Dungeons & Donuts

Updates with cool game and RPG related stuff every week.
Oct 14 '12

D&D as a card game

Here are some tracking cards I made for my players back when I hosted D&D Encounters fairly regularly. They were meant to help players track their magic items, daily powers, and healing surges. 



Cards seemed to be a big part of Fourth Edition. If you make your character using the official online character builder, it prints out your character in a card based format. You can also buy decks of power cards based on classes. Even the new Red Box Starter Set includes pages of punch out cards.

On top of this, Mike Krahulik's Thornwatch is shaping up to be an interesting take on a D&D style game that uses cards and deck building, rather than character sheets and dice rolling. If you haven’t heard about it yet, check it out here and here and here.

I’m of two minds when it comes to incorporating cards and decks into Dungeons & Dragons. On one hand, I don’t really like most collectible card games. I played a bunch of Pokemon as a tween, but that’s about it. I don’t like Magic: The Gathering, and generally am not into the idea of tournament or competitive play. I played D&D in high school because it seemed like it was the exact opposite of a competitive game. I was a wussy, non-competitive kid who didn’t like sports, who grew up to be a wussy, non-competitive adult who doesn’t like sports. 

On the other hand, I like to think of myself as a minimalist when it comes to game design and game aesthetics  If you’ve looked at the character sheets I’ve made, I like things to generally all fit on just ONE page, but also not appear cluttered. The idea that you could fit an entire D&D character onto two or three small cards is incredibly appealing to me. 

Maybe it’d break down like this:

  • One card for stats (abilities, defenses, health)
  • One card for combat (attacks, weapons, armour)
  • One card for description (skills, description, experience)

That’d be your entire character sheet! Just three small cards. Then, you could have additional cards that only certain players would have, or that would be handed out by the dungeon master:

  • Magic spell cards for magic users (Big spells like sleep, burning hands, cure light wounds, etc)
  • Magic item and treasure cards (cards for the DM to hand out to players)
  • Monster cards (All the stats/details of a monster, all on a simple card!)

Now, this idea might be horrible, and is probably very similar to existing deck building games. I just think it’s interesting and that it might save time at the table. No fuss or muss when it comes to remembering who has what item, or where on your character sheet it says such and such. Plus, it might be easier/interesting for dungeon masters to have a deck of monsters at their fingertips, rather than having to copy down monster info on scratch paper over and over.

Like and Reblog if this is an idea that appeals to you.

Tags: cards DIY dungeon master D&D D&D Encounters Thornwatch Magic the Gathering gaming CCG dnd Dungeons and Dragons Dungeons & Dragons