Playing Cards Universal

“Blood-soaked spears bring glory to the Redhand Conspiracy. Dried spears bring the daunting glares of superior officers. Carry a flask of boar’s lifeblood to make it seem as though the kills never stop.”

Spotted on the Free Kriegsspiel Revival Discord:

When a player does something, draw cards from a deck: 1 card if unskilled, 2 cards if skilled, 3 cards if expert. Keep the highest. Draw for the difficulty: 1 card if easy, 2 cards if medium, 3 cards if hard. Keep the highest. Higher card wins.

Aces high, suit order as you choose. (Personally: clubs, spades, hearts, diamonds, ala Sheepshead).

What’s nice?

  • Everyone has a deck of playing cards.
  • Plenty of customize options (Star Wars playing cards, Cyberpunk playing cards, etc)
  • They’re more mobile than dice (play in the car, on a walk, etc).
  • No chance of ties.
  • Scales really well.

That last point, has me convinced that this would work well with a supers game. “Power Rank: 7” means draw seven cards. You could fight villains that draw 20 cards. You always have a chance, which you might not with standard “dice + modifier” systems.

Could also do simple large-scale battles to: “Army with a power of 11 versus and army with a power of 16.” Draw that many cards. Done.

Cards will ALWAYS make me think Westerns, so there’s that.

Could do some fun things with the suit as well: “If you win a contest with a spade, then X effect happens.” Maybe players can choose which card, turning it more into a push-your-luck. “I drew an 8 of spades and a 10 of clubs. If I choose the spade and win, I’ll get a cool effect but it is riskier…”

I may use this in Blades in the Dark going forward, which doesn’t have *great* rules for conflict between players or between factions. Just have them draw cards equal to their rating. If they win with a red suit, treat it as a 4 or 5, the “yes, but” option.

Simple resolution so you can focus on the WORLD, not the RULES.

7 thoughts on “Playing Cards Universal

  1. If you use this for a combat with 4 PCs and 5 monsters.

    When do you shuffle?
    After every combat round or every PC and/or monster attack?

    1. I shuffle constantly. When I use playing decks in other systems like Blades in the Dark, I’m shuffle the deck as a fun habit. Some players find it calming, others unnerving.

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