Name: Numenera Cypher Chest
Type: Roleplaying Game
Publisher: Monte Cook Games
System: Cypher System
Format- Boxed Set
Size: 28.3cm x 22cm x 4.8cm
(4.0 / 5)
The Cypher chest is an accessory for the Numenera roleplaying game. The cards included were originally designed as Kickstarter Stretch Goals during the original Numenera Kickstarter and, through this product and Print on Demand (PoD) services, have now been made available to the general public.
The product consists of 250 cards split between 3 different decks all housed in a very large box. The 3 decks are an XP deck, a Cypher Deck (which has 2 types of cards) and a Monster deck. The box itself is pretty chunky and a little advertising insert included advises that extra decks will be available via PoD through Drivethrurpg. The size of the box itself is specifically designed to allow you to expand upon what’s included.
The box is sturdy and solid and the plastic insert is designed to hold a total of 6 decks of cards, each of probably 120 cards. As it stands the box is probably around a third to half full based on the included contents. This does give you the impression that you aren’t getting a huge amount of value for your money and that you are paying mostly for packaging but I do like the fact that there is room to expand upon the contents with future releases.
The cards are individually 8.9 cm 6.3cm in size, all full colour and are made of strong, laminated card stock. I always make a comment as to whether a particular card component would pass the beer test (which is spilling beer or another liquid on it) and I think these would. As always I wouldn’t advise testing it and unless I end up with a duplicate card somewhere down the line I don’t plan on testing it myself. I will say that one of my cards came damage, with the top laminate coming scratched away from the card, damaging the artwork beneath but this appears to just be an aberration as the rest of the cards are pristine.
The decks are varying sizes with the XP deck having 30 cards, Monster deck 100 cards and the Cypher deck containing 120 cards in total. The XP deck is comprises of just two types of card, 1XP cards and 4XP cards. These are to handed out to players during the game to represent GM Intrusions and serve a nice little reminded that the XP is there to be used, either to fuel upgrades or, in the case of my party, to mitigate the inexorable number of 1’s them seem to roll.
Every Card in the Monster deck is different as each represents a monster from either the Core book or the Bestiary. The cards are all double sided with one side showing a full colour image of the creature (which can be really helpful since describing some of the more outlandish creatures can be somewhat of a challenge) and the other showing a breakdown of their level, habitat, motivations and combat capabilities such as HP, damage, unique attacks etc as well as the page reference for the relevant book in case you need to look it up. The deck comes alphabetised and I highly suggest that anyone who picks up this product keeps it that was for ease of searching. I find this deck very useful because it means that, ahead of time, I can pull out a few cards that I’ll need and then I don’t need to have the book, or books, open and on-hand during the session, making sure that the table is free of clutter.
The Cypher deck comes in 2 parts. The first 20 cards represent a type of Cypher and show a picture. These are used as examples for the type of tech that has been found, such as a wearable item, tablet, large bulky item or even injected substance. The majority of the deck, being the other 100 cards, are taken from the Cyphers in the core book. Each card has 2 or 3 cyphers listed on it, along with a description of what they do and the level. The idea here is that you randomly draw one card from each deck to quickly generate Cyphers on the fly. I’ve used this regularly and, for the most part it worked fine. I do think that it’s be better if the Cyphers were limited to 1/card so that you could hand them to players to keep until used/discarded, but I understand that this would double or triple the size of the deck and that’s not really plausible.
Overall I like the product and it makes it to the table every single session now. The XP deck sits by my side, a constant reminder to players that I may throw a spanner in the works at any moment (especially when I start picking up cards and playing with them) and the Cypher deck is used whenever a player comes up with an inventive way of finding cyphers that I hadn’t accounted for in prep. The standout though, is the Monster deck, which I think is brilliant. I warmed to the idea after picking up the Monster Vault for FFG Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay and ever since I’ve thought the idea is brilliant and such a space saver.
My only real criticism is the difficulty in obtaining the PoD add-ons anywhere other than the US. I looked into it and the first add-on would cost me as much again as the initial product because of the ludicrous price of shipping from America, which is a real shame. I wish someone would set up a PoD hub in Europe for anything like this so that we can reap the benefits of what is an excellent service.