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Feedback on Initial Card Design

4 replies [Last post]
Joined: 12/29/2013

Good evening forum,

Please follow the link below to see the initial design for my cards to be used in my card game- Necromancer, The Fight For Life.

The game is a deck building card game, where both players are necromancers who summon undead minions to attack their opponent.

My game will feature Energy Cards and Minion Cards, and function mechanically similarly to Magic The Gathering and Pokemon cards. You will be able to have a maximum of three minions in play at any time, but each minion has a selection of four abilities to choose from.

That was not a great description, but this post is mainly about the card design so let me know your thoughts please!

Shoe's picture
Joined: 12/21/2012
The card frames and artwork

The card frames and artwork are beautiful. It might be just a little too devoid of color, but if you are going for a grim theme like necromancy that might be appropriate.

BENagy's picture
Joined: 09/25/2013
Hey, Daniel. I like the feel

Hey, Daniel. I like the feel you have going on with the parchment background. Layout looks clean. Here are 2 thoughts:

1. The straight lines on the bottom half of the card look a little bland. It looks like a flat layout style. Any way you could make some sort of parchment-feeling dividers instead? Maybe using that same papyrus font, make a ~, and stretch it out. I think that will add flavor, make it look a little less flat, and give a bit more space on the card. What I mean by space is that because the ~ curve has empty space inherent in its design, it will take more vertical area on the card, forcing you to make it less cramped than when you barely squish it all in with straight lines. Pleasing to the eye.

2. I love the font you have going on there. It's perfect: it's flavorful and not so fancy as to be difficult to read. It may just be my computer screen, as opposed to seeing a physical copy, but the font is difficult to read from far away. Obviously the text size plays a major role in that, which on these cards can't really be expanded with 4 abilities. Could you make the font bolded, though? It might be ugly, I don't know, but I would try bolding the attack names, Cut, Jab, etc. and see if that makes the text less... thin?

All in all an excellent design which looks super cool, does a great job in presentation. My suggestions are pretty minor.

One last thing I would ask about the GAME, though, is do you need 4 attacks on each card? There's no problem with it, if it's done right, but could some of the simpler cards have fewer attacks on them? Here's my reasoning. There's 2 major things I'm thinking of here, though there are other factors, such as easing up on the space used in the card:

1. Simplicity. You mentioned Magic, and if you look at Magic design, they have different rules regarding the complexity of cards. For example, common cards, which newer players are going to run into much more frequently when, say, opening a booster pack, can't have more than four lines of rules text. A lot of them, in fact, are vanilla, with few abilities, if any, appearing on them beyond attack and defense. Having FOUR abilities on each and every card means that there's a LOT more information running around in your game, especially for a new player. You want to attract players to your game, and if the instant someone looks at your simplest card, (which I presume a Skeleton to be a pretty simple one relative to others,) and it's filled with text and information to the brim, it will look super complex, even if it isn't. Even with Pokémon (if we look at the original sets), that had multiple attacks on the cards, the commons and basic pokemon had only 1 or 2 attacks, and often with no text other than a name and a number (like DIGLETT, which even still has a lot going on in that card: I would say you can even remove the word "attack" from the attacks, as we'll know that that value is for attack. Super simple. 4 attacks complicates that.

2. Design space. This one is hard to grasp how you're handling it when I've only looked at 2 cards, but by putting so much information on a card, you will inherently limit design space. Design space is how many ideas you can put into a set. On the two samples you have here, there is no repeated attack. So, blown to extreme proportions, if you never repeat an attack, then you now have to create 4 new ideas for each and every card. You got simple ones here, so I now know that standard, 1E (one energy) represents 3 attack. That's its vanilla costing. So I would encourage you to use Cut often. In fact, reusing a lot of these simple attacks is a good idea. Most of them are pretty streamlined. But then, when you reuse a lot of them, what differentiates a card from others that have 1 or 2 or even 3 of the same attacks? You've backed yourself into a corner! Most cards only having small changes between one and the next isn't going to feel like enough variety to new players especially (most cards will feel too similar), so you will come across many, many times of strictly better cards beating out their only slightly less powerful counterparts.

2a. This is part of design space. It appears that all effects are costed, because they fall into the same "attack" design space. Which means that no cards have passive abilities. Do you really not even want your biggest "splashy" cards to have passive abilities you do not have to pay for? If not, that's fine, but thinking towards the future, if you change your mind and want to add something like that onto a more complex card, you now have no recourse to do so, at least not easily.

Sorry for the wall of text. I hope you find some useful stuff in there. All in all, though, great design, cool idea, and I look forward to hearing more about it!

Joined: 12/29/2013
More Explanation

Hi thank you for the feedback guys!
I agree Shoe there is a lack of color, it is partly for the theme as you say, and partly to reduce printing costs as these are just the initial play-testing cards. Also the creature artwork is just placeholder art donated kindly by a friend of mine, the final art will have more color.

Thanks for the in depth feedback BENagy, that is a great idea to give the straight lines a little more personality. The font and word size and definition I will have to see how it looks when I print them out on a good quality printer, but I really hope what is there now is sufficient... A lot of the overall design credit goes to some talented artist friends of mine holding my hand through much of the process and pushing me to make it better again and again.

In terms of the GAME, my decision to have four abilities on each card is to compensate for having no spells cards, weapon cards, support cards, trap cards at all. Only Energy and Creatures. Therefore the lack of flexibility and strategy from not having these different cards is hopefully going to be made up by having each creature having four abilities to choose from. I have no idea how well it will work until I start play-testing, but that is the theory. I do like the idea of passive abilities, even if only for the more powerful cards, again this will be something I will be looking for in play testing.

In terms of the number of design space, I already have all that mapped out. I have 150 creatures, each with 4 abilities. I have 48 abilities in total, so no two creatures have the same 4 abilities (none even have 3 abilities that are the same), so each creature is unique and decks can be really custom.
If you would like more detail read on, if not then you don't need to.
I have 48 abilities, 12 Physical, 12 Magical, 12 Buffs and 12 DeBuffs.
For example for physical attacks I have Hunt, Blade, Blunt, Flurry, Impact, Maul, Stab, Axe, Eat, Swarm, Quick, Whip.

Each ability has 4 levels of strength, for example Blade contains-
Cut: 1 Energy = 3 attack
Slice: 2 Energy = 6 attack
Slash: 3 Energy = 9 attack
Cleave: 4 Energy = 12 attack

and Quick contains-
Jab: 1 Energy = 2 attack + flip a coin, if heads do another 2 attack
Rush: 2 Energy = 4 attack + flip a coin, if heads do another 4 attack
Thrust: 3 Energy = 6 attack + flip a coin, if heads do another 6 attack
Spin: 4 Energy = 8 attack + flip a coin, if heads do another 8 attack

In this way I have 48 abilities that are easily scalable into 4 levels, meaning I have a total of 192 abilities. I am hoping this is plenty of design space and some can be converted into passive abilities if I choose to go in that direction.

BENagy's picture
Joined: 09/25/2013
Well I'm glad to hear it's

Well I'm glad to hear it's all mapped out with a plan. You're on the right track ;) It sounds like a cool idea, and I look forward to seeing some future updates to hear how it's turning out!

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