This is an awesome idea and I will incorporate it. I'm only giving it 3 stars because I'm going to have to modify formatting to use it extensively, and I was hoping to just get rolling with it. I bought it the day before a session expecting to GM a big chase and wound up not being able to use it (the players took a different path anyway, go figure.... but I wouldn't have had this if I had needed it).
First what you get - It comes in multiple pdf files, including a printer-friendly version with limited graphics/ no backgrounds, a full version with front and back graphics/ colors/ backgrounds, and a system-licensed version for use with Open Legend.
There is also a one-page instruction sheet that talks about how to use the cards.
The cards look very nice, and the effects range from the very ordinary (dodge the contents of a chamberpot being emptied) to the very outlandish (you catch sight of a former lover and must test to avoid being distracted). For a group interested in "playing through" this will be a lot of fun.
Make a test to pass a card, otherwise suffer some effect and your opponent puts another card between you or closes the distance, if you are the one running away.
Some of the cards will require modification or embellishment to fit specific circumstances and/or specific characters. With a little imagination, all of them can be made to work and deliver a fast-paced, high energy chase.
Each card presents a situation the character must face, and most cards present 2 possible tests to avoid the situation, along with the consequences of failure. For example, an alley is filled with garbage and debris, making footing difficult. Make an Easy (10) Reflex save to avoid slipping and falling, or make an Easy (10) Athletics check to climb a nearby rooftop and continue the chase.
I like the way the tests are laid out. Even though the tests show a specific number, it would be very easy to just use the stated difficulty and apply them in any system desired - I will probably be using them in Cubicle 7's Warhammer Fantasy Role-Play (WFRP) 4th Ed even though the checks don't match up to that system.
Like I said, great idea. Now, what would I change?
The main problem is in the printing and actual use - unless you have a printer that can print playing-card-sized cards (and card-sized stock), you'll have to reformat the pdf to print it, and that's almost as much work as just drawing up a set myself.
All 3 pdf files show 1 card per page, and most printers aren't going to handle that well. It would be really nice if one (or more) of the files was presented in an Avery-standard or MPC standard format, for printing on say, business-card stock or the MPC playing card stock. As-delivered, these aren't even going to be easy to print on straight-up cardstock without reformatting. In my mind, this is a must-fix for usability.
It would also be very nice to have a one or two-page GM reference chart that showed what all the cards do, possibly keyed to a standard card deck (again, eliminating the printing problem). This would be especially helpful if each "suit" of cards (and maybe each number or face) was keyed to a particular type of test or circumstance (clubs = rooftops, hearts = people obstacles, etc). It would help in quickly filtering these cards out, as some circumstances won't be applicable in some settings, on some chase paths, or for some groups. For example, I'm having a hard time imagining the average adventuring character chasing an evil minion stopping to help a lost child find their parents...
Some blank cards would be nice, for making my own additions appropriate maybe to the campaign or to a specific, scripted chase (That guardsman you've been avoiding? Yeah, he's right in front of you and at least one of you is going to be surprised...). Of course, a well-prepared GM could use that missing reference chart for effectively the same thing by prepping in advance...
Overall- great product, I would buy it again, and I want to see MORE (Rooftops, Mounted, Wilderness, Battlefield chases all come to mind....)