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interests / rec.games.frp.dnd / [Polygon] D&D’s Deck of Many Things is an experiment that failed at the wrong time

SubjectAuthor
* [Polygon] D&D’s Deck of Many Things is an experiment that failed at the wrong tiSmaug
+* Re: [Polygon] D&D?s Deck of Many Things is an experiment that failed at the wronSpalls Hurgenson
|+- Re: [Polygon] D&Ds Deck of Many Things is an experiment that failed at the wrongkyonshi
|`* Re: [Polygon] D&D's Deck of Many Things is an experiment that failed at the wronUbiquitous
| `* Re: [Polygon] D&D's Deck of Many Things is an experiment that failed at the wrongbbgu
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 `- Re: [Polygon] D&D’s Deck of Many Things is an experiment that failed at the wronJustisaur

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[Polygon] D&D’s Deck of Many Things is an experiment that failed at the wrong time

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Subject: [Polygon]_D&D’s_Deck_of_Many_Things_is_an_experiment_that_failed_at_the_wrong_time
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 by: Smaug - Tue, 30 Jan 2024 15:46 UTC

To: rec.games.frp.dnd
https://www.polygon.com/reviews/24047620/dnd-dungeons-dragons-the-book-of-many-things-review

D&D’s Deck of Many Things is an experiment that failed at the wrong time

Wizards of the Coast takes a big swing only to get the brush off
By Charlie Hall Jan 29, 2024, 9:02am EST

Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a
journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and
spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

The Deck of Many Things is unlike anything that has come before in the
history of Dungeons & Dragons — an elaborate boxed set with multiple
components, all focused on bringing a beloved magical item to life. It’s
a singular project thrust into a yawning portal in the seminal
role-playing game’s release calendar; the next take on 5th edition isn’t
due out until later this year. But it’s the wrong product delivered at
the wrong time, cast off into hostile waters already churned by
corporate controversy that looms over the entire franchise.

It’s a shame, because the final product is actually pretty cool.

At the center of The Deck of Many Things is the deck itself, consisting
of 66 gilt-edged, tarot-sized cards. Fully 22 of those cards are
representative of powerful magical spells first introduced to the game
way back in 1975, many of which have game- and campaign-breaking
effects. Pulling a card from the Deck is a surefire way to cause
absolute chaos in just about any D&D game by gaining levels, losing
levels, killing characters, or having wishes granted. Having a
beautiful, physical representations of those world-shaking spells is a
delight.

Together a full or even a smaller, more curated version of the Deck can
be used to divine things at the table — just like a traditional tarot
deck. Players can get a reading from a character in-game, of course, but
there are also ways to use the cards to plan out encounters, traps, or
small adventures. By dealing a simple three-card or a five-card spread
you can add variety to any situation. With a full nine-card spread you
can even create an entire campaign, one that flashes from the DM’s hand
directly to the table thanks to its elegant gilt-edged design. And it’s
that gilt edge, it seems, that has caused this product the bulk of its
troubles.

Early on in the life cycle of 5th edition D&D, the team at Wizards of
the Coast took pride in printing all of its books in the United States.
But the economic realities of publishing at this scale, and no doubt the
needs of its corporate owners at Hasbro, led to changes in its
production process. What followed was a series of three-volume,
higher-end, slipcase-covered releases that Wizards began printing at
least partially in China — often with mixed results.

At the same time, Hasbro launched an environmental initiative meant to
reduce the company’s carbon footprint. Changes in packaging were
apparent all across its many product lines, from plant-fiber ties on
action figures to plastic-free packaging on decks of Magic: The
Gathering’s popular Commander cards. The greening initiative directly
led to the production issues that delayed the release of The Deck of
Many Things, whose paper bands were partially the cause of a late 2023
recall that halted shipments to customers of products that were already
sitting in the distribution channel.

“This is all for a good cause,” executive producer Kyle Brink told
Polygon in October. “Obviously, we want to reduce plastic waste, and so
we use paper packaging. We inspected very closely everything throughout
the production process to make sure everything was going fine with that,
and yet some of the problems that we are seeing here are specifically
because of some of the paper packaging that we use.”

The revised Deck of Many Things uses plastic to protect each of its
three stacks of 22 cards during shipment, and I’m happy to report that
the cards are now all a uniform size – just as they should have been the
first time around. The result is an elegant and hefty stack that sits
nobly on the table and flashes brilliantly as it’s dealt out to players.
Nevertheless, it arrived well past its original release date.
"The result is an elegant and hefty stack that sits nobly on the table
and flashes brilliantly as it’s dealt out to players"

Alongside that handsome deck of cards is the Card Reference Guide, which
remains unchanged from the batch delivered to reviewers last fall. The
80-page, chapbook-sized volume is the instruction book. It contains
everything you need to know to use the Deck, including all the layouts
mentioned above. Its large and easy-to-read sections of text make for a
lucid and nimble presentation of the cards at the table.

However, unlike other props that Wizards has released in the past, the
Deck itself lacks strong theming. It’s basically a generic item, and
many other reviewers have pointed to this as a major flaw. I, on the
other hand, consider that to be a positive feature. As a collector of
TTRPG props, including miniatures and terrain, I consider the Deck a
treasure in the truest sense of the word because it’s something I can
draw from no matter what part of the vast D&D multiverse my players
happen to be in. If I had wanted a thematic tarot deck I’d have gone out
and bought one. Instead, The Deck of Many Things seeds retail shelves
with a solid tool that can be immediately accessible to players at any
point in their journey through 5th edition, and for that the team at
Wizards should be praised.

Of course, producing a piece of content that has mainstream appeal isn’t
the thing that makes The Deck of Many Things an experiment. It’s the
second, larger book that accompanies it, a 192-page volume titled The
Book of Many Things, where Wizards truly rolled the dice. Compared to
literally everything else in the 5th edition catalog, it’s absolutely
chaotic.

The Book of Many Things is divided into 22 chapters, one each for the
original Deck of Many Things. Those chapters’ content falls into five
different categories: a five-chapter toolkit for DMs, a four-chapter
collection of character creation options, four chapters “inspired by
astrological phenomena,” five chapters detailing potential adventure
locations, and four chapters detailing “new monsters and two people
responsible for the deck’s creation.” It’s a laundry list that is just
as exhausting to type out here as it is to wrap one’s head around in the
real world.

Packed alongside the concise and effective Deck and its handy Card
Reference Guide, The Book of Many Things could have been a rude
assortment of shavings left over from a decade spent paring down rough
ideas in pursuit of more focused products. Instead, it all feels
bespoke, tailored to the themes of the Deck and supporting them in
different ways. But the shotgun blast of new content is delivered with
far less grace and readability than something like Xanathar’s Guide to
Everything or Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything.

I love the Deck for what it is — an elegant prop, and a tool for
inspiring collaborative storytelling at the table. Its golden profile
will be a fixture on my shelf for years to come. In the end, it’s The
Book of Many Things that feels most like an unnecessary glow-up for what
is otherwise a solid product.

Its presence in this product raises the question: Why does The Book of
Many Things even exist at all? I think the answer lies in Hasbro’s
high-level desire to digitize what has traditionally been a very tactile
game. You can’t turn a physical prop into a microtransaction, but you
can sell digital books on D&D Beyond. For Wizards’ corporate overlords,
it seems that the Deck itself — the very best part of this package — was
almost an afterthought. All the more punishing then that it was The Book
of Many Things, The Deck of Many Things’ least likable bit, that arrived
first during the now perfunctory two-week digital pre-release window, a
window stretched out into months because of an unexpected recall.

The Deck of Many Things and its Card Reference Guide are a must-buy,
especially if you like running short, action-packed adventures or
letting the fates decide where your campaign ultimately goes.
Unfortunately, in order to have fun with this excellent object, you’ve
got to pay for The Book of Many Things as well.
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* Erebor TTRPG BBS - Lodz, Poland - telnet://erebor.synch.net

Re: [Polygon] D&D?s Deck of Many Things is an experiment that failed at the wrong time

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From: spallshu...@gmail.com (Spalls Hurgenson)
Newsgroups: rec.games.frp.dnd
Subject: Re: [Polygon] D&D???s Deck of Many Things is an experiment that failed at the wrong time
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 by: Spalls Hurgenson - Wed, 31 Jan 2024 01:54 UTC

On Tue, 30 Jan 2024 16:46:02 +0100, "Smaug"
<smaug@erebor.synch.net.remove-114a-this> wrote:

> To: rec.games.frp.dnd
>https://www.polygon.com/reviews/24047620/dnd-dungeons-dragons-the-book-of-many-things-review
>
>D&D’s Deck of Many Things is an experiment that failed at the wrong time
>
>Wizards of the Coast takes a big swing only to get the brush off
>By Charlie Hall Jan 29, 2024, 9:02am EST
>
>Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a
>journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and
>spacefaring games, as well as public policy.
>
>The Deck of Many Things is unlike anything that has come before in the
>history of Dungeons & Dragons — an elaborate boxed set with multiple
>components, all focused on bringing a beloved magical item to life. It’s
>a singular project thrust into a yawning portal in the seminal
>role-playing game’s release calendar; the next take on 5th edition isn’t
>due out until later this year. But it’s the wrong product delivered at
>the wrong time, cast off into hostile waters already churned by
>corporate controversy that looms over the entire franchise.
>
>It’s a shame, because the final product is actually pretty cool.

Back in the late 80s or early 90s, TSR included a "Deck of Many
Things" as a supplement to one of their magazines (it may have been
"Dungeon"). It was a four pages of card-stock, 22 cards in all with
the cards printed double-sided on each page (six per page, except for
the last page which had only four). You had to cut the cards out
yourself.

I rarely used the thing - the artifact was just too powerful and
disruptive; I always thought of it as more of a 'gag' item than
something for a long-term campaign - but I did sneak into the
adventures a couple of times. I mean, really, who could resist? Each
time I used the cards from the magazine, and had the players literally
pick a card from the deck. If I recall, one draw was for the Vizier,
and the other was for Gems. Because of how powerful the item was, I
made it a one-use item (the players were allowed to draw as many cards
as they wanted, but then had to draw that many cards, and as soon as
they reached their stated goal, the entire deck vanished. They wisely
choose to only draw one card).

The cards themselves haven't seen use in years, but I still have them.
They're battered and torn (and four or five of them are reprints from
some PDF I found on the web, the originals having been lost in the
intervening decades) but I still keep them around. Who knows, one day
I might have use for them again.

I don't know about this WOTC product. Is it any good? I've no idea,
and don't really care. I already have cards that work well enough for
me.

Re: [Polygon] D&Ds Deck of Many Things is an experiment that failed at the wrong time

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From: gmke...@gmail.com (kyonshi)
Newsgroups: rec.games.frp.dnd
Subject: Re: [Polygon] D&Ds Deck of Many Things is an experiment that failed
at the wrong time
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 by: kyonshi - Wed, 31 Jan 2024 09:29 UTC

On 1/31/2024 2:54 AM, Spalls Hurgenson wrote:
> On Tue, 30 Jan 2024 16:46:02 +0100, "Smaug"
> <smaug@erebor.synch.net.remove-114a-this> wrote:
>
>> To: rec.games.frp.dnd
>> https://www.polygon.com/reviews/24047620/dnd-dungeons-dragons-the-book-of-many-things-review
>>
>> D&D’s Deck of Many Things is an experiment that failed at the wrong time
>>
>> Wizards of the Coast takes a big swing only to get the brush off
>> By Charlie Hall Jan 29, 2024, 9:02am EST
>>
>> Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a
>> journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and
>> spacefaring games, as well as public policy.
>>
>> The Deck of Many Things is unlike anything that has come before in the
>> history of Dungeons & Dragons — an elaborate boxed set with multiple
>> components, all focused on bringing a beloved magical item to life. It’s
>> a singular project thrust into a yawning portal in the seminal
>> role-playing game’s release calendar; the next take on 5th edition isn’t
>> due out until later this year. But it’s the wrong product delivered at
>> the wrong time, cast off into hostile waters already churned by
>> corporate controversy that looms over the entire franchise.
>>
>> It’s a shame, because the final product is actually pretty cool.
>
>
> Back in the late 80s or early 90s, TSR included a "Deck of Many
> Things" as a supplement to one of their magazines (it may have been
> "Dungeon"). It was a four pages of card-stock, 22 cards in all with
> the cards printed double-sided on each page (six per page, except for
> the last page which had only four). You had to cut the cards out
> yourself.
>
> I rarely used the thing - the artifact was just too powerful and
> disruptive; I always thought of it as more of a 'gag' item than
> something for a long-term campaign - but I did sneak into the
> adventures a couple of times. I mean, really, who could resist? Each
> time I used the cards from the magazine, and had the players literally
> pick a card from the deck. If I recall, one draw was for the Vizier,
> and the other was for Gems. Because of how powerful the item was, I
> made it a one-use item (the players were allowed to draw as many cards
> as they wanted, but then had to draw that many cards, and as soon as
> they reached their stated goal, the entire deck vanished. They wisely
> choose to only draw one card).
>
> The cards themselves haven't seen use in years, but I still have them.
> They're battered and torn (and four or five of them are reprints from
> some PDF I found on the web, the originals having been lost in the
> intervening decades) but I still keep them around. Who knows, one day
> I might have use for them again.
>
> I don't know about this WOTC product. Is it any good? I've no idea,
> and don't really care. I already have cards that work well enough for
> me.
>
>

I keep thinking about just reworking a Tarot deck I have lying around
for the purpose. Them producing this gold-embossed deck just tells me
they ran out of ideas for their game.
On the other hand they are trying to shift everything to online, so they
need some actual physical items to appeal to gamers' natural pack rat
instincts.

Re: [Polygon] D&D’s Deck of Many Things is an experiment that failed at the wrong time (was: [Polygon] D&D???s Deck of Many Things is an experiment that failed at the wrong time)

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From: gbb...@gbbgu.com (gbbgu)
Newsgroups: rec.games.frp.dnd
Subject: Re: [Polygon] D&D’s Deck of Many Things is an experiment that failed at the wrong time (was: [Polygon] D&D???s Deck of Many Things is an experiment that failed at the wrong time)
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 by: gbbgu - Wed, 31 Jan 2024 11:14 UTC

On 31 Jan 2024, "Smaug" wrote:

> To: rec.games.frp.dnd
> https://www.polygon.com/reviews/24047620/dnd-dungeons-dragons-the-book-of-many-things-review
>
> D&D’s Deck of Many Things is an experiment that failed at the wrong time
> [snip]

Does anyone ever use a Deck of Many Things with players more than once? It
feels like an expensive novelty item.

I've never seen it at the local game stores. I'm not sure if that's a region
thing or if they're just not carrying it.

I have nearly every 5e book. Will I buy this? Sure I guess eventually when
it's on sale, but I'm in no hurry.

--
gbbgu

Re: [Polygon] D&D’s Deck of Many Things is an experiment that failed at the wrong time

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Newsgroups: rec.games.frp.dnd
Subject: Re:_[Polygon]_D&D’s_Deck_of_Many_Things_i
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 by: Justisaur - Wed, 31 Jan 2024 15:06 UTC

On 1/31/2024 3:14 AM, gbbgu wrote:
> On 31 Jan 2024, "Smaug" wrote:
>
>> To: rec.games.frp.dnd
>> https://www.polygon.com/reviews/24047620/dnd-dungeons-dragons-the-book-of-many-things-review
>>
>> D&D’s Deck of Many Things is an experiment that failed at the wrong time
>> [snip]
>
> Does anyone ever use a Deck of Many Things with players more than once? It
> feels like an expensive novelty item.
>
> I've never seen it at the local game stores. I'm not sure if that's a region
> thing or if they're just not carrying it.
>
> I have nearly every 5e book. Will I buy this? Sure I guess eventually when
> it's on sale, but I'm in no hurry.
>

I prefer using the Tarot of Many things which I think appeared in a
dragon magazine, a lot more lesser results.

I used it a couple times way back in the 80's. Never since though.
I've thought about using it as a pre-game background for new PCs. Draw
between 1-5, make a character after results (if they didn't get too
screwed over to play, if they do then draw again.) Their characters are
marked and drawn together by having drawn from the deck.

--
-Justisaur

ø-ø
(\_/)\
`-'\ `--.___,
¶¬'\( ,_.-'
\\
^'

Re: [Polygon] D&D's Deck of Many Things is an experiment that failed at the wrong time

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From: web...@polaris.net (Ubiquitous)
Newsgroups: rec.games.frp.dnd
Subject: Re: [Polygon] D&D's Deck of Many Things is an experiment that failed at the wrong time
Date: Tue, 06 Feb 2024 04:30:49 -0500
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 by: Ubiquitous - Tue, 6 Feb 2024 09:30 UTC

spallshurgenson@gmail.com wrote:

>Back in the late 80s or early 90s, TSR included a "Deck of Many
>Things" as a supplement to one of their magazines (it may have been
>"Dungeon"). It was a four pages of card-stock, 22 cards in all with
>the cards printed double-sided on each page (six per page, except for
>the last page which had only four). You had to cut the cards out
>yourself.

It was in both DUNGEON and in DRAGON MAGAINE. I don't recall if the cards
were in one or both 'zines, but DUNGEON had an adventure based on the Deck Of
Too Many Things. If memory serves, each door in the dungeon had a card frm
the deck on it.

--
Let's go Brandon!

Re: [Polygon] D&D's Deck of Many Things is an experiment that failed at the wrong time

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Subject: Re: [Polygon] D&D's Deck of Many Things is an experiment that failed at the wrong time
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 by: gbbgu - Wed, 7 Feb 2024 00:18 UTC

Ubiquitous <weberm@polaris.net> wrote:

> spallshurgenson@gmail.com wrote:
>
>> Back in the late 80s or early 90s, TSR included a "Deck of Many
>> Things" as a supplement to one of their magazines (it may have been
>> "Dungeon"). It was a four pages of card-stock, 22 cards in all with
>> the cards printed double-sided on each page (six per page, except for
>> the last page which had only four). You had to cut the cards out
>> yourself.
>
> It was in both DUNGEON and in DRAGON MAGAINE. I don't recall if the cards
> were in one or both 'zines, but DUNGEON had an adventure based on the Deck Of
> Too Many Things. If memory serves, each door in the dungeon had a card frm
> the deck on it.

That sounds like madness inducing, but as long as the players were on board it
would be fun.

--
gbbgu

Re: [Polygon] D&D's Deck of Many Things is an experiment that failed at the wrong time

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From: web...@polaris.net (Ubiquitous)
Newsgroups: rec.games.frp.dnd
Subject: Re: [Polygon] D&D's Deck of Many Things is an experiment that failed at the wrong time
Date: Fri, 23 Feb 2024 04:30:46 -0500
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 by: Ubiquitous - Fri, 23 Feb 2024 09:30 UTC

In article <1%zwN.74258$GX69.58109@fx46.iad>, gbbgu@gbbgu.com wrote:
> Ubiquitous <weberm@polaris.net> wrote:
>> spallshurgenson@gmail.com wrote:

>>> Back in the late 80s or early 90s, TSR included a "Deck of Many
>>> Things" as a supplement to one of their magazines (it may have been
>>> "Dungeon"). It was a four pages of card-stock, 22 cards in all with
>>> the cards printed double-sided on each page (six per page, except for
>>> the last page which had only four). You had to cut the cards out
>>> yourself.
>>
>> It was in both DUNGEON and in DRAGON MAGAINE. I don't recall if the cards
>> were in one or both 'zines, but DUNGEON had an adventure based on the Deck
>> Of Too Many Things. If memory serves, each door in the dungeon had a card
>> frm the deck on it.
>
>That sounds like madness inducing, but as long as the players were on board
>it would be fun.

I don't think it was an actual card from the magic item, but it indicated the
theme of the room.

--
Let's go Brandon!


interests / rec.games.frp.dnd / [Polygon] D&D’s Deck of Many Things is an experiment that failed at the wrong time

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