If you’re reading this, you have access to the internet. And if you have access to the internet, you have free access to random generators for anything you can imagine: characters, treasures and much more.
But we feel that Concept Cards offer something uniquely valuable, which is why we make them. So I’d like to take today’s post to explain a few of the things that make Concept Cards special.
Everyone knows that tabletop roleplayers tend to prefer physical tools to digital ones, but it’s not always obvious why.
Why roll dice when you could use an RNG? Why meet in person when you could roleplay online?
In the end I think it really comes down to a combination of emotional investment and the avoidance of distractions.
Emotional investment relies on constant connection with the game, and the more senses and sensations that can be tied into that the better. Audio is almost a given, as long as conversation stays on track, and tactile is often provided by dice, but visual is easily broken by looking at computer screens that contain far more than the relevant information.
In my experience gaming groups are easily distracted things, going off on tangents at a moment’s notice, and every additional link to the world outside of the group is another opportunity for things to get distracted. So Concept Cards help by being their own discreet thing, a single unit that can’t distract.
Physical objects are also easier to read for most people. Screens aren’t generally optimised for text, unless it’s something akin to a Kindle, they have more glare from their internal lighting than is desirable – especially when you want to look away from them.
While online random generators can be used on a phone and handed round, it’s significantly easier to hand around a playing card, and the upside down secret means that the players don’t have to deliberately avoid reading too far – it takes active effort to get information they’re not meant to.
They’re Complete, Consistent Concepts
While the cards can be randomly combined to make new concepts, each card in itself is a fully realised concept that holds together. Most random generators use simple formulas that produce a set of unconnected phrases linked together into a sentence, leaving all the details for you to fill out while others provide details that simply don’t work together.
With Concept Cards you’ll always have a consistent concept, where the twists are often unexpected but always somehow appropriate. They’re detailed and interesting enough that many people pick up the digital versions just to browse through all the different ideas.
They’re Multi Purpose
In the end, Concept Cards are more than just concepts – they’re playing cards. And not just any playing cards – each deck has a unique game that ties into its theme and the four suited values, making for fun diversions when a key player can’t make it to the game.
Check out the rules sheets in the Mixed Deck here