHunterJoe21 karma

The story of the evolution of the Little Sisters is hilarious and told here: . Suffice to say we briefly considered making them dogs in wheelchairs. It's this level of quality thinking that made the game the hit it became.

redditorx135794 karma


CardHunterJoe7 karma

Sander Cohen? Does it get any campier?

Stexe14 karma

@Richard I was wondering what did you contribute as a creative consultant to Card Hunter. What is it like to work contract for a game like that?

Oh, and any chance of reviving your podcast? I absolutely loved listening to it!

@Everyone: Who here is going to GDC? Will there be a build there to see or anything?

AngryAngryMouse18 karma

Card Hunter is in an area of game I am very interested in - games which feel a lot like paper games, but are electronic. When I was shown the early drafts I was immediately drawn to the space it was trying to fill.

My experiences transliterating games like Magic showed me a lot of places where one could change paper design to make it better for electronic. I would say that was my (and my companies three donkeys) most important input. Things like minimizing the number of reactions.

I will not be at GDC probably.

The podcast - thanks for comments - I would very much like to continue it and hope I make the time to soon...

dropforge4 karma

David and Joe will be down at GDC. There is not a viewable build yet.

di3sel11 karma

Ok guys, seriously, why is Peggle 2 only available through Xbox Live? HUGE bummer, a big letdown for a lot of us. I'm no expert, but I think it would have had an immensely better release on just about any other platform, regardless of how much Microsoft paid for exclusivity.

CardHunterJoe16 karma

Unfortunately that's a question for PopCap. I left the project when it became an X-Box One exclusive.

bobthebobd9 karma

What are your favorite games, that you do not have personal/financial involvement with?

CardHunterJoe33 karma

I am a huge Civilization nerd. I once met Sid Meier. I think I embarrassed myself.

AngryAngryMouse28 karma

I met him a few times and am sure I embarrassed my self every time!

so_ping_cock8 karma

Oh god why have I not heard of peggle 2 before! My life has been wasted

CardHunterJoe15 karma

A day not playing Peggle is a day wasted.

RamsesThePigeon6 karma


cardhunter-jon8 karma

Say "hi" to Con for me! One of my favourite people.

Writing for video games is tough. I'd always advise to try to get started by doing work - any work. Find an indie game that you think needs help on the writing front (not hard to do I would think). Make a mod. Do something that showcases your talent.

The problem is that writing is often really devalued - people don't want to pay a professional to do it. Hopefully that perception will change, but I'm not holding my breath waiting. :(

RamsesThePigeon3 karma


cardhunter-jon6 karma

Yeah, I think if you want to write for games, you have to do game writing. It's a very different medium.

The chickens got eaten by a fox :(