General D&D Topics* What I learned from Boardgames: The hidden power of the character sheet




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    What I learned from Boardgames: The hidden power of the character sheet

    I had to chance to play a boardgame called Eclipse recently. Its a fairly recent game that has grown very popular over the last few years.

    What is so interesting about the game is that it has a large number of tracking elements, however, they are all tracked on your player card using little wooden pieces. The interface is so streamlined that I can manage a large number of different tasks seamlessly with very little mental effort.

    It got me thinking of the possibilities for Dnd.

    While we all don't use minis and boards for our games, probably everyone uses a character sheet (and I would imagine those who didn't wouldn't really have an issue with one).


    Could we instill some design elegance into that paper part of the pen and paper game we play....and allow us to track some complex elements.

    Could we take it a step further and make the character sheet truely a "player card" or would that be too boardgamey for the masses?

    I don't have any specifics right now, just wanted to start a discussion.
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    In RPG's there is a lot of information that is persistent from game session to game session. A card with tokens on it works well for things that are reset at the beginning of each game. While there are a few things in RPG's that sometimes work that way, there are so many more that don't.

    I do agree that the character sheet should be elegantly designed. It needs to be as simple as possible. I think it needs to be one sheet (for core rules, with few if any modules).
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    Character sheets: That piece of paper that players will wring and crumple in their hands more and more the worse the situation gets, staring at it from top to bottom as if it would save their precious player character's life.

    Wood pieces would not be an ideal element in that kind of situation.
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    I like the concept of "character sheet extension" that this guy has done a few years ago (click picture to enlarge)

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    I kind of agree with @Gargoyle that there are aspects of RPG character sheets which work against "boardgameization". Having consistent stats across sessions is one of them, but other factors include numerous variables requiring writing (how many feats are there?), and costs of color printing. I don't think they're insurmountable, but they are limiting factors...at a certain point in this thought experiment you may need to concede that *simplification* is more desirable (and achievable) than "boardgameization".

    Ok, so there are lots of great examples of super-simplified character sheets out there already. Let's check some of them out!

    Official D&D Adventure System Character Cards


    D&D Encounters-styled Character Sheets
    http://dungeonsmaster.com/2011/01/dd...de-characters/


    D&D for 8 Year Olds
    ART by STOWE: DND for 8 year olds


    Diterlizzi's Old School Character Sheets
    http://diterlizzi.com/home/download-some-diterlizzi/
    Last edited by Quickleaf; Saturday, 22nd September, 2012 at 08:36 PM.

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    I like this idea. I'm imagining a something from a PC based or online character generator that can be reprinted when it wears out and customized for the specific character. It could have a track for hp and short tracks for the various buffs and debuffs the PC might be subject too. A wizard would have all of his spells, with the currently memorized ones marked with a chip, and a psion would have a track for whatever he calls his power points.

    I can see how this would be very quick to refer to. The only downside I see is that if you bump the sheet you can entirely lose track of what your character's condition was.
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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Li Shenron View Post
    I like the concept of "character sheet extension" that this guy has done a few years ago (click picture to enlarge)

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    Quote Originally Posted by GameDoc View Post
    O... M... G!!!!

    I have seen the Grail of all Nerdom, and been transformed.

    But once you have children in the family, you can always say you are doing this for them and with them, and suddenly you're a thoroughly respected parent
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