Event/narration cards


I am curious how ya'll feel about these.

I recently stated that I am not a big fan of them. But, then I realized that there are at least two different sorts of them, and they aren't exactly the same.

Firstly we have the "random even deck." I remember the first time I played #Fief: France 1429 the event deck made so I couldn't move troops in the region wherein my headquarters were, for like three consecutive turns. I was incredibly frustrated, though, in the end it made me focus on diplomacy and it helped me win the game. This is an example of an event deck. A card is drawn, and without rhyme or reason, something happens to somebody or everybody.

The second breed is like the encounter cards in #Scythe. These offer narrative elements, but they also offer choices. I believe some, or all of the crossroad games would have cards that also offer choices. These cards can still really help, or really not help a giver person, but there is at least some chance for a choice to be made that is generally missing in a straight event deck.

I feel that both of these can be pretty lazy ways to inject "life" or challange into a board game. I do generally not like how they can be completely random. However, that being said, I do enjoy them in Scythe. They do add just enough story to be interesting, and the game is short enough that you don't feel too bad if one helps you neighbor mightily.

So, I think I can be ok with them when they are helping a story, or when they offer a choice of some kind that can help you invest a little more into the experience. I tend not to like them when it is just a "random challange/limitation" generator.

What are your feelings on this sort of card in a game? Do you like it? Despise it? Or, are you like me, and are generally disaproving, while really loving some games that have it?


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11 months ago

A game which I feel uses event cards in a really good way is the Crusader Kings Boardgame -  each action you take is tied to an event card that can help or hinder you and others. It's always a toss up on whether to play a card because it helps you do an action, do it because it screws with someone else, or just do it because it's funny.

I feel random events can be good for flavour, but can occasionally (just due to chance) weigh the game in someone's favour so I'm not a massive fan of that aspect if it occurs over multiple games.

Supporter11 months ago

Crusader kings looks super cool. Do you like the game as a whole?

11 months ago

I love it, but I get why it wont be for everyone. I've played loads of the Crusader Kings 3 video game so it might just be nostalgia talking, and I usually play with family which means the dynasty setting is much funnier. 

I'd recommend it, but maybe try it out before you buy.

Supporter11 months ago


Owner11 months ago

I like the kind of random events that happen in #Atlantis Rising (second edition). It can be absolutely brutal trying to deal with the consequences and it gives that slight hesitation when you need to draw more. Goes with the theme (trying to put parts together to activate the portal that will get everyone to safety while the island is sinking away.) But I agree, random events in competitive games that suddenly disables you isn't fun.

And while it's not event "cards," I really really like the events that occur in #Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated. It often presents interesting choices, reveals a new location, or a challenge to complete in order to receive a reward, and it makes the experience so much richer.

11 months ago

I quite like random events in games, I think I tend to be the kind of player who likes to play very efficiently and elegantly and by having that randomness it challenges me to build redundancy into my plans and be flexible. I agree that I prefer random events that give options for how you deal with it as that allows you to potentially mitigate a truly awful card for you specifically I don't tend to mind too much if my plans are thrown out of whack by a card. I love the corssroads cards in #Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game: we always play that you respond to them thematically and only then find out what the mechanical consequences of the card are.

That said however, I feel like the events should feel thematic and makes sense in the broader context of the game as I am sure they often are added quite lazily. I do quite like the idea of more positive events that create opportunities rather than negative events that limit them.


Supporter11 months ago

I think they need to fit into the theme of the game to be enjoyable. And they need to have choices so you can decide how to deal with the problem or opportunity presented to you. 

As we've all discussed#Scythe does a great job with this. The encounter cards are usually a fairly major bonus, and you get to decide how to proceed.

I actually can't think of any other games that I own that include this mechanic. Unless I'm just forgetting something obvious. But perhaps I unintentionally have avoided it? I don't consciously dislike this mechanic in the surface. 

Premium User11 months ago

I think I agree with your general sentiment when the cards are random and don't seem to have a real 'add' to the game.  I think the season cards in #Everdell: Spirecrest feel that way and the last time our family played we did not use them for that reason.  The Seasonal elements just don't feel necessary.

#Scythe is a good example of a narrative card that fits in well and doesn't make the game unduly laborious.  In fact, the Scythe objectives expansion is in my opion the best expansion for the game.  I think several of those 'encounters' significantly impact the game but in an interesting and fun way.

#Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island has very negative encounters or events but you can mitigate them somewhat and they abolutely fit the theme of the day.  I pretty much expect to die every time I play that game but still have fun starving to death or getting eaten by wild animals.

A fun twist to the event card is a game like #PARKS in which the season card ends up being a boon for the season rather than a negative event.  I think this was a great twist to PARKS and goes well with the zenlike experience of walking through a PARK and gathering raindrops and roses to visit parks.

Looking through my games and my wishlist I do notice I don't have a ton of games that utilize the 'event' card type generally.  I think as a pure game antagonist I'm so-so on it ( #Pay Dirt) if not more or less against it ( #Everdell).  As a well crafted game enhancing theme driven option ( #Scythe, #Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island); I'm all for it.

Supporter11 months ago

I have really wanted to give #Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island a try. And, those cards, are some of the biggest reasons I want to give it a try, and they are also one of the reasons I am most worried about it.

Premium User11 months ago

They fit in very well thematically... You will hate them

Supporter11 months ago


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