I have had a bit of a fascination with card deck vs dice based rpgs for the last year. There is a rather strange game called ABS12 (A Basic System 12) which is all based around d12 rolls. D12s give a relatively large number of possible outcomes without having to have a bell curve of probabilities. Another consequence of this is that you can play the game by drawing cards from a standard deck of playing cards. The ace, 2-10, hack, queen, king give 13 outcomes. Discard the Kings and you have a pack of d12 rolls.
ABS12 is a very strange minimalist system. I helped with the play testing and I cannot say I particularly like it. Characters have just a single stat and everything is derived from that. You need a lot of imagination to play the game. If you are familiar with solo role playing then it is a perfectly viable writing aid. Ken Wickham, the author, shared several of his solo adventures. Check out his World of the Fifth Sun blog for more.
While I am not really keen on ABS12 the idea of using a pack of playing cards as part of the game engine does appeal.
Back in 1998 I was just beginning high school (my apologies to any of you who now feel particularly old), and a friend of mine introduced me to this crazy little CCG called Middle Earth: The Wizards by the sadly fading Iron Crown Enterprises. I was well-versed in collectible card games at this point in time; I’d been playing Magic: The Gathering since the Revised Edition, played Netrunner whenever I could find someone with cards, and—though I am loathe to admit it—even spent some time attempting to convince a few friends to get into the ill-fated Sim City CCG.
MECCG was rather different from these, as I recall. You had a deck, sure, but from it you would assemble parties of characters, and they would travel to various locations around Middle Earth, collecting artifacts and attempting to find allies that would assist them in the eventual battle against Sauron. It was pretty epic stuff.
Unfortunately the game ceased production not long after I started playing. I had a reasonable collection of cards, but I’m uncertain what happened to them. I very well may have thrown them away when I moved to college. File that under Things I Greatly Regret.
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