Game Mechanics 102: The Fate Deck

Seeing how I started exploring a few of our mechanics I figured I’d keep going a bit. This short entry will detail our Fate Deck and how its used in the game.

So what is the Fate Deck in our game? Well to bring it back a step, in our game we wanted players to be able to advance their characters, grow them and see them change over the course of an expedition or campaign. To do this we wanted the characters to be able to receive injuries – major, minor or even permanent death. This is done in a quite a few games we enjoyed playing such as Mordheim and XCOM. This inspired our original Injury Deck, which players would draw from whenever a model received more damage than they had health. The trouble was it fell completely flat when we used it the first time. The idea behind it was right but the implementation wasn’t so hot. It left us feeling very ‘meh’ and didn’t really add anything.

After a few choice suggestions by our small group of play testers, the deck has evolved into something much more interesting and something that feels like its meant to be there. We renamed it to be the Fate Deck because it holds the fate of your character whenever you turn over the top card. Also the name ‘Fate’ sounds a lot more thematic than the injury deck. As before, players turn over the top card whenever their character has taken more damage than they have health left, this is currently known as ‘Gambling with Fate’. There is about a 33% chance that the player will catch a ‘Lucky Break’ card and the character will miraculously survive the attack thanks to a conveniently placed whisky flask or some such cliché. The rest of the deck consists of cards that will take you out of the current game but can also inflict temporary effects to the start of your next game (Jinxed), permanently injure your character (ill Fated) or even out right kill them (Out of Luck). With these changes the deck feels much tighter and more entertaining, while also achieving our goal of giving our gangs more character with these funny and interesting injuries.

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