It is with a mixed sense of interest and frustration that I note all the new miniature and board games using cards to control turn sequences and/or events.
What's old is new again...
I've long used cards in my games. Many, many years ago, I subscribed to the "PW Review", a mimeographed 8 1/2 x 11 stapled monthly newsletter that featured the ramblings of Wally Simon. Wally used cards for sequence management and action allocation, and I can't remember many of his homegrown rules that didn't use them.
I tinkered with The Sword and the Flame for a while - it had cards, after all! I could never force myself to like the red/black one unit at a time activiation. Too slow for my tastes, and it left most players to sit and watch.
Many moons ago - 12? 15? I can't even remember - Bob Jones moved back to Denver in a career move. I'm not sure how many out there know or have met Bob, but he NEVER thinks conventionally. Bob has to be one of the most creative thinkers and game designers to have ever have graced the wargame hobby. When I met Bob, he was just starting to tinker with concepts that would turn into Piquet, and the associated period supplements. Many years of debate followed, as control enthusiasts decried the randomness of Piquet and its turn sequencing using cards. "Too random!" "No control!" "It will never work!".
Well - work it did! Bob has since moved on to different methods of creative turn sequencing and action limitations in his Die Fighting and Zouave rules, and I've written the Field of Battle series of games, which had their genesis in Piquet.
I've never thought that Bob has ever received enough acclaim or recognition for his original and unique game designs.
Maybe imitation is the sincerest form of flattery? I now note that many new sets use cards (gasp!) - the new set by Sam Mustafa (another great designer) uses cards for turn sequencing; multiple boardgames use cards for events; even the new series of boardgames for Victory Point Games by Frank Chadwich appear to be using cards.
Anyway - having lived through the criticism of cards as a game mechanic, its interesting to note that the new and "hot" game mechanic is to use cards. Maybe next will be a realization of the fascinating and simple effects made possible by the use of multi-sided die types in a game....