Suited is fast, exciting and flexible due to its core mechanics and "booster packs", which are basically setting primer that fit on 2 pages. It's unique card mechanics paired with exciting features like their suit/color-related advantages/disadvantages make for nervewrecking, hilarious or dramatic situations. I had a lot of fun playing it solo and I am curious what will come next out of house Escape Box Games. Over all a very enjoyable expirience.
I developed a scale based on the narrative freedom one particular system gives their players and gm. Games like Fate with its setting-agnostic design and unique character creation (skills, troubles, aspects, etc.) for example rate very high, since you are limited only by your imagination. On the other side are very structured and "set-in-stone"-systems like Dungeons and Dragons that are set in a certain kind of setting and come with predefined classes, movesets, etc. Of course, rating high on the freedom scale means more creative involvement from players and more improvisation skills from gamemasters, which might not be desired by some. Suited hits a comfortable middle-ground, having predefined settings, but still giving a lot of choice in character and world creation. I particularily loved the gm table as it is more of a inspirational workbook contained in one sentence (when using the quick adventure setup) and you still come up with unique worlds no matter how often you play the same "setting".
It reminded me of FATE and Numenera as in the skills are somewhat the player's decision and not pre-determined. This is possible due to their modifier-based actions. It's exciting to argument which skill applies and start stacking boni. I was also reminded of Savage Worlds since that system also uses cards to track systems, but, contrary to Savage Worlds, where the card deck is only used sparringly, here it is the core and thus tracking the initiative this way makes much more sense and is only logical. It's also even more exciting when the same deck you use for basically everything starts shrinking (I only shuffled when the deck was empty) and you can guess what cards might be left. Will you get the King and go first?? Or will you draw the last 2 and will face off against an onslaught of enemy actions. This pseudo-predictability makes for a sometimes more exciting encounter. Last, but not least, the benefits/negative flavor effects reminded me a lot of Fantasy Flight's Star Wars system, since in both you can miserably fail, but still get a disadvantage (FF's term for flavor effects) and your weapon might be propelled out of your hand after impact with the scalp of that dreaded marauder chief. I love systems that incorporate a result other than "you succed/fail" into their moves since it invites enviromental/situational events into your narrative and this makes stuff exciting, damnit!
Of course, no system is perfect. As I played it solo, I had to manage NPCs as well. Which is made easy by the inclusion of NPC Stat blocks, although, a more expansive beastiary would be neat. An idea might be to make a list of possible stat blocks (or rather skill blocks, as NPCs only have skills, which makes so much sense) that are system-agnostic and are based off of stereo- and archetypes. For example the "Brute"-Archetype would always have the Raging+5-Skill, and could be a bodyguard in the Noir-setting, or a hulking zombie in the Post-apocalyptic setting. By the by, i love the unique setting genres, it's a more unconvetional selection. You could be band member or a western hero or a detective in a black-and-white-film. Yet, I missed the more generic settings like high and low fantasy and sci-fi. But back to NPCs. Having to resolve all actions basically twice made combat quite slow and would've been easier if there would've been a more pre-set or faster way to decide if my hero does hit the enemy clan leader or not. I love the difficulty table (p.13), as it gives some orientation for how hard a particular action should be, but if I hadn't had some experience in solo playing some actions would've been difficult to resolve. For example my character faced a clan leader and tried to convince her to form an alliance. The leader was pissed at my PC, because he diminished her army, but he also had a macguffin, she wanted, which also made her angry, but he also had an important NPC hostage and so on. I resolved this by adding or subtracting modifiers or raising and lowering the difficulty score, but it felt rather hacky and I'm sure, Escape Box Games could come up with a much more elegant solution. Also I had to homebrew my way of making my character strong enough to manage situations all by themselves, giving them an additional spades bonus. I think, having a "preset" for solo play that doesn't require you to manage a party or several NPCs to succed would be nice (thinking about FATE Solo). Also some mechanics like aiding I never used, because it felt like cheating. Most solo systems incorporate a mechanic that gives the Solo-PC some edge like momentum in Ironsworn, to name a popular example of solo rpg systems. But, this is nagging on a high standard, since the system was overall very solo friendly. I supplemented it with Mythic GM emulator, but I'd love the addition of a few more tables to decide NPC and environment actions, events and some oracles with cards. Having a secondary "Fate deck" next to yours that's only used to resolve difficult questions like "Is the cult leader on my side or against me?" would have added nice flavor. Especially since one of the strong suits of Suited is its portability and not having to carry another system/emulator and additional dice would play into its strengths a lot. Since a deck is basically a d13 and a d4 in one, it feels like there's a lot of opportunities for unusual tables and oracles (a d52-table?). Also I though there could've been some purpose for jokers somewhere, they felt lonely in their tuckbox.
I've been rambling on for too long, so I want to make one final conclusion. Suited is unique and exciting due to it's usage of cards and card mechanics. It's easy, portable and fast. It's a wonderful foundation already, but could use some more polish and depth, so it's not just a situational system, but can hold itself next to mainstays of tabletops.
Thank you, Ted Pick Jr., Erin Johnson and Escape Box Games for this great addition to the evergrowing world of rpgs!
I'm all Suited up for what's to come!