Saturday, January 15, 2011

D&D the CCG

For the past week or so, there has been all manner of discussion, consternation, speculation and downright adject horror over some announcements that Wizards of the Coast has made regarding the future of their numerous product lines.  The timing of these announcements makes me wonder if WotC has any kind of Public Relations person in their office, but that’s beyond the scope of this article. 

First, there’s Fortune Cards, which will be a mandatory part of certain RPGA events and optional for others. 

Second, they dropped a few books out of their upcoming product releases, and pushed back another that I had been very much looking forward to. 

Third, they will stop compiling Dungeon and Dragon articles into monthly releases and will change how they release articles in both sections of the website. 

Fourth, they are discontinuing D&D Minis. 

Damn.  Did I miss anything? 

Oh yeah, our horoscope signs are now all different.  I’m a Leo instead of a Virgo and I have found this changes my entire outlook on life. 

There hasn’t been this much flaming and NerdRage around the ‘nets since 4E was released.  I know I’m opening a can of worms here by even broaching this topic, but I’m going to take a different tack with it. 

I’ve been using custom-printed cards for my D&D game for almost a year now, and I love them.  I have cards for action points, feats, powers, items, gems, quests, handouts, NPCs, initiative, and PC portraits and character quick-sheets, all made using a program called Magic Set Editor.  I also got Weem's condition cards, which have been very helpful in combat.

I can’t put up all of the cards I’ve made, because I’ve brazenly stolen all the artwork, but here are some examples of what I’m talking about. 

Action Points and Monster Initiative Cards

Feats, Abilities, Items

PC Cards

This works very well for our group.  D&D 4E is such a complex game for PCs, with so many feats and powers and abilities interacting, that it is often difficult to keep everything straight.  And we kept finding bugs in the character builder that kept things from adding up correctly, so we’ve taken to doing it all ourselves.  Having the cards to put down to actually “stack” your effects is great.  So, yeah, I can see D&D 4E going the way of the Collectible Card Game, and I can see it working pretty well. 

Just look at the Castle Ravenloft Board Game for more examples.  That game comes with some 200 cards for powers, items, and monsters.  There is another game, “Wrath of Ashardalon” being released in about a month that will have more of the same.  In fact, there will apparently be some overlap between the two. I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest to see booster packs, new PC classes, new quests, etc. for the D&D Board Game System being released sometime during the summer or fall.  In fact, I would welcome it.

Dungeons and Dragons will continue to lead the way in the RPG industry, as it has for years.  Hell, people are still copying the things they published in the Seventies!  There will always be people that like things the old-fashioned, original way, and there will always be people who enjoy the next big thing.  I'll take the best of both worlds, thank you.  


  1. Tools like these for helping play the game are perfect. You're right, 4E is a complex game. I think the "sweet spot" would be levels 6-12. That is where my group has the most fun.

  2. Thanks Charisma! There is definitely a sweet spot in the upper half of the Heroic tier, when you get enough different powers to feel like you have plenty of options to handle any scenario, but aren't totally overwhelmed with too many choices in combat.