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Characters live at the core of Fate! Fate Core is the latest edition of Evil Hat Productions' popular Fate roleplaying game system.
Characters live at the core of Fate! Fate Core is the latest edition of Evil Hat Productions' popular Fate roleplaying game system.
10,103 backers pledged $433,365 to help bring this project to life.

Dealing Fate a New Hand: Stretch Goal Update!

Posted by Fred Hicks / Evil Hat Productions (Creator)

One of the top requests we've had over the years has been for an "official" version of fate point counters for folks to use in their games. We love this idea! But we've never hit on an implementation that seemed to make good sense to us as a product, whether it's due to manufacturing hurdles, or our ability to produce enough fate point tokens at a low enough price point to make us happy, or other things.

Today, we're announcing a stretch goal that points in a new direction that would make it much more possible: the Deck of Fate. This 100-card deck would sport a "fate point token" on the back of every card, giving an entire play group an attactive, easily portable way to track their fate point supply at a very affordable price.

But fate points are only one side of the Deck of Fate.

On the other side of the cards -- for 81 of them, at least -- we'll be showing something like what you see on the right, above: one of the 81 possible results when you throw down four fudge dice (4dF).

At its simplest, this means that you can shuffle this "sub-deck" and deal out a random result equivalent to a 4dF without needing your dice on hand. So right in your pocket, in a handy tuck box, you'll get both a 19-card fate point supply (the spares) and an 81-card substitute for your fudge dice.

But we're planning to make the Deck of Fate more than just that. Here's some of the extra value and "hooks" we'll be packing into our dice-cards:

  • On each card, you'll get two short phrases that suggest different ways to interpret the fall of the dice. Is that +4 result coming from "incredible luck", or executing your skill with "perfect form"?
  • Did you know there are three different patterns of dice that will get you a zero result? One pattern occurs 12 times, another occurs 6 times, and another occurs only once. We'll be including icons, not shown in this early prototype image, which will indicate the rarity of each pattern. Can you figure out some additional game-hooks based on how rare a pattern is? We sure can.
  • By arranging the dice in a column, you'll be able to determine which die of each card is the "first" one (the outermost). We'll reinforce this with a triangle or simple pointer in the final design. Games that use the Deck of Fate will be able to hook into this as well -- imagine effects that occur only when the "first" die shows a plus sign, and so on. (Something you could achieve with differently colored fudge dice for sure, but this is pretty elegant too.)
  • Card games! We'll be noodling out a card game or two you can play with a Deck of Fate, and we'll put the rules on the back of one of those spare fate point cards, and/or make the rules for such games downloadable from our website. Fred's a big fan of trick-taking games, and is already puzzling out a "capture the stars" card game for this...

We're excited about the possibilities of the Deck of Fate, and hope you are too! 

If we hit the stretch funding goal for the Deck, we'll finish up the deck's design and get it into production. It's too early to say when we'd be able to put this out to the market, nor what the price would be, but as your reward for getting us to the goal, all backers will get the digital files to "print and play" their own Deck of Fate if they want -- or to use the graphics to create additional cards to stow in a Deck, adding a little customized flavor.

Are you ready to make the Deck of Fate happen? Well, shuffle up and deal, folks -- we're all in!


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    1. Missing avatar

      VonEther on

      My work here is done. :)

    2. Missing avatar

      John "johnkzin" Rudd

      oops. 2x-3, not 1x-3

    3. Missing avatar

      John "johnkzin" Rudd

      If you do a 50 card deck, you get:
      1x+4 (and 1x-4)
      2x+3 (and 1x-3)
      6x+2 (and 6x-2)
      10x+1 (and 10x-1)

      The probabilities are VERY close to 4dF. If you use 2 decks together, tossing out the extra +4/-4, it's even closer:

      That gets you closer to a standard printed deck (56 cards: 52 regulars, 2 jokers, 2 rules/ad cards). You could do all 6 of those extras a "just Fate Point" cards, or whatever. Maybe, as someone else suggested, for those 6 extras, put a QR code on the "face" side, so that you can link out to the rules. Cards with the QR code can be jokers, fate-point-only, or whatever.

      But, my main point is: it gets you closer to a standard deck, without throwing off the probabilities very much. The "con" is: you don't get to represent every possible 4 die combination in the background, since it's not "1 card per die permutation/combination". I expect the cost of the 50 card deck would be easier, since it already fits with what bicycle and other companies plan on providing (ie. standard production run).

      Anyway, that's my thoughts. I was thinking about how to do such a card deck on my own, with various elements represented on them (the standard 4 elements + metal and wood ... and then working out how to assign them on the distribution of cards). But I don't know that I could justify a 2500 deck production run (bicycle's minimum run). At $4/deck, that's $10k... though, $4 is the single deck price, so I suspect it would be a little cheaper than that... but still sounds like a bit more than my completely-disposable cash reserve.

    4. Fred Hicks / Evil Hat Productions 13-time creator

      '3' you can get by simply looking to see what the first die is showing (minus, blank, or plus) on each card's quartet. Hmm.

    5. Missing avatar

      VonEther on

      Ah. But 3, 9 and 27 do. (I was afraid that 81 was a prime for a moment). For practicality, 3 or 9 would be possible color sets.

      For quick and dirty gaming, 9 might be close enough to 10 for those looking into percentages.(10%-90%).

      Of course the "colors" could be symbols or something else.

      I'm just brainstorming here, btw, not making a wishlist.

      This takes me back to my Marvel SAGA days, those cards had so many ways to play with them (Card colors, villian/hero, superhero teams, numbers, upside/downside, etc).

    6. Fred Hicks / Evil Hat Productions 13-time creator

      None of those divide into 81, though.

    7. Missing avatar

      VonEther on

      I'd like to suggest that you add 4, 5 or 6 colors as "suits" that let a GM do a quick random choices. i.e., If he wants to give something a 25% chance of happening. He'll call out one color out of 4 in the deck.

    8. Emmanuel Greene on

      If there's not enough space to put suggested rules in the deck itself, maybe you could print a QR code on one of the cards (or on the box) that links to a downloadable ruleset.

    9. Fred Hicks / Evil Hat Productions 13-time creator

      I'd considered that sort of design, John, but I wanted to create a deck with a little more depth of complexity to it. We've selected our deck size appropriate to the "breakpoint" deck sizes from our printer of choice; the increase in number of cards from 56 to 81 to 100 has only a minimal impact on cost.

    10. John Powell on

      Oh, and with the 54 card decks you could give half of each 'suit' to the players for their rolls, and GMs keep the other half for theirs. Shuffle each half deck after every roll.

    11. John Powell on

      I think you should consider using a standard deck size of 54 cards. That will give you 18 each of plus, minus, and blank cards. That's enough to deal out an opposed roll (8 cards) without skewing the probabilities too much. And if you should lose or damage a card, you can take two more out of the deck to re-normalize it - something you can't do with the 81 card deck. I bet everything will be much cheaper if you stick to standard card count and packaging. Two decks of 54 may cost less than one deck of 81...


    12. Missing avatar

      John "johnkzin" Rudd

      oh, one more thing on the "probabilities" -- If you have suits, I would make the "jokers" all be on the zero values, since there are more of those than any other card values. For things like "FATE card poker", that makes SOME of the zero cards slightly more valuable.

    13. Missing avatar

      John "johnkzin" Rudd

      FATE card poker (if you have suits):

      With a standard deck, you judge the value of two hands of the same type (straight vs straight) by going with the highest card value. That works because the cards themselves are all of equal probability, and thus a 4 or no more nor less likely than a 3.

      With the 81 numbered cards of a FATE deck, the -4 is inherently more valuable than the +3, because there are fewer -4's than +3's. So, (I would suggest) only the absolute value of the number should be considered for breaking ties. (+/- 4 beats +/-3 beats +/- 2 beats +/- 1 beats 0). Only consider the sign if the absolute values are also tied. (for anyone that has forgotten what "absolute value" means, it means "ignore the sign": The absolute value of -4 is the same as the absolute value of +4)

      Otherwise, the poker hands work exactly the same, you just don't have "face cards".

    14. Missing avatar

      John "johnkzin" Rudd

      (bringing up the "card suit" idea again)
      There's that nice circle of plusses in the middle of the card-face background ... right between the base of the two "4" symbols. What if that blank space in the center of the circle had a card suit icon in it? (I'm just trying to think of "where on the current design could it fit?)

      Another option is: next to the "first die" indicator (no, between the first die, and the peak of the "4"). That's another blank spot.

      Third option: move the 4 dice "down" slightly (there seems to be enough room to do that, slightly shifting the phrase), and put the suit indicator where the first die currently is.

      You could combine the 2nd and 3rd option (putting 2 symbols "above" the first die) ... the french/conventional suit, and then either a tarot minor arcana, OR a "element" symbol. But, if you go with elementals, I would try to extend it to include more than just the standard 4 (air, earth, water, fire). My favorite extras being: metal, wood, void or death, and maybe life. For elemental symbols I'd do:

      air (3 sinusodal lines: curved peaks and troughs)
      earth (circle)
      water (3 "water" lines: sharp peaks and curved troughs ... or 1-3 water drops)
      fire (1-3 flame shapes: like an upside down water drop, but with 2 or 3 points on top ... hard to describe)
      metal (a generic sword shape)
      wood (a leaf)
      life (an asterix? or maybe a happy/alive face)
      void/death (a vortex/spiral ... or maybe a sad face or skull)

      As for the effect on probabilities (due to 81 cards vs 52), I would just go with: 5 non-suited cards ("jokers") + 76 suited cards (4 suits/minor-arcana * 14 cards each). For the remaining 19 "extra" cards ... assuming they are somehow different: 3 jokers + 4 cards of each suit. That gives you a LOT more jokers than a typical deck, for the suits you still get a 25% distribution across each suit/minor-arcana.

      Adding in the elements, if you go with all 8 of the ones I mentioned: have the jokers be "element-less" (so they're jokers for suit AND element). So, for the 81 card deck: 76 is divisible by 8: 12 cards of each element. Out of the extra 19 cards, you've got 16 suited cards, that's 2 of each element.

      But, again, I still don't know if that makes the design "too busy". Especially if you have both suit/minor-arcana AND elements.

    15. Andre Alves Garzia on

      This is the best kickstarter ever!!!!!

    16. Missing avatar

      Kevin Bates on

      I'm in favor of the symmetrical back as well. Maybe 2 Fate logos?

      Plus I really hope these have an add on cost by the end of the KS. I'd pay an extra $10 for a deck like this easy.

    17. Fred Hicks / Evil Hat Productions 13-time creator

      I'd say talk to me come February. :)

    18. Dave Rosser Jr on

      What if said person were to do it and hand over all of it to do with as you please, every bit and byte?

      And completely avoid any infringement.

    19. Fred Hicks / Evil Hat Productions 13-time creator

      I'd say they're infringing on our intellectual property. :)

    20. Dave Rosser Jr on

      What would you say if someone used the images to create such an app?

    21. Fred Hicks / Evil Hat Productions 13-time creator

      That's not within our core skill set.

    22. DT Butchino on

      Fred, have you considered making an app for this?

    23. Fred Hicks / Evil Hat Productions 13-time creator

      I suppose you could, Ville. :)

    24. Ville Makkonen on

      Something I have liked to do is draw "oracle cards" (like In a Wicked Age) to come up with semi-random events or NPC's for the next gaming session. Could this be a possible user story for the card design?

    25. Missing avatar

      F.A. on

      I'd enjoy something LIKE the major arcana, but not THE major arcana, please. Maybe the Adventure Arcana, with pulp, sci-fi, western, etc... archetypes. The Hero, The Villain, The Weapon, The Trap, The Legend, The Mistery... With a set of maybe 5 words?

      That and the regular dice cards could make a FATE GM Emulator, kinda Mythic, or a FATE GM Counselor, at least.

    26. Jonathan C. Dietrich

      I'm also a fan of the idea of creating the fate equivalent of major arcana for the "spare" cards.

    27. Jonathan C. Dietrich

      I too would encourage exploring a symmetrical design for the card back to mask the card's orientation.

      Why? Since each card has two different text descriptions. This means that they could be "read" like a tarot deck and the description at the top takes precedent.

    28. Fred Hicks / Evil Hat Productions 13-time creator

      Folks wondering what the suns and moons in the Deck of Fate data spreadsheet are for -

    29. Fred Hicks / Evil Hat Productions 13-time creator

      Sun and Moon stuff is tied to how frequently a given pattern comes up. If a given pattern (4 of a kind) is unique, it gets an eclipse. If it's rare (like three plusses and a zero), it comes up 4 times in the deck, and gets three celestial symbols (a mix of suns and moons). If it's uncommon (like two plusses, two minuses), it comes up 6 times in the deck, and gets two symbols. If it's common (e.g., plus, minus, blank-blank), it comes up 12 times in the deck, and gets one symbol. The symbols are there both to indicate the rarity of the displayed dice pattern, and to provide hooks for card games that might be played with the deck. Folks might also figure out ways to have the sun/moon mixture affect how they use the card in RPG play.

    30. WuseMajor

      What are the Sun and Moon things?

    31. Fred Hicks / Evil Hat Productions 13-time creator

      This is Daniel Solis and I working on the data planning for the deck:…

    32. Fred Hicks / Evil Hat Productions 13-time creator

      Plenty of reasons, Constantine, but chief among them is that we don't want to run too many kickstarters in one year, and this is legitimately a part of the Fate Core product line that we're exploring how far we can and should take, here, with *this* Kickstarter.

    33. Missing avatar

      Constantine Thomas on

      While I'm sure it'll be funded, I'm curious as to why you don't set this up as a separate kickstarter instead of putting it as a stretch goal?

    34. Fred Hicks / Evil Hat Productions 13-time creator

      Phil, we'll tell you when we know how big it is, what its production value approach is, what it's format is, how much we've put into the art, what the printing costs are likely to be, ... you get the picture. None of that's known yet, so we *can't* tell you that number, especially so long before it actually gets published (we projected late 2013/early 2014). That's why it's "nebulous", but we're still promising everyone the PDF. :)

    35. Phil Davies on

      Much like the update for Shadow of the Century, this is all interesting but without a cost to attach to me pledge to get a physical copy it's not going to make me pledge any more. I really want this AND the physical copy of Shadow but a nebulous reaching of stretch goal isn't enough, tell me how much you want to get the product in my hands and I'll give you the money!

    36. Wayne Williams on

      The problem with square cards is they are a pain to shuffle which depending on how you use the Fate Deck might have to happen pretty often.

    37. Fred Hicks / Evil Hat Productions 13-time creator

      We're sticking with standard poker sized.

    38. C3

      Have you given any thoughts to non-standard card sizes. Mainly I'm thinking square. Something similar to the square sized cards fantasy flight uses in some of their games. I love this idea but something about using a rectangular shape for fate points seems off to me.

    39. Richard Bellingham on

      @gary: I've neatly formatted it in a google doc for future consideration, if you want to take a look.

    40. Richard Bellingham on

      @Gary: It's not too bad when you realise how neatly it breaks down. 1 is -2, 2-3 is -1, 4-6 is 0, 7-8 is +1 and 9 is +2.. 36 would therefore be -1 + 0 = -1.

    41. Gary Forbis on

      @Garth & @Richard

      I'd want to see actual custom dice because remembering exactly what a 36 is when I roll it is hard. For the last die face, I'd put some unique symbol like a dot. The dot could mean [ ] [ ] +0 to weight things slightly more toward the middle, or it could mean to double the other die, which would make things a little swingier. Double dot could then be something very interesting, like some sort of compel out of left-field.

    42. Fred Hicks / Evil Hat Productions 13-time creator

      "Assuming the deck does get funded, would it be possible to include optional card mechanics, along with possible pitfalls and things to keep in mind abut the differences between dice and cards, in either the Toolbox or a short booklet with the deck?"

      Possible, sure. We'll figure it out. If we can't get it on the physical thing (it's amazing how simply including a booklet can add $5 or more to the price tag of a deck), we'll produce downloadable rules ideas and advice.

    43. Richard Bellingham on

      Hmm, further to earlier comments it's just occurred to me that you could replicate 2dF with a normal d10 if you had a conversion table, like this:

      2DF on 1D10

      1 [-] [-] -2
      2 [-] [ ] -1
      3 [ ] [-] -1
      4 [-] [+] +0
      5 [ ] [ ] +0
      6 [+] [-] +0
      7 [+] [ ] +1
      8 [ ] [+] +1
      9 [+] [+] +2
      10 Reroll? Something dramatic?

      This could be good for people who only have percentile dice, as they could represent the full range of Fate rolls on their two dice. This might be useful in low-dice situations until the Deck of Fate comes out, and it's not too hard to remember, either!

    44. Missing avatar

      Jayson Stevens on

      I'm not sure of the logistics behind it, and I guess it really depends on what goes on the 19 spare cards as well... but there are two things I would like with my electronic deck.

      A: A version that goes up to 108. This would make things nice and even with POD printers that do 54 card lots (Artscow...). This does depend on what goes on the 19 cards. If they're all just generic, then it's not important to add 8 more, I can just use dupes.

      B: A version that has all the art as independent standalone high-res image files. This caters directly to people PODding the deck via Artscow etc (I want this sooner rather than soon, so Artscow it would be)
      If you're looking to fill the 19 cards, you could a lot worse than some mugshots of iconic FATE characters. Jet, Mack, Sally, Robo, Jenkins, Dr. Dinosaur, Harry, Murphy, Molly... that's half the cards right there

    45. ET3D on

      I'm a sucker for cards, and might have paid for them if they were a cheap add-on, but I understand the problem with shipping. Thanks for making them available as a PDF.

    46. WuseMajor

      I like the current design that you have up there for the deck. I also like that you guys are thinking about the various rules options this allows for, since those could be a lot of fun.

      Assuming the deck does get funded, would it be possible to include optional card mechanics, along with possible pitfalls and things to keep in mind abut the differences between dice and cards, in either the Toolbox or a short booklet with the deck?

    47. Garth Rose on

      Gary's point about dice is a good one. It occurs to me that you could put 2dF on a 10-sided die really easily - it'd be much nicer to roll 2d10 than 4dF, but that's just me. The 'extra' side could mean reroll, but you could also come up with fun alternative rules for it.

    48. Fred Hicks / Evil Hat Productions 13-time creator

      We can probably be convinced to support both. Just remind us when the time comes. :)

    49. Ben on

      Any chance the pdf will support printing onto note cards one at a time, or would it be full standard sheets of paper and leave trimming to us?

    50. Fred Hicks / Evil Hat Productions 13-time creator

      POD decks are in a weird space right now. I'm hoping we can fast-track the deck production so there's not much hang-time.