A new real-time card game is getting popular within its quite indie niche: WitchHand, a cutesy-styled game about “leading your coven into new, unfriendly lands” launched just this past week, on February 7, 2024. Using cards, you build up buildings, gather apprentices and familiars, and assign them resources to do their jobs so that you can flourish in a kind of 4X strategy meets real-time card and resource management.
It’s clearly one for fans of Stacklands and Cultist Simulator, the two biggest names in this kind of fairly touchy real-time card game genre. It’s sitting on very positive reviews from fans of those games—the 107 Steam reviews are 91% positive at press time.
The key gameplay feature in WitchHand is the several characters that can lead the coven of witches, each of which plays quite differently.
“Each witch has a unique selection of spells, buildings, and units that defines them. Empower your villages and production with the Celestial Witch. Overpower your enemies with the might of the Chaos Witch. Cook delicious, stat-boosting meals with the Chef Witch. Choose the witch that best suits your playstyle and have full control over your research paths to further personalize your playthrough,” says the developer.
You’ll also find that you must figure out how to interact with other covens and villages you find along the way, fighting them, trading with them, befriending them, or “[using] their bones to fuel your spells.” There’ll also be nasty void ogres and goblins and things to do battle with, to boot.
These real-time resource management card games are a fairly new genre overall, with only a few standout popular entries. What limits their appeal, as far as I can tell, is that they’re pretty dang unforgiving: Mess up and you’re rarely able to revert to a previous save for recovery as the problem you’ve lost to is something systemic in how you set up your cards—if a save function even is available, which it’s often not.
You can find WitchHand on Steam. It’s developed by Jon Nielsen, who previously made crafting game Lost Nova, roguelike auto-battler Mechanibot, and is also a webcomic artist. WitchHand is published by HopFrog.