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Character Sheet AND Cards: A Design Flaw?

PostPosted: Thursday January 30th, 2020 6:02pm
by Stig
Is having a character sheet plus equipment cards/spells/skills a design flaw?

Other games tend to have either one or the other, yet Heroquest seems to use both to a limited extent and it doesn't sit quite right with me. DND is the extreme example of only using a character sheet, whilst Talisman is a good example of a similar(ish) game that only uses cards. As equipment, stats and followers are amassed, they are collected on a slightly larger character card:



Objects are simply laid along the side of the card, and counters represent coins and stat increases.

Super Dungeon Explore also has a similar system, where equipment is colour coded and laid alongside the character card where appropriate:

SDE character card.jpg

Should Heroquest have been designed with such a system, given the limited options and the classic simple nature of the game?

There are inevitably advantages and disadvantages of both. As far as I understand:

Character sheets:

Doesn't require cards, so less stuff
Allows for a huge array of monsters and events
Allows for unlimited customisation
Allows for future-proofing, ie any additions or changes to how you play the game going forward simply change what is written down
Allows for lots of granularity and in-game effects
Encourages lots of RPG style creativity

Feels like bookkeeping and requires writing in-game
Sometimes you can't read your own writing
Can look messy
Can make the game feel complicated and create a barrier to entry

Character cards

Keeps the feel of a board game
Looks amazing if done well (thanks Showdown35/Lemmeron/DullandRusty!)
Avoids having the same event drawn twice due to a discard pile (eg if using an Evil Wizard deck), or levelling up
Allows for automatic regulation of what can be carried by characters due to the way it fits together with equipement (such as in the SDE system with the colour coding). This can avoid some rules that state "this class can carry X but not Y"

Increases the quantity of "stuff" the game needs: custom cards, gold tokens, life counters etc
Restricts customisation and temporary effects (eg attack with a black die once due to X event)
Restricts creativity and expansion through creating a ton of work to do, ie make lots of cards
Makes it hard for custom rule additions
Can become cumbersome with lots of house rules and take up space
Every new idea needs a new card!

As most of us have gone quite far down the road of customising our own Heroquest, I'd love to hear your thoughts! I'm gravitating towards getting rid of the character sheet all together and making some tokens that represent Gold, but then I'm thinking this might be a huge endeavour. I could just write all my thoughts into a rulebook where the consequences are simply noted on the character sheet.


Re: Character Sheet AND Cards: A Design Flaw?

PostPosted: Friday January 31st, 2020 3:23pm
by cornixt
I think it is mostly a holdover from RPGs, HQ is essentially simplified DnD without the roleplaying. It could all be done with tokens/cards if you really wanted, or you can get rid of nearly all the cards and just use the character sheet.

Imperial Assault looks like it uses only cards and tokens, but you have to keep track of XP and credits on a piece of your own paper after each mission so it falls into the same trap as HQ but without the official sheets.

Re: Character Sheet AND Cards: A Design Flaw?

PostPosted: Friday January 31st, 2020 4:34pm
by Anderas
I think it is a design flaw that we note BP and MP and gold during the game on the character sheet.

The sheet is the good way to go at the end of a game evening, to press the "save" button, to store it for the next time in a few weeks or months.

During the game however... I have red and blue chips for the counting of BP and MP. Gold stays on the game card until after the game.

And yes. I have upgraded the character sheets. They have a pocket on the back to store the equipment cards. As I have self printed versions of them, enough for about six or seven heroes, that's not a problem at all. It also means that every hero exists only one time. I leave them on a graveyard when they die. So the Players have to choose new ones each time they die. I made a dozen or so different ones, so there is choice.

Re: Character Sheet AND Cards: A Design Flaw?

PostPosted: Friday January 31st, 2020 6:24pm
by lestodante
now I want to see your character sheet with pocket!

Re: Character Sheet AND Cards: A Design Flaw?

PostPosted: Saturday February 1st, 2020 7:12am
by Stig
Anderas wrote:I think it is a design flaw that we note BP and MP and gold during the game on the character sheet.

That's what I'm thinking. Given how the Game System is designed, if they were to do it today without the precedent of RPGs hanging over them, they would have made use of counters for damage/gold etc, and done away with the character sheet.

Given how much we all like to customise Heroquest might the right approach for us fanatics be to have an encompassing character sheet, so it becomes like a simple RPG. That way skills, injuries, damaged equipment, new potions etc can be written down on the character sheet without having to make a new card for every single idea. Customisation can involve huge levels of granularity that simply cannot be captured in cards.

For example, I'm in the process of porting the Warhammer Quest Roleplay Book into Heroquest. (That's basically travelling to settlements between quests, healing 1BP/day, and visiting shops, taverns etc.) Imagine the following roll in the tavern:

Your character has a night of drunken revelry in the tavern and suffer the consequences. If they embark on a Quest the next day, they attack with green :whiteshield:. This effect lasts until they have lost 2BP when the adrenaline kicks in and brings back their sharpness.

That kind of information can only be recorded on an RPG style character sheet due to the number of possibilities from several huge tables.

But what about character-specific character sheets instead of character cards, ie blend the character card and sheet together? So the Barbarian has their own character sheet, the Dwarf theirs etc. Their picture could be on the front, their skill choices/special traits could be on the back. We could write in what's happened to them, and there could be spaces to pile up gold/damage counters etc.

I'm really stuck about what's the right balance, but that inevitably depends on the customisation. I love this game.

Re: Character Sheet AND Cards: A Design Flaw?

PostPosted: Saturday February 1st, 2020 8:28am
by j_dean80
I can see using counters to keep track of BP MP loss during a Quest, Skull tiles would work for that. You still need the character sheet for tallying everything, gold etc. when your gaming session is complete though. It’s a lot easier storage, all your “saved” information is on 1 piece of paper per Hero.