The Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game
The Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game is, as its name implies, a card game that is cooperative based on Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series of books. It is made by Evil Hat Productions which also produces the Dresden Files RPG, a role playing game that uses the Fate System. As such, the Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game uses Fate dice and Fate points, as well as some terminology, albeit in a way for a card game to utilize such components.
To start, each player chooses a character from the series to play. Each character has different strengths that are represented by the different ratios of Attack, Investigate, Overcome and Take Advantage cards in their respective decks and their individual Stunts and Talents. Any given game can be a specific book from the series or one determined randomly using different Foes, Cases, Obstacles and Advantages. Those Foes, Cases, Obstacles and Advantages (the book cards) are laid out in two rows of six cards each. On a player's turn, they can play a card from their hand, use their stunt, discard for Fate points or pass. Each different card type in a player's deck is meant to deal with one of the four card types from the book cards: Attacks deal damage to Foes, Investigates solve Cases, Overcomes get rid of obstacles and Take Advantages, well, take Advantage cards. Foes and Cases have numbers on them that determine how difficult that enemy is to defeat or case is to solve. Each card in a player's deck has a cost and range on it; the cost is how many Fate points you need to spend from your shared Fate point pool and the range is how far from the left side of the book rows that the card can reach. The farther the range and the more damage or clues a card has, the more points it'll cost. You only have a limited number of Fate points to start with and a maximum value you can have at any given point. Stunts are powerful effects that you can use once per player per game. When you discard a card for Fate points, you gain Fate points equal to its cost, meaning the more points you get from a card, the more powerful the card you're discarding. Discarding for Fate points also activates your Talent, which is different for each character. You can also pass, but it costs one Fate point, so passing is something you should only consider if you really can't do anything else. Certain cards in players' decks will have variable power in either the range, cost, damage or clues that have you roll the Fate dice to determine the total power. Fate dice are 6-sided dice with two blank sides, two + sides and two - sides, meaning any given roll can be positive or negative to the outcome. Once the players are done, they can begin the Showdown. During the Showdown, any foes that are still standing or cases that are unresolved are left to fate. Each book has a few ways you can get some additional hits or clues on a card. By spending some Fate points and rolling some dice, you can potentially take down some more Foes or solve some more Cases. Once the Showdown is over, if the players have solved more Cases than there are Foes left on the board, they win. Otherwise, evil wins.
Let me preface this opinion part by saying that I am generally not a fan of cooperative games. I see their value and I love that they exist and give people an opportunity to play games where you have to work with people instead of against them. I, personally, have had negative experiences with "follow-the-leader" players that take over a game and make it so that if I had been replaced by a cardboard cutout of myself, it wouldn't have changed the outcome of the game. But I adore this game. It does suffer a bit from my other peeve about cooperative games, how they can feel like playing to not lose rather than playing to win, but that feels unimportant when I play the Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game. There is a lot of luck involved in the game, from where any given book cards get dealt, to what cards you draw at any given time to, of course, the Fate dice determining fate, but there is also a lot of strategy and a lot of teamwork involved in trying to win. When to play cards or discard them can be tricky and who should do which is also important. It is also a difficult game to win, or at least I have had little luck in attempts at beating the game. It is a game that is a lot of fun with a lot of replayability, so I'd definitely recommend it to people in search of a cooperative game. But, and this is a big but, the game is best when played by people who know and love the Dresden Files series. Sure, the cards themselves don't technically require any knowledge of the series in a strict mechanical sense for gameplay, but there is so much flavor from the cards that is much more enjoyable by a fan of the series. Playing through the actual books themselves also has cards where accomplishing certain tasks before others can be useful by following the story structure of the books. For example, when you "Ally with Thomas" during Grave Peril, you hurt Bianca, or when you utilize "Shiro's Sacrifice", you also make it easier to deal with the Obstacle of "Harry Captured," or it takes figuring out "Who is the Shadowman?" before you can hurt Kalshazzak. All in all, I do recommend the game, but I would say that it is much better if you like the Dresden Files, because it will help with all the flavor they jampacked into the game.
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