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Prototyping - Should I make everything first?

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ronnyay
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I have a card game design in hand and would like to ask for suggestion.

If I want to test whether the game is interesting or not and the game has about 80 cards. Should I make a prototype with all 80 cards for a full-swing playtest or just make a prototype with fewer cards like 20 cards to speed things up?

Thank you for your suggestions! :)

RacNRoll Gaming
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ronnyay wrote:I have a card

ronnyay wrote:
I have a card game design in hand and would like to ask for suggestion.

If I want to test whether the game is interesting or not and the game has about 80 cards. Should I make a prototype with all 80 cards for a full-swing playtest or just make a prototype with fewer cards like 20 cards to speed things up?

Thank you for your suggestions! :)

If you are dealing with card then I would say to definitely say go with the full deck. It is simple enough to print out makeshift cards and then slide them into a sleeve with a playing card behind it for stability.

Its also dependent on who you are going to playtest with. Some people cant get past the fact that they are playing with pieces of paper with crude design elements to see if the game mechanics work and thatthey game is fun to play. If that is what you have to deal with you can order custom decks from places like artscow.com relatively cheap (price of the decks plus money you save on ink) to have a "prettier" playtst prototype.

Louard
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Depend on what you're trying to test.

Maybe if you tell us a little more about the game we can better assess how many cards you'll need to make to effectively test.

That being said, cards are relatively cheap and easy to prototype so you may as well do the full lot if you've already got your cards planned out. If you have a specific mechanic or part of the game you want to fun-test maybe you can get away with only printing the cards that directly impact your test goals.

sedjtroll
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I think it really depends on

I think it really depends on what the cards DO. If you can get a representative sample of game action with only 20 of the cards, then maybe that's all you need to give it a test run. If you really need all 80 cards, then you need to make 80 cards.

By way of example, my latest game is a card game: Eminent Domain. It requires about 170 cards. In order to test the mechanics of the game I could have gotten by just printing a few of each of the 6 Role cards and a few of the different Planet cards. However, I would not have been able to fully test the game that way, and I was pretty sure the mechanics would work well enough that I skipped right to making a full prototype. Since then I've updated the cards a couple of times and ended up printing and cutting 3 or 4 sets total, but in order to really test the game (including game end conditions), I needed all those cards.

But like I said, if you're not sure if the main mechanism will work and you want to just try that out, then you might get by with a small subset of cards. You probably won't be able to test the rest of the game without a complete set though.

CloudBuster
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Make it all! :)

For an 80 card deck, I think you should make 'em all and playtest with them. I don't believe you'll get the full flavor of the game with a deck of only 20 cards. Just get some buisness cards at Staples (or eBay) and print them out. It'll be fast and pretty cheap and they'll look okay enough so that people will want to play with them. It'll also be really easy to make changes and yank cards that don't work, or change some stats or other numbers and BAM! Print out the changes and add 'em to your deck!

I believe Avery has business cards that are designed to be printed on both sides, so that might work really well.

Also, there was a suggestion to get some card sleeves. This is a fantastic idea! There are a couple kinds: You can get some really cheap ones that are clear on both sides, or you can get some slightly more expensive ones that have a solid color on one side and clear on the other. Either way, this will prevent you from having to worry about a card design for the front of the cards. All you need to do is worry about the backs (the side with all the info). Regular playing cards are pretty cheap, so stuff them into the card sleeve and then add your cards on top of them (with the info facing out the clear side, obviously). Quick, easy, cheap, and they'll shuffle nicely.

-CB-

larienna
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I agree that it depends on

I agree that it depends on the game. If you have a some core mechanics in your game, you could make only cards that test the core and then do the other cards. Else do them all.

Don't forget, make your prototype as cheap as possible. After a few playtest, you can start making a better prototype.

Louard
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Joined: 02/09/2010
Don't use business cards!

I've used business cards for protos for years now and I'm so glad someone wizened me to the card sleeve idea. Card sleeves are made to be played with, business cards are NOT, they stick together all the time making them a pain to shuffle and deal. Also, the card sleeve method allows you to print on plain Jane regular printer paper for big$ savings as your cards are sure to change quite a bit as you playtest.

Pastor_Mora
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What is everything?

What do you mean by "making everything"?

For core prototype you don't need art or even theme, just rectangles with some text on them (that would be your cards). If you are at this stage, I'll say go for the 80 cards. Get 8/9 cards per letter size page and playtest solo before you plunge another human beign into your misery. Yes, there will be much of that!! because of this set, probably less than half of it will make it to the next stage.

Unless you are pretty confident the core mechs work, not even think about placing a drawing, a photo, or a name in your cards. It's terribly time consuming.

Once you have your 80 cards set, polish them a little, add the theme and some inspiring pictures (even copyrighted stuff, this will be just for personal use). Now get someone to bear with your fantasies. Of this set, probably less than half of it will make it to the finals.

Now you prototype. Again, nothing is final. Publisher will redo your work all over again anyways.

Good luck and Keep thinking!

CloudBuster
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Joined: 04/14/2009
Yeah, yeah...sorry about that!

What I meant by "make everything" is just that I thought he should make all of his cards, not a 20 card deck. Sorry if that was confusing.

I've used business cards before and I agree that they can be a pain. That's why I mentioned the cards that are meant to be printed on both sides. I thought they might slide a bit better, but the idea of printing on plain paper and using the sleeves is MUCH better.

Another option (instead of business cards) are name tag cards. These are meant to go inside special plastic holders with safety pins on the back so people know who you are at meetings and such. Just get the inserts. They are pretty close to playing card size, so you could easily drop those into sleeves and they might work pretty well when you get past the very raw playtesting stage you're in now.

Stick with the print on paper thing for now until you get your mechanics down properly (as the Pastor says). Once that starts clicking properly, THEN improve the look of the cards.

-CB-

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