Review: SWADE Cards

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Hmm, what should appear in my Kickstarter downloads last week but three sets of cards for Savage Worlds Adventure Edition; the Adventure Deck, the Power Cards, and the Status Cards.

Adventure Deck: A cover, a set of card backs, and 56 cards at 8 to the page; two are blank for your own use, one explains the rules for using them. At the start of the session, each PC is dealt as many cards as their Rank (so 3 for Heroic) and keeps one, discarding the rest. They can then play their card at the point of their choice during the session to invoke that card’s effect. Some of these are mechanical (Last Stand grants the hero and all allies within 10 yards +2 Parry and Toughness until the next Joker is dealt), some narrative (Love Interest is played on an NPC you encounter to make them attracted to your hero). I especially like Villainous Verbosity, which forces an opposing Wild Card to miss a turn while he explains his master plan to you. The narrative effects are the sort of thing you could now trigger by expending a Benny, the mechanical effects look like they would make combat even more swingy and unpredictable than before. I’ve dithered about getting the various adventure decks for some years, but now this one has fallen in my lap, I’ll have to try it at some point. Maybe run a session or two without it first, to get used to the new rules.

Power Cards: Cover, card backs, and 56 cards, of which two are blank for your own use. Each card provides the information on one Power; cost, range, duration, effect description, and the extra effects that can now be bought by spending extra power. Currently I use homebrew character sheets, and each character with an arcane background has a section with that info in it; I like the idea of giving them cards instead. Fortunately, at the moment each party only has one person who needs them, but since this is a PDF I could always print a second set. I suspect this is the deck that will get the most use long-term. Maybe I should whip up something similar for Edges and Hindrances too?

Status Cards: Same story as Power Cards really, but for conditions. I like this deck as well and can see it getting a lot of short-term use, until the group and I are all used to the expanded range of conditions in SWADE. The deck contains 11 Wounded cards, 12 Shaken cards, 11 Fatigue, 5 Distracted, 5 Vulnerable, and two each for Entangled, Bound, Stunned, Hold, Aim and Defend. I will have to remember that some status conditions trigger others, for example if Bound you are also Distracted and Vulnerable.

The status card download also came with a sheet of status tokens, small disks to cut out and presumably place on the tabletop near your minis; 8 Wounded, 9 Shaken, 8 Fatigue, 4 Distracted, 4 Vulnerable, and two each of Aim, Defend, Entangled, Bound and Hold. These I may replace with homebrewed square tokens which will be a lot easier to cut out.

Overall, these are things I would not have bought on their own, but now I have them I expect to use all the card decks at least once, and I could see the Power and Status Decks being a regular addition to my games. The Adventure Deck looks like fun, but may be less useful at my table – YMMV.

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