D&D Monster Cards from Gale Force 9: Don't Bother

low res image used for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

At Gary Con, I licked up the Monster Cards from Gale Force 9. I usually try to avoid negative reviews of a product, but in this case I'm going to make an exception. This is, hands down, the WORST D&D 5 purchase I've made yet. I legit feel cheated.

I bought both the 0-5 and 6-15 challenge sets. I was quite excited at the prospect of not needing to cart my Monster Manual with me when I run games; rather I can just grab the cards I need and have the stat blocks right in front of me. And with these cards, that's true...sometimes.

Here's the problem. This is a company that has the license to produce D&D 5 materials. It's NOT unreasonable to expect that the entire Manual would be represented. Not only is the MM not represented, there are some core, basic monsters which are in the SRD, but are not represented in these cards. The vampire, for example. How do you put out a set of D&D monster cards AND NOT INCLUDE THE VAMPIRE???

What about dragons? It's Dungeons & DRAGONS, after all, right?

Yeah. They include wyrmling in the 0-5, and Young in the 6-15 sets. What about the Blue Adult dragon (Challenge 15) and the Green Adult dragon (challenge 14)? Not here. Also, ONLY the base chromatic dragons are represented. There's not a metallic to be seen.

There's a wealth of other monsters that aren't included in these cards as well. The Beholder. THERE'S NO BEHOLDER. IN A LICENSED D&D MONSTER CARD SET!?

So in the end, while they're good for what they are, they're a waste of money and not a valid resource, because in the time it takes for me to sift through them and see if the monster I need is there, I may as well just print off the stat blocks I need myself from scans.

After reading a few posts, it seems like they deliberately omitted anything that has a lair or legendary action from the card list. It's legit...a joke. Quite frankly, this is a cheat from Gale Force Nine, from whom I expect a LOT more, and my only assumption is that their rationale is greed: down the road we'll see Volume 2 of the monster cards that fill the missing holes. We'll see a "DRAGONS!!!!!ONE ELEVEN1!!11!!" set that will reprint the dragons they've already done, plus 75% of the others (so they can do a volume II of that one, too), etc.

I don't begrudge a company making money. They're a business, after all. But this, quite frankly, is a cheat. At best. It's like finding a cure to a disease, but instead breaking it out into lifelong treatments so you can keep fleecing people for their hard-earned cash. How about instead of cheating people with incomplete products, you actually INNOVATE and produce NEW, USEFUL product? That would be a solid business model. This is dishonest greed.

If I could, I'd return these and get my money back. They're a ripoff. Don't buy them. In fact, after seeing how woefully incomplete these are, I'm not even going to bother with the spell cards they produce, as I don't even want to think about what important spells aren't included in those and have nightmares of discovering that something as basic as Fireball or Lightning Bolt might not be there. After all, they can't even be bothered to put a vampire in their monster deck, so...

If you're interested in the cards that aren't included, and an informative discussion on the issue (which I wish I would've seen before I wasted my money on these), check out this Reddit thread.


  1. So, this might be a little late, but you're first assumption was correct. They have an Epic and Legendary deck coming out, and these cards will be 5 inches by 5 inches for the added stat block space needed for Legendary and Lair actions.
    They'll also have a Mordenkainen and Volo's Guide 'expansion' packs coming out around the same time.
    For the completist, they're not bad for what they are. I would've preferred if in the package they were alphabetical instead of CR Rating sorted, but that was 5 minutes of my time doing it myself.
    I wish there was some sort of consistency between the portrait and landscape modes, but once all the gaps are filled, I think these'll help. Got this creature and this creature, snag a card and set it atop my DM screen. players see a pic of it, and I can see stat blocks. More of a niche item, but I like them.

    1. It gets worse, though. I now have picked up all their sets of cards, hoping that they would eventually complete the basic Monster Manual, and there are basic monsters from the Monster Manual that aren't in there. Like drow. There are no basic drow in the monster cards. Any set. There's other standards that are missing, too, but I can't remember which ones, now. It's a lot of them, though, and monsters you would EXPECT to be there, that you probably use all the time. It's an awful set, utterly useless.


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