This is a review of the recently released Decktet book.
Disclosure : I designed a game that uses the Decktet, a variation of that is included in this book, and I was sent a complimentary copy.
The Details :
This softback book is the size of a regular paperback and runs to 136 pages, has a glossy colour cover and is black and white within.
In my murky past I once read a book about the various standard games that can be played with regular cards. That book ( long since lost ) basically listed the games and gave the rules for each in a dry style. This book does not do that, this book has a jaunty style that makes it an engaging read, it also contains much more than just rules!
Lets step through the pages.
After a couple of pages preliminaries it leads into a section that I found really enjoyable. In this section the author describes the genesis of the Decktet gaming system, from first ideas to final version. The text and images show how the card designs evolved and give an insight into the desingers mind and inspirations.
The next section is the biggest in the book and actually gives you the rules for a number of games. This is not some dry recital of mechanics! As I mentioned earlier, the mood of the writing is jaunty and never boring.
I should mention that the designer has a "game world" in mind when dealing with the Decktet, and many of the games have a background story about their development or place in the world. What this does is help to build a theme into the card play. With a regular deck you'd just be following suit or some such, but with this background you have a theme or a story to the game play. I have found that having that background adds to my enjoyment of the games.
In general each game description is broken up into "Setup", "Play", "stratergy" and "using the Extended Deck", the final section often giving extra rules which you might consider the advanced version of the game.
In total 21 games are presented.
Next up are a few pages suggesting how you could use the card deck within a role playing game. I hadn't thought of that until reading this section, and I found that it did inspire me to use the deck for this. Some good ideas here.
Then comes part 3, which a guide to using the Decktet for fortune telling. Obviously this is silly nonsence, BUT the process' and suggestions here are very useful once again for the roleplayer. The Gypsy fortune teller in your RPG could be played out in full at the gaming table using this guide.
For the number crunchers out there, you will find the final section of interest. It presents a number of analytical views of the deck with especial reference to how the numbers add up for the various games. this knowledge will certainly be of use to a serious player.
A final note, about art. The book is liberally scattered with black and white art, varying in style from simple pen and ink drawings to wood-cut like. All of the art adds to the "feel" of the book and the theme of the Decktet itself.
In summary, I've really enjoyed reading the book and would reccomend it for any fan of the Decktet, or anyone who wants a game related book for some light reading.