Cards as geography

edited March 2006 in Story Games
I love the idea of cards being used as physical locations. So much information can be crammed into them.

Changeling: the Something Something laid out cards with bridges and marshes on them. Those Z-G action figures by Atomoton used cards for ranges ('my shotgun has a range of three card lengths'), and that Pirates of the Spanish Main has cards which act as islands, or pop out into little ships. Nifty.

So how about a Great Race game. The GM picks ten cards from a deck of ordinary playing cards and lays them out in any order in a circular 'track'. Black cards represent current problems, red cards represent flashback scenes. The value on each card probably becomes a difficulty number.

Clubs are hazards due to enemy vehicles, spades are tight turns or other environmental problems. Red cards are flashback scenes where you'd play through fraught emotional scenes that led up to the race: hearts for friends and lovers, diamonds for enemies or rivals.

Your vehicle could be represented by a d6, with 6 'structure points'.

Or instead of a race, the cards could describe the ten gigs in your band's final tour.



  • I used "place trump" cards (actually MTG cards or Everway-esque art cards) as locations in an Amber game, stacking portrait cards on top of them to denote who was in that location, or had last been seen there.
  • Man, we played Bang! this weekend and it blew my mind. Cards are used elegantly to do all kinds of non-cardy things, from define your "character" to tracking your hit points. That game also handles range in the coolest way. I love me some Bang!
  • I love me some Bang!

    I'll second that emotion.

  • That's a neat idea. I'll think about putting something like it in Dramatikos. Not outright steal it, mind you, but just put a blurb in there about it.
  • "Changeling: the Something Something laid out cards with bridges and marshes on them."

    I think it was Arcadia, the Wild Hunt. Which was the Changeling CCG from White Wolf. Interesting game, but flawed and doomed to die.

    Still, it would be an interesting idea to get those boxes full of cards and use them to create a map in a joint-narration game. When your turn comes up, chose a card to add to the mix that represents a challange or issue you want to bring into the game....

    Of course, cards aren't limited to playing cards. If you've the interwebs and a printer it's pretty easy to do up your own cardstock cards with anything you want on them. So perhaps if you created categories, classes, and laid down aesthetic guidelines and made templates, it would be possible to do a game where people brought in new cards every week to represent the elments of development they want brought into the game, and then resolution works on two levels: deciding who gets to bring what in when, and then at the character level to see how the characters deal with the challanges a card brought into the game.
  • Reference: 1000 Blank Cards

    If you haven't played this yet, do so!
  • edited March 2006
    Arcadia: The Wyld hunt, produced as a Changling card game by White Wolf, used "terrain" to build a map at random with treasures under some, and hazards under some (placed by opposing player) the whole thing had this "Dungeoncrawl" vibe even though it was huge terrain/forest of faery things.

    It was actually an interesting idea, turning the cards into a "board' for play.

    Birthright (AD&D2E setting) used cards for combat forces/armies to represent them in battle.

    Similar ideas can be carried over to other play (like Storypath cards or old Whimsy cards) for example:

    If you wanted to build a game of street hustling/gangster vying for territory, you could give each player cards to define the territory they fight for, as well as one to build a map of connections (Hey I know Joey the Knife over on 5th street...) as a mechanic this allows the players to guide play.

    I love player control (Marvel/Dragonlance Saga using cards as results for example gave payers a choice of how and when they succeeded at some tasks)

    Combining these elements would make for an interesting concept. Player controlled mapping for a dungeon-crawl game, relationship development for a mystery/romance game and so on.

    But it may just be a physical widgit for the idea if your not careful. (Not a bad thing either necessarily as something to HOLD, can impress weight/value on something)\
  • Somebody make a Fantasy Dungeoncrawl (or other RPG implementation) of this:

  • edited March 2006
    One that /is/ better than this:
  • Carcassonne is halfway there.

  • edited March 2006
    There's a nifty little 24-Hour supers game that uses playing cards to map out the battlefield.

    Sky Ace RPG

    It's a killer idea that I have already stolen, so too late bitches!
  • Extreme Vengeance (IIRC) had as one of its suggestions that you would map fight scenes by using cards from the old Sim City CCG, narrating on the fly. So the players would be being chased, or chasing, or clinging to the skid of a helicopter or whatever, and you would just go "OK, you're approaching the ... (turn over card) stadium!" And you knew what would be there -- hot dogs, and cheering fans, and those novelty foam hands, and maybe a blimp.
  • John failed to mention that his own Stranger Things has cards for laying out locations.

    It works like this: Imagine taking that cool pic of Sigil from the Planescape boxed set (with all the little shops and houses and stuff on it), then shrink it, then cut it into 10x10cm cards. Shuffle them up, and build your own Sigil.

    You don't use them for fights and stuff, but you do use them to frame the campaign or adventure.

  • "John, what size of pimpin' does AndyK personify?"
    "Duh. BIG PIMPIN'."
  • ...spending cheese...
    ...on B-E-D's...
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