Full disclosure: I met Jesse Butler, the creator of Short Order Heroes, at Gen Con. He’s a great guy and so maybe I’m a little biased regarding his game. I don’t think so, but I just wanted to put that out there.
This probably shouldn’t have been such an epiphany, but when Jesse Butler demo’d Short Order Heroes for me, I was blown away. Each card has a personality attribute like cute, complicated, or tough. Each card also has a numeric value on it. These cards can be used to flesh out NPCs, create personalities for PCs, or even as a very light RPG.
It was their use to quickly give NPCs quirks that first caught my interest. I’m generally pretty good about differentiating NPCs, but everyone has an off night. And even then, I actually work better when I am not the one deciding on the personality. Just as having the players decide on the setting makes me excited and offers a little challenge, it’s the same way with throwing down a couple of cards from the deck. Cute and tough? Okay, that’s interesting, and it’s not something I probably would have thought of myself.
Then Jesse showed me how to use it as an RPG, creating characters with the cards, using them also to flesh out obstacles, and then the pack becomes the randomizer with the PC’s card traits providing bonuses to their actions. I’d been talking with some friends a while back about creating a 5 Minute RPG – one that could be played anywhere, anytime. This pretty much does that.
Is it perfect? It’s a bit expensive for its utility as an NPC personality matrix. Now, the art and production values are excellent, but if you are someone who hesitates to pay $20 for a book, that might be a lot to ask for a deck of cards. That said, it’s within the price range of many other card deck games.
All in all, I give Short Order Heroes 4.5 cute quirks out of 5. It’s a game and a game utility in one deck with great art and a fun concept.
You can find out more about Short Order Heroes at Calico Games.
You can hear the Accidental Survivors try to cook up a five minute RPG here.