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Do you know of any cases of successfully using props or cards from board games/card games (all kinds) to run a campaign, ease preparing for a session or the playing itself?

I am interested both in your personal stories and things documented on the internet (my google-fu was weak in this case).


Just for an example, I've once used the character cards from Arkham Horror to play a short horror session with my girlfriend which was a lot of fun to both of us.

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The only thing I use for props are maps. Good question though. I'd like to see what other people have to say. –  Roflo Oct 27 '12 at 20:27
    
One of the classic examples is how original D&D advised using Avalon Hill's Outdoor Survival board for wilderness travel/adventures. –  SevenSidedDie Oct 28 '12 at 5:39
    
You may want to take a look at Everway.. It uses cards as artistic props for character creation and as has a tarot-like deck as part of it's task-resolution system, –  Gaxx Oct 30 '12 at 8:46
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We're closing this question because, while it's a good question in general it lacks the necessary standing to make a good answerable question. Due to the number of answers, we don't anticpiate reopening it. However, Maurycy, I encourage you to use the answers from this question to write a new question that poses a specific event or category of events that you think could be solved via board/card inputs. –  Brian Ballsun-Stanton Oct 31 '12 at 0:15
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closed as not constructive by edgerunner, Iszi, Oblivious Sage, C. Ross Oct 31 '12 at 0:14

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8 Answers

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Successfully using props or cards from board games/card games (all kinds) to run a campaign

Not to run a campaign really, although pieces from a Monopoly game or other game serve as more enjoyable map counters than pennies and nickels.

Ease preparing for a session

Definitely. I love my Tarot deck, and find that including it where randomness is concerned in the plot is quite fun and saves on time devoted to overcoming writer's block. What kind of character will they meet to pass along the information? Drew the High Priestess. What kind of challenge do they need to help the lord with for him to help them? Drew the inverted Fool. Since they're more prompts for me than divination tools, it's much easier for me because my creativity works best when I can make something from something, instead of something from nothing.

Or the playing itself?

Yes. Invented a card game for play with normal cards and not only is it played in casinos and bars for cash, but connoisseurs also will gamble more useful things with it. My party won a few horses and saved some cash, and in the next town the really useful rumors are going to be around that card table. Can't stay if you're not playing, and have to have either a lot of money or a little luck to keep playing. It's a good way to bring in strengths from other activities (like cards) to shine in DnD. Easy, too, because not everyone can reward the excellent marksman at the table with games of skill in their field because not everyone has a target in their backyard.

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Do you know any resources on the internet about using Tarot cards for RPGs? How to draw them, interpret, use, et cetera? –  Maurycy Zarzycki Oct 28 '12 at 9:18
    
rider-waite-tarotcards.com/major-arcana, free-tarot-card-readings.net/major-arcana-1.html, llewellyn.com/journal/article/1528, ifate.com/tarot_index.html, cards.tarotsmith.com/spreads.html found on a Google search, for starters :) It's something I've done for years but for this purpose I usually just use a single card spread as it's enough to get the juices flowing for me. Horseshoe Spread or The Cross on the last page might do well actually :) –  LitheOhm Oct 28 '12 at 19:34
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I don't know about "ease preparing" a session, but I had a three year game where I used all kinds of things like this (board games, card games, dice games, games I just made up off the top of my head...). Almost every session we would have some "downtime" where we would all eat dinner in character, and we would usually have a mini-game. In my experience, it was a huge hit. The players loved the little break.

It also got them to flesh out their characters even more. When the only roleplay occurs during moments of battle, suspense, or seriousness, then a whole side of that character gets neglected.

Of course, the sessions for this game were very long (usually Friday night through Sunday morning), so we had time to do things like this. But even if you don't have a ton of time, it's not hard to throw in a quick 10 minute interlude to play slots, a quick game of blackjack, or something like that, give some in-game rewards (or penalties), and move on. For a good example of this, there are lots of James Bond-like films that have the secret agent playing a game of Poker or Blackjack while talking to another agent or other contact (posing as a card dealer, of course), winning quickly with a stroke of genious, and moving on throughout the casino to go find the nefarious mob...

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+1 for in-character group activities :) sounds like a blast –  LitheOhm Oct 27 '12 at 21:47
    
I ran a Serenity game where the PCs played Faro in a saloon. I learned, taught, and dealt Faro for the PCs. It was James Bond-ish in that they were trying to make some contacts over the Faro table, too. –  gomad Oct 30 '12 at 17:10
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I've found that certain pieces from various games can be of excellent use in getting ideas for play.

The best example is that the location and adventure cards from Fortune and Glory are a wonderful inspiration for Spirit of the Century.

The location cards from Risk or Supremacy are excellent for generating places for post 1700 AD adventures and/or origins, and by subsetting, can be used in other games.

The mission cards from Avalon Hill's Wizards can be used for inspiration in many fantasy settings.

I've often used counters from various games to run combats in Traveller and Star Trek RPG, as well as others.

And that's before accounting for the use of interrelated games...

I have helped friends run Mechwarrior campaigns using Battleforce2 and Succession Wars to generate the ongoing metaplot. SW was used to generate the large scale stuff, BF2 to resolve other theaters on world, and Mechwarrior and Battletech to resolve the character and tactical elements; such integration is in fact suggested in the games.

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There was a small board game (I can't find the name but if I do I'll edit the post) I used to play where the players were traders trying to sell magic items to adventurers. The game had plastic coins of different size coloured in gold, silver and copper as an in game currency. The coins game in a nice leather purse.

We used them when we roleplayed in a tavern and the players wanted to pay they had to give me the actual money. We also used it for gambling games. It really helps because you see what you bet in a game.

I never actually prepared a game with board game materials but I could see Warhammer use Chaos of the Old world board game (where you play the role of the Chaos gods) as an inspiration of events that could happen in an RPG campaign.

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I just supported a kickstarter (Story Forge) that has some great cards along the lines of tarot cards, but geared towards creating characters and plots. It also has some hints for using them for surprise scenarios during the game using certain spreads to maximize conflict. I used the "Train Crash" conflict when I had one PC that was because of their sponsor and goals in secret conflict with the other players.

In addition to this, I adapted the TORG cards to a GURPS game that I was running a while back, and the players liked having the added depth that these added.

Story Cards is also a good supplement to any RPG, because of the ideas that it engenders; it's an RPG by itself, but I find that the cards are useful in situations similar to the Story Forge cards I mention above, but it takes a bit more interpretation and adaptation.

In general, the way that you talked about using the Arkham Horror cards seem to be the best use that I've found for any game props outside of standard RPG game props- to help spur imagination, and to introduce surprises. It helps to keep things fresh, and really helps to keep the GM from burning out as they take a bit of the prep off of his hands.

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There are games that have this built-in. I.e.:

  • Shotgun Diaries
  • Savage Worlds (both the adventure deck, action cards and bennies concepts)
  • New Gamma World (random mutation cards)

There are several equipment cards available online (I am particularly fond of these, as it's easier for players to feel the lost of equipment by taking a card from them, with the added benefit of having the stats on a good looking piece of paper).

I also have used Mage Knight miniatures profusely during gameplay, since they are almost the right scale for standard 1" grid maps.

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I don't think stuff that is already part of the roleplaying game counts for the purposes of this question. –  SevenSidedDie Oct 30 '12 at 15:19
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In addition to Savage Worlds, the original Deadlands game utilized a regular deck of cards for everything from character creation to combat. That, along with using poker chips as XP, was definitely a nice way of adding to the setting and feel of the game.

Paranoia XP also has quite a few props that you can use that I feel also bolster the feel of the game and improve the enjoyment of playing.

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I don't think stuff that is already part of the roleplaying game counts for the purposes of this question. –  SevenSidedDie Oct 30 '12 at 15:19
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Not exactly, but I've come close.

I really like painting minis. I've got a pretty sizeable collection of them. Naturally I like using them when I GM. Instead of making an enemy and picking the most similar miniature, I've reversed the process. I pick a mini and then come up with stats to represent it. I happen to like it when the minis match the stats and I don't have to tell the players to pretend the guys with swords all have bows.

Anyway, the point isn't that I've used minis as a basis for game characters. It's that I took something as inspiration and built D&D stats to represent that something. I could have used monster cards from Munchkin just as easily. I don't see any reason why this wouldn't work with source material that isn't painted minis.

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