|Cover to Rage TCG Starter Box|
|Combat Action Card|
My first experience with White Wolf wasn’t actually one of their RPGs. Way back in 1995, I was a junior in high school and a bit of a geek. I read a lot of books, and when I was in the mall at B. Dalton I ran across Rage for the first time. If you’re not familiar with Rage, it was a trading card game based on Werewolf the Apocalypse and one of the earlier competitors with Magic: the Gathering. Rage was released in 1995 and had several expansions including The Umbra, The Wyrm, War in the Amazon, and Legacy of the Tribes. The 1990s had a glut of card games with everything from Magic the Gathering which created the industry to Blood War by TSR and the comic book based OverPower Card game. I even remember a really terrible card game based on the 1994 Crow film starring Brandon Lee. Everything had a card game!
I bought a starter pack and a couple of boosters and introduced it to my friends at the time. I remember loving it and playing it quite a bit, especially during chemistry class. When I was in elementary school, I collected baseball cards and things like that, but Rage was the first time that I really got into collecting something seriously. I must have spent two hundred dollars over the course of a couple of years on those cards. That doesn’t seem like much now or compared to the fortunes that have been spent on games like Magic: the Gathering or Legend of the Five Rings or other Trading Card Games. However, for a 16 yr old without a job, that was a lot of money. I used to have a huge shoebox full of Rage cards and I had a couple of decks.
I was never very good at the game to be honest, but I had a good time playing it. Probably one of my favorite features of the game was that it had two separate decks. One deck, the Sept Deck, was full of powers and abilities that you played during normal play. The other deck, called the Combat Deck, was full of combat actions with great names like Eyes Gouged, Rent Asunder and Spine Crushed. The art was gorgeous and brutal and perfectly reflected the essence of the game. Another interesting part of the game was that you built your two separate decks, Sept and Combat, and then chose a pack of werewolves to be your warriors. They battled your opponent’s pack or they battled enemies that you could play from your Sept Deck.
I hadn’t thought about Rage for years, but now that I’m re-reading Werewolf the Apocalypse 2nd Edition, I’ve been thinking about that card game and how useful the cards would be for running a Werewolf RPG. Rage has tons of great characters with art available so that it would easy for me or any storyteller to use those to generate any number of NPCs for a Chronicle. If you’re not familiar with Werewolf, the Garou or werewolves have Native American sounding names like Howls Like Thunder or Scar Throat Leech Killer. I’ve never been very good at coming up with just normal names for NPCs, so going through the card list for Rage is a great way to generate a list of names for NPCs. You can find a list of cards here. Or just do a Google Search for Rage to find some images.
Second, the art work on each card is awesome. They really captured the mood of Werewolf the Apocalypse and translated that into great visuals. Some of the card art was re-used in various supplements. I’ve been trying to find a way to do a better job of immersing players into the game, and I think that using some of the card art might be a great way to do that. If nothing else, the cards offer a lot of great images that can inspire NPCs or quests or perhaps an entire adventure. The game also had plenty of weapons and equipment cards that could help flesh out a Chronicle. For example, the Bane Arrow card would be a perfect fit into any Werewolf RPG. Just have the players go on a quest to bind a weak bane spirit into arrows they can turn against the Wyrm.
After Rage, I moved on to playing Decipher’s Star Wars CCG which remains my favorite card game. I’ve played many others as well including Magic, Legend of the Five Rings, and Dragonball Z. However, to this day, Rage stands out as one of the best and coolest card games that I’ve played. Maybe it’s just the nostalgia talking but I’d love to find my old cards and try it out again, if I could figure out the rules.
While Rage has long been out of print, it still has support through a fan community. You can access that via their Facebook page. The community is small, but it’s great to see that people still love this game as much as I do. They are releasing fan designed cards and further expanding the game. You can still play the game through Lackey. I haven’t had a chance to play this version of Rage yet, but I am going to give a try. If you're interested in trying it out, let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.