Skip to content

Cartomancy: A RPG, A Card Game, An Open Source Toolbox on Kickstarter

Smoke and Mirrors Games is running a Kickstarter for Cartomancy, their new game that's a bit of everything. There's an RPG, a card game, and a toolbox for creating encounters, worlds, and characters. They bill the game as "RPGs if Gary Gygax had been obsessed with cards." You can roll a die any number of times, but once you play a card, it's gone until you reshuffle. So you must make that hard decision to play the card, knowing it might not be back for a while.
The campaign is set to run for another 22 days.

From the campaign:

Take a modern roleplaying game and deconstruct it. Take away all the trappings that we think of as essential for RPGs because of tradition: dice, statistics, equipment, even in some cases the GM. From the pure core of fantasy that remains, tempered by game rules, create something new with completely new assumptions: that is the process that created Cartomancy.

Cartomancy is a card-based roleplaying game. This doesn’t mean that you simply substitute cards for dice in resolving mechanics—although that is true, so far as it goes. More importantly, the conventions of card games—hand management, straights, kitties, trumps, window cards, widows and all the rest—form some of the most basic conventions of Cartomancy.

This means that it it plays differently than a dice-based game. A die can be rolled an infinite number of times, whereas a card can be played but once, making every action a sacrifice. You never know what a die will show before it is cast, but when the cards are dealt at the beginning of a Cartomancy scene all of the luck is in place and it is up to the players to see if their hands will win or lose. As cards are fundamentally different than dice, so is Cartomancy fundamentally different from other RPGs.