Nathanael Cole / Alliterated Games

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Which Map Deck Should I Use for HAMMERCRAWL?

A crucial part of my evolving HAMMERCRAWL! process involves me drawing a special hand of cards with each new “room” the party explores. I draw one card from each deck of helper tools, and then use the contents to spontaneously continue the adventure. I’m working to try and whittle the collection of decks down to a steady five. One of those will be the Map Deck, used to give me an idea of what the next “room” looks like, and inspire the description I give the players – they don’t get to see this map, no, instead they must draw their own interpretation.

Unfortunately, I have not one map deck, but three of them. Problem is they are all useful, each in their own way. And each has a drawback as well. Maybe you all can assist me in picking The One.

First we have Axebane’s Deck of Many Dungeons. The look so great, and they have random roll tables on them too! Who doesn’t love random roll tables? They also have an awesome “roguelike” craft to them, complete with bits of interesting dungeon scenery to interact with.

Drawbacks are twofold. First there are only a bit more than a standard deck of cards here, so repeated use across multiple games will very likely result in an increasing number of repeated draws. Also, they are very specific in their scope, and thus fairly limited in workable space.

Then we have the Dungeon Architect Cards. There’s a few more here than the Axebeak deck, and they are double-sided. The rooms are really simple and very geometrical in layout, which is kind of uninspired. But they do come with those super neat lists at the bottom, great for either a 1d12 or 2d6 roll.

Finally, we have the Dungeon Cartography Cards. Room-wise, these are actually my favorites. They have the most variety in their formats, and there’s a lot of purely visual meat here to work with. Plus, there are more cards here than both of the other two decks combined, giving me a lot of variety. But what the hell is up with that Note space? It’s a complete waste of potential. Who writes on their cards, ferchrissakes?

Decisions, decisions…

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