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Tabletop Spotlight: Phoenix Dawn Command

3 Minute Read
Jun 13 2017

In Phoenix Dawn Command, death doesn’t end your story – it only makes you stronger…

Our Friends at Dragon’s Lair Comics & Fantasy have a crazy amount of games in stock and they are always bringing over new ones I’ve never heard of. Phoenix Dawn Command is a new Card-Driven RPG and it’s a game I really want to learn even more about:

In most RPGs you get you character sheet together and role dice to determine outcomes – usually with mods and stat bumps that help tweak your die roll helping you meet or beat a target number. In Phoenix, the dice are replaced by a deck of cards that are unique to the player. When it comes time to pass a test or skill check, players use their hand to try and play cards that will beat the challenge. They also have access to their character Trait that can be used to boost their score IF they can explain how that trait applies to the challenge. They also get access to a pool of mystical energy – but if that runs out then they die and have to be reborn. But dying isn’t the end of your character…

Instead of traditional levels, when a character dies they get to add more cards to their decks which makes them stronger. However, a character can only die 7 times before they cannot be reborn again. Also, when they come back, they don’t come back immediately. In fact, most missions are time based as well and if all the players die, they will have to deal with the consequences of their failures when they come back.

Personally, I really like these casual story driven mechanics. The traits can be powerful, but you can only use them if they make sense. The timed missions also put pressure on players to be willing to make sacrifices and choices so they don’t have to face a “stacked deck” on the next mission. Each character gets to come back when they die and they gain more power so these types of sacrifices are rewarded in a way. But that character’s story ends after 7 deaths which also puts a capstone on their adventure and story. All of that combined makes this an RPG experience that is totally worth checking out.

We show off the cards and the contents in the video, but I do want to say that I was surprised at the quality. The cards are tarot sized and they feel like a good set of playing cards. The art work is fantastic and the core book is dense in the best way. I really wanted to spend more time with the rule book and the mechanics of the game but we just didn’t have the time. Overall, Phoenix Dawn Command is a really cool RPG and if you’re a fan of the genre you should get your hands on a copy – you won’t be disappointed.

Phoenix Dawn Command


As a Phoenix, death is not the end of your story.

You have passed through death and retuned stronger than before, and now you are the last hope of a world besieged by nightmares. To defeat the Dread you will have to unravel ancient mysteries and face terrifying threats. You have seven lives to save the world: make each one count.

Phoenix’s card-driven system puts the skills and strengths of the character directly in the hands of the player. Simple and intuitive, the system is accessible both to olongtime gamers and those who have never plasted a role-playing game before.

For the Game Marshal, the system facilitates collaborative storytelling with a minimal amount of prep time. Get started right away with the seven-mission story arc included in this set or create your own missions in as little as fifteen minutes.


“You have seven lives to save the world: Makes each one count.”


  • D&D: Dice, Camera, Action with Chris Perkins