" "Castle Falkenstein (abbreviated CF) is a steampunk-themed fantasy role-playing game (RPG) designed by Mike Pondsmith and originally published by R. Talsorian Games. A GURPS version (GURPS Castle Falkenstein) and several supplements were later published by Steve Jackson Games. The game is named for a legendary unbuilt castle in the Bavarian Alps. Players play the roles of gallant adventurers, facing the intrigue and derring-do of Victorian adventures such as The Prisoner of Zenda.
Rules and setting are presented in the form of diaries of a number of characters within the game, the main being the author's alter-ego "Tom Olam", a game designer from our world magically transported in New Europa.
The game's system uses playing cards instead of dice to simulate action. The system is geared towards live action role-playing, and players are required to keep an in-character diary instead of using a character sheet.
The system is fairly unique and has been praised for its ease of use and utility within the game. The cards-for-dice was not done as a gimmick, but rather a design choice that fit the mood and tenor of the game. This was unique as many systems were moving towards more generic rules systems at the time. CF was notable for doing the opposite in order to achieve the proper atmosphere within the game.
Castle Falkenstein came out in time when many games were focusing on storytelling rules, fewer mechanics and more focus on an interactive story, but also when most of these games were dark dystopian futures (e.g. Cyberpunk 2020) or dark horror modern age (like Vampire: The Masquerade). Castle Falkenstein was notable for being set in the Victorian area and on the European Continent; as opposed to England were the vast majority of Victorian-based RPGs are set. Players were encouraged to actively work together to build the plot of the game (again a notable departure) and replicate the heroic adventures of Victorian literature.""
Source: Wikipedia, "Castle_Falkenstein_(role-playing_game)", available under the CC-BY-SA License.