I’m a big fan of picking up games in PDF. I have a beautiful library of games on my tablet that I can whip out for a game night or a convention (remember those? *tiny tears*), and instead of lugging around a big bag of books, I just have to remember to charge my ancient iPad mini. Besides, it saves me money and it saves some trees. All good stuff.
Usually, the only thing I end up printing from a game book’s PDF is a couple of character sheets or a playset. But what about when the format shifts from being a PDF of a book to being a PDF of a card deck? It gets a little tricky.
Just like you wouldn’t print a whole book out, I don’t think you should print out all the cards for Fedora Noir. Here are the ways I would use the PDF:
In designing the game, I focused on making it a gorgeous physical deck. But I also really wanted people to be able to play without the cards, especially online, so I set up an online card deck that anyone can access using Story Synth.
It includes everything except the settings and actors. If you want to play with one of the included settings, you can use your PDF to share the relevant pages, or plop a screenshot of the one you choose to use over in your shared notes document.
Print & Play
I wouldn’t print a full card deck from the PDF since it would use a lot of ink and wouldn’t look nearly as nice as the professionally printed deck (which should be getting in the mail around March 2022). Instead, here’s how I would run an at-the-table game using the PDF:
- Read the Instructions cards from your phone or tablet. You can pass it around the table, or one person can read each page. Just make sure you complete the procedures as you go. (You can also print these out as regular pages, or two to a page, if you don’t want to read from your device)
- Make an X card at the table using an index card.
- Make little standing cards that say each role and pass those out instead of the role cards. Give each player a notecard in case they want to make notes about their role.
- Answer the case questions from your PDF.
The only things I’d recommend printing are the Chapter Cards and the “Playing the Story” card. In total, it’s 8 pages, black and white if you use my suggestions below:
- Chapter Cards: The chapter cards are the only cards that have important information on the backs. I laid them out in this document to be a little more printer-friendly: Fedora Noir Chapter Cards – Print and Play
- “Playing the Story” card: This is optional to print, but quite useful to have in front of each player. Print directly from the PDF (page 13). You can print 4 copies per page and give one to each player.
If you want to print any other cards (for example, settings cards or actors): Your printer/computer may have different options. On my Mac, when I go to print, I click on “Layout.” Then I select “4 pages per sheet.” They will be a little smaller than the tarot size, so if you’ve got eyes like mine, you might do 2 pages per sheet. Just print these single sided. There is no reason to print the backs.
Whether it’s online or in person, I hope you get a chance to play the game soon! Enjoy!