PiecepackDiceCards

Piecepack Dice Cards

Proposed by John_Braley? in January 2004 as a drop-in replacement for piecepack dice when he played a piecepack game with a little too much chance for his taste. Elaborated by RonHaleEvans, then re-elaborated and created in PDF form by Tim Schutz.

Piecepack dice cards and PiecepackPaperDice are in my opinion the best nominees for the next expansions to the piecepack (I consider the last really interesting expansion to be Mesomorph pawn saucers, and before that, Tim Schutz's piecepack pyramids). The idea is similar to a gizmo we often use at Seattle Cosmic Game Night called the Deck of Dice. (Steffan O'Sullivan has a good review.) Our players use it during Settlers of Catan and related games, and indeed people do complain less about (for example) the Robber coming up too often, because they know that the Robber comes up _exactly_ as often as ought to be expected.

The design settled on (as of February 2004) for Piecepack Dice Cards is a printable deck of cards consisting of four suits of six cards each, each card depicting one unique face of a single piecepack die. People can then use a suit of piecepack dice cards to represent six "hyper-fair" die rolls, then after six "rolls", shuffle the deck again. They can also print multiple copies of the deck, so that each suit has 24 cards in it (four sets of six possible rolls). 24 cards per suit make a 96-card base deck, and the number 24 aligns nicely with the rest of the piecepack. To this basic design, Alpha Tim Schutz added six jokers or wild cards: one for each suit and two showing all four suits. At the moment, you can download Tim's deck in PDF form from the Files section of the piecepack mailing list.

Of course, if you are not already using either tiles or coins in your game design, you could simulate a single suit of six die rolls with either the tiles or the coins, so in a sense this is nothing new for the piecepack (can anyone name a game that already does this?). It is somewhat new and useful to have a suit of 24 cards, though, and Tim's jokers make a nice addition. Besides being wild cards, jokers can serve other functions in a dice card deck. For example, when you draw a joker, reshuffle the deck. This is something suggested in the rulebook for the Deck of Dice.

--RonHaleEvans

One issue that must be dealt with when using a deck like this for a game is the problem of card counting. When using a small deck, the knowledge that the last few cards in the deck must be certain values can influence the decisions a player makes in a game. And, if you use a large enough deck to prevent counting then there is no difference between using the deck and actual rolling dice. This is especially true for games that only need a small number of random numbers per game. -- Mark A. Biggar

Card counting is not a bug; it's a feature. :) --RonHaleEvans

I have just discovered (hey, so I'm a bit slow) the nanDeck software that allows (relatively) easy creation of cards for games and have been playing around trying to create piecepack cards using the JCDPiecepack font. Then I read this entry on the Wiki...so for those who are interested my versions of piecepack cards (sadly not including jokers...yet) can also be found on the Files section of the piecepack mailing lists. Included are are file for "standard" piecepack suits (including both fleur de lis and anchor versions of the arms suit) and "playing card" piecepack suits. This is a (slow) work in progress, so the files will likely change as I investigate nanDeck some more. -- SimonPerry?

Simon, I too have recently (within the past couple of months) discovered the joys of nanDECK, and working with JonathanDietrich, I have also made decks of cards with piecepack (and other) suits. I'll check out your files, and if you like, perhaps we can exchange scripts and PDF output files. -- ClarkRodeffer

Update! I have also uploaded 150 dpi and 300 dpi versions the piecepack decks I made with nanDECK to the files section of the piecepack Yahoo group. The layout is 9 up on letter size paper, and the cards are poker sized, so they can immediately be cut and used in standard sized playing card sleeves. When printing, be sure to set the printer scaling to "none" for correct sizing. Many print drivers default to either "reduce to printer margins" or "fit to printer margins," and both of these will cause the cards to be too small, so be sure to select no scaling. I used a different layout for the suits. I first started with a rank series from 0 to 20, followed by four court cards for page, jack, queen and king, then ended with a null and an ace. With long suits like this, a few can be combined to play many different card games. I welcome opinions on the cards, and I'll try to upload a script for the decks soon. -- ClarkRodeffer