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Three Solitaire Role-Playing Games Using Regular Playing Cards

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Many years ago -- and long before computers became common household items -- I thought it would be really neat to design a solitaire "Role-Playing Game" that used nothing more than a deck or two of regular playing cards, a sheet of paper, and perhaps some dice. I spend a good number of hours fiddling with cards trying to come up with a system that worked and felt enough like a RPG to be a fun way to kill some time alone. Alas, I never succeeded and finally just gave up.

I was out at the Card Games web site this evening looking for a new two-player card game that my wife and I could try. I was going through the Invented Games section and was quickly sidetracked by three solitaire "role-playing" card games. I haven't had a chance to try any of these yet, but they all look interesting.

CardRPG is a relatively simple solitaire "roleplaying game" credited to "Ray of Ash". It needs a regular deck of cards, three six-sided dice and paper and pencil. As one might expect it is more a combat-fest than a role-playing game, but it is short, simple, and looks like it might be a nice way to kill some time. A couple of paragraphs at the end present a two-player version.

CardRPG - Advanced (Link is to a PDF file) is an expanded and extended version of CardRPG by Stephen Rogers. This 12 page PDF adds more powers and abilities -- and lots more dice. It looks like this version might feel more like a "roleplaying game." Rules for more than one player are included.

Hebrac's Dungeon is a dungeon exploration RPG by Luc Miron. This game uses two or more decks of regular playing cards. Some of the cards are used to form a level of the dungeon which is then explored. Each room has two cards, a monster and a treasure. You have to defeat the monsters to get the treasure. The object of the game is to find all four magical treasures (a ace of each suit) before you die. Different cards represent different monsters and treasures -- each with different abilities. This game looks like a lot of fun and I'll probably try it first.

Of course, these games are more like a simple computer RPG than they are a real face-to-face game. However, given that they are something I thought would really be nifty back in the early 80s, I'm excited to find them. Does anyone know of any others?

Now it's back out to the Card Games web site to resume my original search for an interesting new two-player card game.

[Don't forget that rare Traveller fanzines (Working Passage & Imperium Staple) are available (for Cancer Fund Donors) -- addition to the usual PDF downloads every donor has access to. There is still plenty of time to make a donation and get in on the giveaway. Thanks much to those who have already donated.]

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