D&D Flushed Down the Toilet by Wizard of the Coast

Posted by Labyrinthian in , ,

I hate collectible games.  I've tried to get into them, but it just never works out.  I played magic for a while, but dropped it because I didn't have the money to really compete with the other kids who had a lot of money.  I played HeroClix for a while, but that soured too.  I just don't like games where the playing field is slanted in favor of those who are willing and able to just continually throw money at the game.  

That's something I've always liked about RPGs including D&D.  Having more money didn't present you with any kind of real advantage.  You might have cooler looking dice, or more books, but everyone plays on a level playing field.  

Not anymore.  

Wizards recently announced their new line of products, collectible cards for your 4e D&D game.  Called, "Fortune Cards," this really heralds the death knell for D&D as we knew it.  We can squabble over editions all we want, but this is a real rift between what we have known as a roleplaying game.  

From the announcement:

Fortune Cards are available in 8-card booster packs with differing levels of rarity (common, uncommon, and rare), and serve as another avenue for excitement at the game table. Players can crack open boosters of cards just prior to participating in a game session, or come to their game with pre-built decks. With each booster, a player’s tactical options for their character during the game alter and expand in interesting new ways. Integrated into all Wizards Play Network programs and other D&D organized play games in 2011, Fortune Cards create an instant, inexpensive purchase for players on the day of a D&D event at your store. For players playing at home, Fortune Card decks can be customized to suit a player’s character in an ongoing campaign as well. Players can also collect and trade cards with their friends as they build their Fortune Card decks.

I really was in disbelief when I read it, but I probably shouldn't have been.   I went so far as to check my calendar to make sure it wasn't one of those online April Fool's Day jokes.  

No folks, this is for real.  D&D is official branching out into the collectible card game arena.  

Now obviously WotC can't put a gun to your head and make you use them.  But if you want to play D&D in organized play the cards will be there.  Would you sit down at a table and be the only one who didn't have a set of cards?  I wouldn't.  Why would I want to play in a game where I couldn't be an equal with the other party members because I hadn't put together a deck for my character?  That doesn't sound fun to me.  Hell, you may even be required to a deck to play in some games aimed at more "experienced" players. 

Many 4e players are already saying that they want nothing to do with these ridiculous cards.  So now it seems that a rift between 4e players is all but inevitable.  There will be those who favor the cards and will be willing to spend obscene amounts of money on them (just like any other collectible game) and there will be those who feel that D&D should be an RPG but a collectible card game.  What do you do if half of your group feels one way and half feels another?  I don't think a game can succeed with only some of the players reaping the benefits of these cards.  Even if your group all wants to play with cards what do you do with inequities among the group's financial situations.  One player may have a ton of disposable income and go nuts buying entire sets of these cards, building a deck that "pwns" while another member may be broke and only able to afford a booster or two.  

The question now remains, what is D&D becoming?  Is it changing into something else, more of a card game like Magic the Gathering?  Or is it becoming more of a board game with a hand of cards, miniatures and a board?  I'm not sure, but with these cards it sure isn't an RPG the way we have previously defined them. 

This entry was posted on Thursday, January 06, 2011 at Thursday, January 06, 2011 and is filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .



I'm sticking with my 10-product-only Essentials edition (4.1E?).

Anything I want to adapt or bolt-on will be from these items only.

Cards?! We don't need no stickin' cards!

January 6, 2011 at 2:10 PM

This makes my recent post about how WotC has screwed the D&D brand look quite precient.

January 6, 2011 at 2:27 PM

This is just pathetic.

Someone just shoot D&D, it's like a dying patient just waiting to be euthanized.

Just put it out of its misery.

January 6, 2011 at 2:34 PM

I dont want anything to do with those card and will not be allowing them in my game.

January 6, 2011 at 2:51 PM
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
January 6, 2011 at 3:16 PM

My games already have fortune cards.

They're called The Deck of Many Things!

I love the elephant pic...


January 6, 2011 at 3:17 PM

Thankfully, D&D is far from the only RPG these days, there are a lot of other games that are more D&Desque than WotC's take on it. D&D no longer is owned by WotC, after 3.5 and the OGL, many other games closer to what D&D really is about now abound.

January 6, 2011 at 3:52 PM

Oh please. Check your history before you start decrying that it's being destroyed.

D&D has has a long history with offering cards in one form or another. AD&D had the Wizard and Priest's Spell Cards. We had collectible AD&D trading cards in 1991. I've still got my sets in storage. That's just the two biggest examples. D&D has flirted with card formats in many ways before, both in collectible and non-collectible forms.

This is nothing new, nothing ground breaking and it's not going to destroy the game. Check yer facts.

January 6, 2011 at 5:20 PM

PS: It's Magic: the Gathering, you should probably at least sound like you know what you're talking about when you make posts full of elephant shit.

January 6, 2011 at 5:37 PM

Good article. I hadn't heard about these. Sound like even more trash that Hasbro is pushing Wizards into. At least that's what it sounds like to me.

@Greywulf: Maybe you should check your facts. Those cards were never required to play. According to the Wizards press release these cards will be for some games at conventions and local "official" games. For other you will just be left behind if you don't have them. So let's not pretend like this is the same as those dumb collectible cards from the early 90s.

January 6, 2011 at 5:51 PM

What a pathetic, miserable and hateful grognard comment about the implement of a rules mechanic that isn't even out yet.
If you don't like the prospect, ok, but don't go around telling you hate it JUST BECAUSE YOU DISLIKE THE METHOD OF DELIVERY.

Gah, i bet you belong to the same group of people that hate GW even without reading the rules AT ALL.

January 6, 2011 at 5:59 PM

"I just don't like games where the playing field is slanted in favor of those who are willing and able to just continually throw money at the game."

Well said sir.

January 6, 2011 at 6:11 PM

Mr Anderson, yes these are "same as those dumb collectible cards from the early 90s.". They're dumb. They're collectible. They're cards.

Don't like em? Don't buy 'em. If you think they will add to your game, great. If not, don't (or get them for the collectible element alone). Simple, really.

I agree that WoTC's decision to make their purchase a requirement for playing in the next run of local games is a mistake, but I hardly think that it's going to bring about the downfall of Wizards of The Coast. Not this nor any other month.

January 6, 2011 at 6:22 PM

The advantage of playing a home-brew variant is that if I don't think a product has compelling value, I don't need it. If I really want cards, I'll make them.

Now will this be the end-times for D&D? No. Do I think it's wrong to require them for organized play? Yes. I thank it's the last part that rankles people. If these were just another accessory most people wouldn't even notice.

January 6, 2011 at 7:17 PM

Your comment about not being able to play if you don't have a deck... draw from the deck of the guy next to you. Last I heard D&D was a cooperative game. Who is going to tell you "NO! If it isn't your deck, you can't touch it!!" That is BS. I highly doubt anybody is going to deny a player without cards the use of his or her own cards, especially when the cards are not getting used all that frequently. If this is anything like Gamma World, you aren't going to be using more than maybe 3 cards per person per encounter. Say you buy 5 boosters, that is 40 cards, that means that you go through less than 10% of a deck in a single encounter. Friends, it is time to learn how to SHARE!!

January 6, 2011 at 8:44 PM

Couple short clarifications:
1.) Not necessary, any more than any supplement is.
2.) I'm guessing you don't know what a CCG is.
3.) I'm guessing you don't play 4th edition.
4.) This has been done many times before. It is actually just a rip-off of Paizo's GameMastery Cards for Pathfinder /3.5
5.) You are entitled to your opinion, and if I had thought you have purchased Wizards of the Coasts products instead of just complaining about them, I'd suggest you vote with your money.

January 7, 2011 at 11:03 AM

Greywulf: check YOUR facts. Never before could you buy your way to a better and more powerful D&D character.

January 7, 2011 at 12:56 PM

One thing I'm noticing all over online, people are saying how terrible it is that the cards will be a required purchase for certain games. I'm guessing these will be like the "sealed deck" Magic games, in which you will choose to play specifically for the challenge of dealing with a random new deck during play. That's probably why WotC says they will be aimed at experienced players.

January 7, 2011 at 12:59 PM


"Never before could you buy your way to a better and more powerful D&D character."

*cough* *splutter* Really?? Never??

I have a bookshelf full of AD&D Handbooks and countless Third Edition supplements that say otherwise. That these are in card rather than book format is neither here nor there.

I'm dropping off this comment thread now. Too many stupid people saying too many stupid things for my tastes.

January 7, 2011 at 4:23 PM

@Greywulf - thank budda. This thread will be a lot less ignorant without you spreading your foolishness.

@labyrinthian - great pic... Very appropriate!

January 8, 2011 at 9:48 PM

Splatbooks are similar, but not the same. Money is spent on something useless, but if the DM adds it to the game, everyone has the option.

With these cards, for the first time I know of, it seems like spending more actually gives an advantage. Before, if you didn't have the book, the dm did, if you didn't have the mini, use a skittle. (I know nothing about the Pathfinder cards)

January 18, 2011 at 8:47 PM

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