I love using power cards. I’ve found that with my group, especially new players, it’s so much easier to use rather than flipping through their character sheet.
In the past I made up cards at Dragon’s Lair using their power card creator. I liked it as I could save the cards as a PDF. Just about all the field information on the cards had drop down menus. If needed I could also reload the page and still have all the card information. They had a lot of white space on the cards so it wouldn’t completely drain the printer ink cartridge. I just print them out and sandwich them between self laminating sheets. Bam! You’ve got a set of cards that can take a little abuse and are functional at the table.
However, I kept a lot of the information on the cards pretty general. One thing I wanted to avoid was having the cards too tailored to each player, as that would mean I had to reprint them out when they leveled up and got additional feats and ability bumps. WotC character creator is a great tool, and I also like that cards are provided. But this also gets to be a pain as I need to print out a new character sheet each time they level up.
Hunting around I had stumbled on some nice power and item cards by JFJohnny5 at Dragon Avenue. They were in PDF format that could have text entered in the fields. They had a variety of layouts from a playing card to an index card. It was a bit of a chore filling in the information. Yet I could also leave some fields blank for my players to fill in with character specific info (if needed).
Having just slips of paper at the table were a little flimsy though. I also wanted to have some type of color coding besides using a color printer. Self laminating sheets were okay, but it was sort of a pain to make 1 or 2 additional cards (just easier slapping a standard full sheet on an entire printed page). So I was in a bit of a pickle.
I ended up getting a few packs of card protectors. Out of the variety of colors available, I settled on green, red, and black (for at will, encounter, and dailies) and picked up a yellow set for magic items. The cards I printed were just small enough to have the color backing of the card protectors poke through the transparent face. It’s not a big chore to print up a new card (plus I can just print them out in black and white), as I can write/type in the info and just slap them into a new card protector.
So far my group has been loving these. As your typical pack is about 50 protectors each, one set of each color type should be enough for just about any group. Pretty handy means to quickly differentiate between power types and still have a variety of power cards at the table for your group to throw around.