Feature Focus: Encounter Decks
The encounter deck is a feature of D&D 4e that, if I had to guess, I’d say most people do not use. And that’s a shame, because in a sense it’s the spiritual descendant of the random monster tables from previous editions, and it can be a lot of fun.
Encounter decks have been a part of Masterplan since the very first release, in February 2009. They were functional but limited: you could create decks using the AutoBuild feature, and use them to generate encounters in the encounter builder. Good enough.
But as time passed we began to think that this implementation was a bit Spartan. Why was there no way to build encounter decks card by card? Why could you not refill a deck once cards had been taken out? Why was there not a better way to view the cards in a deck?
The encounter deck builder, which will be available with Masterplan version 8.4, addresses these issues.
The list of encounter decks is accessed as before, but the encounter deck builder takes the place of the grid view from earlier versions. The grid is still there, but as you can see the right-hand side of the window contains a list of creatures (just like in the encounter builder). When a grid cell is selected, this list is updated to show all the creatures that fit that cell. Creatures can then be dragged and dropped into the grid to add them to the encounter deck.
This arrangement provides us with the ability to build decks on a card-by-card basis, which is great, but we also wanted a better way to view the cards. The deck view feature now gives us this.
As you might expect you can scroll through the cards with your mouse wheel, or click on a particular card to bring it to the top of the deck.
With these new features, do you think you might be more likely to use encounter decks in your campaigns? Were you using them already?