Friday, 25 October 2013

Artscow review: custom card decks for Longstreet and Blood & Sand

Card-driven games as not to everyone's taste and while some people loathe them, I love them. I sometimes think this dislike of card-based rules is something of a knee-jerk reaction as there are as many ways to use cards in a game as there are rules out there. For example, cards are at the heart of Sam Mustafa's Longstreet ACW rules, governing turn sequence, activations and impacting the effect of the units' actions while they play an entirely different role in Real Time Wargames' Blood & Sand colonial Sudan rules where they determine game length and the arrival of Mahdist units. Games from the Toofatlardies or Piquet stables again use cards in a very different manner.

While I like card-driven games because I find they usually give a good feel for the uncertainty of battlefield friction, the one thing I dislike is figuring out the effect of that Queen of Spades by looking it up in the rules. Or cutting up loads of cards from a PDF printout. Enter Hong Kong-based Artscow (a similar service is provided by Printer Studio in the US), an online company that allows you to print your own images on everything from mugs, key chains and blankets to... cards. These 54 card decks come in different flavours: