Going Back to the Well…

Courtesy of Chris Sims, we have news of Fortune Cards, Wizards of the Coast’s newest innovation for Dungeons and Dragons’ Essentials. In a nutshell, we have a slew of new options for players’ PCs to use during combat in a format Wizards knows best – randomized, collectible cards.

For those of you familiar with how Gamma World plays, Fortune Cards work in a similar manner. For those of you who haven’t played Gamma World (And why haven’t you?), the Fortune Cards are grouped together in a deck for an individual player to make use before and during a combat encounter. At the start of the encounter, the players who have assembled a deck of Fortune Cards draws from that deck and puts them into play during the encounter, affecting the outcome of the combat.

As both a player and a GM, I find the idea behind these cards to be novel, but unnecessary and unwanted. I don’t need any more options open to me as a player and as a GM, that’s doubly so. PCs in 4th Edition already have a plethora of options available to them and the addition of the cards can only bog down 4th Edition combat. Perhaps this is a different set of circumstances for players using Essentials PCs. Maybe they need the extra options, I don’t know – I haven’t played an Essentials PC yet.

Additionally, I object to the artificiality of the rarity of the cards, a complaint I had about the cards for Gamma World. There’s no reason for these cards to have a rarity assigned to them. The only reason to do this is to sell cards. And I understand that this is the point behind being a business, to sell us things, but why can’t they sell us a complete set of the cards to buy in one go? The whole business stinks of Magic the Gathering, a great game that I once played but stepped away from after it became too expensive to keep up with the many and frequent updates to the card sets. I can see this becoming a problem in a similar vein – you get the players who love to “win” despite playing D&D, with more money than sense and a willingness to buy Fortune Card singles to tune their decks for ultimate win. It may be a proclamation of doom and gloom, but I can see it happening. Especially in the D&D Encounters crowd.

I’m not against the idea of adding in a randomizing element to an encounter. In fact, I’m all for it but I would rather see something in the vein of Wizards_DnD‘s #dndenc Tweets. I’ve used these tweets in my home game and in the Encounter sessions I’ve run and I really think they have a positive change to the game, making it fun for all involved and not just for an individual player(s).

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~ by Xer0 on 4 January, 2011.

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