Sunday, March 23, 2014

Location Cards: Review and Use

I just got three decks of location cards from a well run Kickstarter.  My first thoughts is that they are fantastic.  Rather than dice, I can grab a deck for a hex crawl or urban crawl and let the cards fall where they may.

Delivery & Communication

On time and great communication ... Nice.


Production & Presentation

The cards are standard playing card size and packed with information.  In addition to the normal playing card stuff (3 of hearts, 7 of diamonds, etc) each card has a location, short blurb about the location, and 4 additional aspects.  There are instructions for use and each deck has a game associated with them, but those are fairly weak and without interest.  But I didn't get them for the extra mini games.If you are using these on the fly they can be a bit much to read, but that is pretty minor.

Use Example
The party is wandering in the Tumbledown of Aldsburg in the Lions' Tower.  I grab the top two cards of the urban deck for the defining features of the area they have wandered into:

[6♠] Clockmaker's Store
[9♣] The City Walls

Without reading any more text on the cards, this neighborhood is against the tower walls looking out over the mountainside - a steep drop that would ensure death to those unlucky enough to stumble or lean or simply be in the wrong place when a local gang wanders by.  The neighborhood has a large clock dominating the square and there are several strange devices and automatau as well as several people with clockwork aspects (limbs, braces, and so on).  The clockmaker is rumored to have dismantled a Bronze Warrior of Shun Kai in his workshop.

I'll draw 2 more cards for some flavor using the additional text

[3♥] Rats, Lots of Rats
[2♦] High Quality Marble

The neighborhood is incredibly run down - the tower face crumbling and the walls open.  Rats of all sizes roam the neighborhood and infest everything.  Only a few residents remain.  Those that do are most likely harvesting the high quality marble that once adorned much of this district to resell elsewhere.  The structural integrity of this tower spur is suspect at best.

One more card for a secret.

[J♥] Secret: Identify Theft

Again, not even reading the actual text, this is obviously the refuge of a gang of thieves who, obviously Hollow and run by a Mind Wizard, are slowly stealing people and replacing them with false men who are under the gang's control.  The revolution is coming ... at least here in Lion's Tower.

There ... that took about 5 minutes and was fun.  At 52 cards plus 2 jokers there are 1.3 MILLION MILLION combinations with a 5 card draw like that ... and we have only looked at 1 of 3 decks.


Summary

These are awesome.  They can be used straight out of the box by a clever GM and even a not-so-clever GM can use them with a little extra effort.  Excellent job, gents.  I look forward to not only using these but supporting further Kickstarter project from you.

Score Card
Delivery: 3/3 [on time and as advertised]
Production: 2/3 [no frills, good art, packed, a bit tough to read]
Use: 4/3 [easy to use and a myriad of options]
Will I Use It: 1/1 [yep - without a doubt]
Total Score: 10/10