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Image by Ricardo Gomez Angel
  • Writer's pictureRock

Cards: Luck and Skill

"Why do you think the same five guys make it to the final table of the World Series of Poker EVERY YEAR? What, are they the luckiest guys in Las Vegas? It's a skill game, Jo!" - Matt Damon from Rounders

Card games have come a loooong way since you played Crazy Eights at the cottage.

I mean, that shouldn't be news. Maybe it was Yu-Gi-Oh, or Pokemon. For me, like I imagine most, it was the grand daddy of 'em all, Magic The Gathering. But the advent of CCG, or TCG, or what have you, they changed the way we think of card games and cards forever when they first came out.

And I played a LOT of them. I shudder to think of how much money I spent on little pieces of cardboard, but then again, I know people that have spent tens of thousands on model trains. A hobby is a hobby, right? But the idea that cards could go beyond Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds and Spades, that you could build decks, make different strategies, come up with crazy new ideas that never worked... until that one time everything broke your way and that combo came off? That changed everything.

I know a lot of people have been frowning on the introduction of a card mechanic in Midnight Suns, and, personally, I think that's a mistake. RNG in games makes things far more interesting and less predictable, which adds both to the fun while you're playing and opens up a ton of replayability. You only have to look at the success of a relatively simple game like Slay The Spire to see how a bit of RNG and deck-building can lead to a super-addictive game.

In the same way, XCom, Darkest Dungeon, and other rogue-likes or rogue-lights capitalize on something similar. The ever present danger of that Random Number Generator just screwing over your well laid plans adds spice to any game. (When you're not throwing your mouse and keyboard out the window in frustration, that is...)

Cards also mitigate the Random in RNG. You can plan, build, make allowances, trade offs... there's a huge amount of risk-reward to take into consideration when you have to build a deck for a game that uses something other than a normal 52 card deck, and that is always a fun thing to do. When YOU make a deck, when YOU plan out what it should do, and when it ALL comes together... you feel like a goddamn genius. You're Einstein and Hawking and Socrates and Curie, all rolled into one because IT WORKED!

So bring on those cards, I say. I can't wait to see what nifty abilities they've chosen for the various characters, what combos I can find, what combos YOU folks find that I can use/abuse/co-opt into my own strategies.

"It's a skill game, Jo!"

- Rock

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