11/01/2013

Frugal GM Review: Adventures! Monster Cards

This last week (or so) I've heard a little chatter about this ultra-light RPG called Adventures!, from Gramel Publishing. The draw to the game is that each book is supposed to be only two pages. The main game has a two page GMG, a two page PHB, and a "bonus" character sheet.

This download is a bonus creature card for use in the game.

Now I've made monster cards before and I'm aware that it can be a pain, but I'm also keenly aware of how they usually get used. Right off I have to admit I like the idea of these cards much better than the execution.

Adventures! Monster CardsFirst off, the download is rather large at 9.59 MB....zipped. The card sheet itself is large at 1.48 MB,
which is HUGE considering what that file is made of......basically eight simple cards with cut lines and a header. No color, no form fields, nothing that warrants such a large file.

Please bear with me a moment because the size of the file is important unless you simply keep one copy on-hand and print them off as needed. If you want to keep a small library of filled-in cards to pull from as needed you really want a form-fillable PDF file. Depending on the program you use for PDFs you might be able to type in notes or create a form yourself, but it is best to start with a more efficiently-sized file.

While I'm at size, these cards come in at 2.44 inches wide by 3.61 inches (61.98 x 91.69 mm) tall. Standard trading card size is 2.5 x 3.5 inches or (64 x 89 mm).  This is important because if you want a library of these cards you may choose to protect them using standard card sleeve protectors. Since these sleeves vary a bit in size, it might not be an issue, assuming you are great at cutting these cards out. The wavy border along the edges looks cool on paper, but can become problematic when you go to use these cards.

The more math-minded of you might have noticed that there is a big discrepancy between the size of the download (9.59 MB zipped vs. 1.48 MB PDF). This is because there is a second file that I'm not quite sure of. It is a 7.91 MB picture that doesn't make too much sense. At first I thought it might be a card back of some sort, but it is a solitary PNG, not a series of the same pictures laid out side by side in another PDF that is ready for printing the card backs. This picture is nearly 12 x 18 inches at a resolution of 177.8 DPI.

Frugal GM 3 Star Review: Adventures! Monster Cards
While extremely useful for me making a small header picture, I cannot fathom a ready as-is use for the file.

Overall monster cards can be a great way for a GM to run a combat encounter without having to make a lot of notes or refer back to the source books too often. Done right, a series of monster cards can be created easily for one session and reused in subsequent sessions.