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Dead Business Cards

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Anonymous

Hey all, posted this to my latest journal (Burrow Barrow), but I thought I would bring it up here as well:

Finally, I should note that I have done all testing by hand-drawing on old business cards. I work at Amazon.com, and one day, I decided to just test the waters and put out an email stating that if anyone had old business cards, I would be very happy to have them. I'd estimate I've gotten about 2000 cards this way. They work great, shuffle nicely, and it's nice to be using a free medium for testing.

Have any of you used old business cards for testing?

Oracle
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Joined: 06/22/2010
Dead Business Cards

I use the business card idea too, but I find it too tedious to hand write all my cards. I use printer business cards, it's about $10 for 350 cards that way, and I can make up one nice layout in Corel Draw and replicate it for all the cards, just changing the text. The result is a lot easier and nicer looking than hand drawing the cards.

How do you like working at Amazon? I went to the University of Waterloo which is one of their major targets for recruitment. They flew me to Seattle for an interview last year but I didn't get the job. It sounded like great job, and I was very disappointed, but I have friends who got internships there and say it's a horrible place to work.

Jason

prophx
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Joined: 08/13/2008
Card Sleeves

I prefer using standard card sleeves that you can find at most department stores. This way you can print the cards on standard printer paper, cut them out (doesn't matter the size), insert the cards into the sleeves, and be on your way. If wording needs to be changed or the card needs to be scraped you aren't out of much at that point. Works very well for playtesting. Just watch out for the metallic sleeves because other players can see your card in the reflection if held just right. They sure look nice though!

Anonymous
Dead Business Cards

I used to use buisness cards too, my brother had gotten a bunch of buisness cards for free and was going to throw them away! But I also got tired of hand writing all of them. Mostly because my hand writting sucks, and also because it is hard to get everything you want down on such as small space. Now I make card sized peices of paper on the computer usinc microsoft image composser and print them out. They don't shuffle as well or last as long, but they are very very cheap (i can print at the library up to 75 pages/week completly free) and they are easy to read.

Anonymous
Dead Business Cards

I've thought about going the printer route. My printer isn't that great, though, and it just seems questionable as to whether or not it would be worth it. I know that Avery sells a glossy package of 120 or so for 7.99 US, and a non-glossy for 4.99.

I wonder if a printing company would make the cards on buisness cardstock for cheap?

And Jason, Amazon is a great company to work for, if you don't mind getting paid a little less.

Anonymous
Dead Business Cards

Yet another medium which I believe may be underused is stamping. I'm sure most of us in the US know at least a few of those scrapbooking types. I think a few generic stamps go quite a long way in prototyping, as they save your hands from continual writing, but also lend a uniform and easy to read prototype.

I guess I have explored these options because the cost of replacing both of the ink cartridges on my priner is $60, and they get used up pretty quick, if you're constantly modifying your design with testing (which, I am certain, is necessary).

prophx
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Joined: 08/13/2008
Dead Business Cards

If you are using your ink up fast, you might want to change your print quality to the most economic setting. Sure it might not be as crisp and bold, but it is a prototype... it is the game and the mechanics that you are working on, not the final copy. I print as much as I can in B/W and wait until most of the bugs are out before bringing in color.

Oracle
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Joined: 06/22/2010
Dead Business Cards

Great Undoing:
If you're talking about using business cards in a production game, you can get them printed professionally. Pacific Northwest Rails uses business cards as stock certificates. Since there's 5 to 10 of each certificiate it's an ideal solution for their small print run because business cards they can order a set of 500 or 1000 of each card to produce 100 games.

I thought we were talking about prototying though, I'm not sure what use a professional print service would be in that respect.

Also, business cards are great for prototypes, but for production games, business cards don't have a good feel for shuffling or holding in a hand. It works in PNWR because you don't shuffle or hold a hand of stock certificates.

My printer has a separate 4x6" tray that's intended for printing photos, but it's also good for 4x6" index cards. I then use a paper trimmer to cut them to 2x3" cards (business cards are 2x3.5"). At $1 for 100 index cards, it works out to a quarter of a cent per card plus ink. The only problem I have is that it's impossible to get the cuts exact with a paper trimmer so they don't stack well and it has a bad feel as a deck.

What sort of rubber stamps to you use? The selection in the store seems to be hundreds of simple clip art. It might be nice to decorate the cards with them, but if you hand write the cards, you won't decorate them anyway, so it's not really saving any time.

As far as the cost of ink, I refill my cartridges. The key is to make sure you get ink meant for your printer and not universal refills. Refilling takes about $3 worth of ink and a cartridge should be good for 5 uses, so that $60 price comes down to $13.

Anonymous
Dead Business Cards

Oracle,
Very informative post. I appreciate it.

Quote:
I thought we were talking about prototying though, I'm not sure what use a professional print service would be in that respect.

I was thinking of running a post prototyping but not pro quality cardset to mail off to, say, members of this forum. If the cost was uber-cheap, it would seem to be a pretty nice way to make something that was usable and still fun, but not quite pro.

Quote:
The only problem I have is that it's impossible to get the cuts exact with a paper trimmer so they don't stack well and it has a bad feel as a deck.

That's why I like business cards. They seem to shuffle fine, and I really think they also feel fine in the hand. Also, I make all of the cards with reference in the top-left and bottom-right corner, so size isn't a problem either.

Quote:
What sort of rubber stamps to you use? The selection in the store seems to be hundreds of simple clip art. It might be nice to decorate the cards with them, but if you hand write the cards, you won't decorate them anyway, so it's not really saving any time.

I disagree, as I am using them mostly for spatial implications on cards. In burrow barrow, I need to show an elbow turn, in a way that looks presentable enough (even for a proto) for other people to understand what the card means. This takes some time.

Quote:
As far as the cost of ink, I refill my cartridges. The key is to make sure you get ink meant for your printer and not universal refills. Refilling takes about $3 worth of ink and a cartridge should be good for 5 uses, so that $60 price comes down to $13.

Wow! I really need to check into this! That would be great!

Oracle
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Joined: 06/22/2010
Dead Business Cards

I'm glad you found the post informative.

It sounds like you might be onto a good idea for demonstration versions of the game. I'd never considered that, but then I've never made more than about 5 copies of a game (using inkjet business cards).

I don't have much experience with professionally printed business cards, but the price is typically around $15 for 500 in one colour. What I'm not sure about is if you can do a custom design for that price or simply provide a logo and have them fit it to one of their templates.

I suppose a lot depends on how many of each card you use. If it's a deck of 50 distinct cards, that would be $750 for 500 decks. If it's a deck of 5 each of 10 distinct cards, it would be $150 for 100 decks. In both cases, it's $1.50/deck, but in the second case the quantity and price are both a lot more reasonable for the stage of development.

Coalating the decks would be a nightmare though.

I'm very interested to see the reply to your other question about costs to produce professional quality decks, since I've been trying to find that out too. I also think it's worth looking into cheapass type cards.

Anonymous
Dead Business Cards

Good price breakdown for business card printing. I'm thinking that probably wouldn't be a good route to go, expecially since I really wouldn't want 1-sided cards, either!

I am also hoping to get some bites on the card deck pricing inquiry.

disclamer
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Dead Business Cards

Oracle wrote:

What sort of rubber stamps to you use? The selection in the store seems to be hundreds of simple clip art. It might be nice to decorate the cards with them, but if you hand write the cards, you won't decorate them anyway, so it's not really saving any time.

I haven't used it for printing cards, but I do have a moveable-type rubber stamp. Its basically a small hand-held printing plate. It will hold 5 or 6 lines of text, which you type-set yourself with very small rubber type. I think it would work well for proto-typing cards, if you need to do several of the same or similar cards.

jwarrend
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Joined: 08/03/2008
Dead Business Cards

great_undoing wrote:

I guess I have explored these options because the cost of replacing both of the ink cartridges on my priner is $60, and they get used up pretty quick, if you're constantly modifying your design with testing (which, I am certain, is necessary).

I'm sure you're already aware of them, but there are lots of cheap knock-off ink places on the web. I have an Epson, and would pay about $25 or so for each Epson cartridge, yet I've been able to find cartridges just by doing a google search on "discount ink", for $6 or so, some even have free shipping. I just ordered some ink from a company in Oregon, I got three cartridges (2 color, 1 black) for about $18 and free shipping and it arrived in 2 days. You can't beat that!

But of course, that's for prototyping; not sure if it would be cost-effective for sales, but then, I don't really think in those terms. At least, not yet!

-Jeff

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