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Doing without flavour text?

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X3M
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Backside Event Cards with Bleeding Zone
Incomplete Event Card V2.0

In process of upgrading my Event Cards to valuable prototypes.

But regardless of technical data. I am pondering about applying flavour text.

I already had trouble with some card title's.
Somehow, I don't seem to be able to think of good flavour text with the event cards.

Should I do without flavour text?

If I do, I need good jokes. Not those story like flavour text. Since the theme of the game goes everywhere.

polyobsessive
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Do without

I'd vote for doing without flavour text. It rarely adds anything much, and it's often a figleaf to cover for the thinness of theme. If you express your theme well in the mechanisms and game play, supported by some appropriate art and design, flavour text is unnecessary.

questccg
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We use it for "story-telling"

Not as Jokes or just flavor... In "TradeWorlds", we hired a professional writer to actually "flesh out" story lines about the four (4) Factions that are a part of the game.

My process was simple:

  1. Have the Creative Writer pen down a 1-2 paragraph description of each faction.
  2. Design a bunch of "one-line" expansion of titles for "flavor text". It was like 2 pages worth of titles.
  3. Finally WRITE the actual "flavor text" based on the title and create continuous storylines that actually tell a story regarding each faction.

Our Creative Writer did an amazing job... I would recommend finding a writer if you want something "serious". Our "Flavor text" tells a story and adds depth to the game: people are like "what are these blurbs"??? And we hope to continue in that vein with other "cores".

Again that's just what we did... And we were very pleased with how the stories ended up.

Cheers.

Update: This is just my opinion, but if your "flavor text" is just humorous content, well then I wouldn't invest too much in it. In our case we wanted to tell "stories" about the Factions. And it was a great way of breaking down stories into small tweets/blurbs that when "connected" actually told interesting "micro" stories.

I say "micro" because some stories only have 5 blurbs. Surprising enough, even with 5 cards, our writer managed to harness the tweet/blurb format and produced some really interesting content for each Faction.

So don't invest in a Creative Writer unless you want them to pen down some kind of storylines. "Jokes" or comedic content may be harder to define. Something that is funny to you can be offensive to others. That's why I would probably choose NOT to add "blurbs" if they don't serve the purpose of telling "micro" stories.

X3M
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Thanks

polyobsessive wrote:
I'd vote for doing without flavour text. It rarely adds anything much, and it's often a figleaf to cover for the thinness of theme. If you express your theme well in the mechanisms and game play, supported by some appropriate art and design, flavour text is unnecessary.

Such an honest answer. I am glad I asked the question.

Theme is expressed through game play. A high tech war for a rare resource.

The Event Cards are ONLY linked to the combat mechanics of the game. Which on themselves aren't really linked to the themes.

The art for the Event Cards is going in the general direction too.

***

I looked into TradeWorlds as well before asking the question.

In fact, that idea has been implemented by me some time ago. Since it is an excellent idea.

Story telling is for each faction, and a whole. Just so happens, a big part of story is to be on the Unit Statistics Cards, linked to that faction. But also the story that, the faction plays.

The Event Cards themselves can never be part of any story. Or else, it would have been simple for me indeed.
Instead, they will be used are re-used for many more stories to come.

***

In the mean time. I have been pondering about some "general" flavour text. I think it is optional now to add them. Considering doing this in 2 hours. I got pretty far. But the text is not satisfactory.

I am able to start making the cards without flavour text. It will not be a problem to make them with flavour text later on, when I am absolutely sure.

***

In addition. I have included an example of the green cards. I also have a blue and red variant.
The orange box will contain the art. And as you can see, I reserved a lot of space for the text (+flavour text).

1 word titles can be at 60 to 72 pixels high. The other text is going to be 20 to 24 pixels high.

I did most with paint and paint.net. After all, they are "simple" prototypes.

questccg
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Some other IDEAS

Maybe your Event cards can tell of "other" Factions foreshadowing an "expansion" race or some tales about the history prior to the forming of the factions.

My guess is that you could probably DEFINE a storyline that has absolutely nothing to do with the Factions but is a component of the game's Universe.

Personally I like this approach, although it is not something that we did with TradeWorlds. All stories are linked to the each "Faction". Had I had a deck with only "random" cards (like your Event deck), well maybe that's the direction I would have chosen: create stories about your game's Universe and tell things related to that Universe. It could be the arrival of a prophetic leader, how the Factions were formed, the predecessors to the Factions, Futuristic predictions yet to come, etc.

Some "neutral" content... Just an idea.

Notes: Other content for Flavor text could be passed Generals and their history, great war battles of the past and what happened, etc. I'm guessing this is a WAR game...

X3M
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That is some good advice!

I am thinking. How about a story line as how some cards came to be? From the viewpoint of the commander (experienced player).

A small hint to how to use this card the best.

Lovac
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adding flavour?

I added a flavour text but to the back of the card (the front looks neater without it) but also my cards don't need to be hidden from any player. That way if a player is interested in flavour text (unit or building description) he can flip the card and read that stuff.

Have cards with abilities though which have to be hidden so there i used very limited flavour text in addition to the ability name...i feel like it adds depth to the game and creates more roleplay between players.

Mosker
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Two needs (+)

1. Complement the art.
2. Stay if not fresh, not annoying on multiple reads (consider the size of your deck, the frequency of exposure)

If both are not assuredly met, leave it out.

However:
If your cards are already heavily language dependent, adding it is not as big of an issue (people will be accustomed to reading and will train themselves to look for it or ignore it.)

You said you needed jokes. Humor is hard, but even if not brilliant, they can help establish mood and tone. For example, in TBone's Reformation game, I want to see the Bible quotes, as the strategy and futuristic setting might need scriptural connective tissue--even/especially for non-believers--to create the desired self-contained experience.

X3M
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Information on the cards need

Information on the cards need to remain hidden from other players.
So the backside will not contain any information.

Gathering pictures that I can borrow proves to be relatively dificult. But it gets my day filled. This works best to simply gather an overkill of pictures on some keywords.
Flanking seems to have notching worthy, directly to the word. But using something that shows the opposite will work. :)
Silly how ideas pop up when I wake up in the middle of the night

I have 3 cards ready that contain a picture and complementary flavour text. For 1, I used a picture that I rather use for another card.

***

Not sure how others go about this. But having different sizes of text on each card? Is that a problem?

For titles. I used 72, 60 and 54 so far.
The text itself is 28 tot 22. With assuming that 20 is going to be the minimum.

Tbone
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Awkward Space

Sometimes cards don't have enough content. I will occasionally use flavor text to "fill" cards out a bit. Other than that, the theme should speak through your game. Of course, It also depends on the Theme vs. Mechanic ratio. If a game is heavier on theme, quotes or flavor text might be desired. Although, if the game is more mechanics driven, flavor text will just leave a bad taste (wink wink).

So your game is a war game with a humorous spin? That might be interesting. What is your Theme vs. Mechanics ratio? If it is a humorous war game, are there any mechanics that will make the players laugh? Like using ridiculous weapons to plow through a ridiculous amount of dispensable units? I find it more and more necessary to find areas of contact between theme and mechanics. It allows players to emotionally connect to your game. Flavor text can do that, but only as long as they are emotionally invested in your mechanics/theme. Otherwise it's just clutter.

X3M
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Tbone wrote: So your game is

Tbone wrote:

So your game is a war game with a humorous spin? That might be interesting. What is your Theme vs. Mechanics ratio?

Never had that question. I don't even know how to answer that.
Just of as lately, I am putting in a bit more of theme to the game. But at first it was kinda like, C&C that develops into KKnD/Warzone2100. The group that plays the game always had a preference for the darkest kind of humour. So that is a given. See KKnD for this.
Tbone wrote:

If it is a humorous war game, are there any mechanics that will make the players laugh? Like using ridiculous weapons to plow through a ridiculous amount of dispensable units?
Yes, I have them.
But the Event Cards stack upon this :). That is why they get the humour.
I can name plenty of examples. But I am sure that if you played RTS games, you know of plenty ridiculous units already. Still, I like the core of the game to be 2050 like.
Every design that see's the light gets some humour in their description.

Tbone wrote:
I find it more and more necessary to find areas of contact between theme and mechanics. It allows players to emotionally connect to your game. Flavor text can do that, but only as long as they are emotionally invested in your mechanics/theme. Otherwise it's just clutter.
That will be a tough one for me.

X3M
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Going on a little break after

Going on a little break after a work marathon of 12+8 hours of work. At my work.

I hoped to finish the cards these week. O well.

I do have a bit of problems regarding printing. Normally, I see people print 9 cards per A4 paper. I was using the 8.89 x 6.35 cm size. Which equals MtG cards. But they don't fit A4 paper. What am I missing? Is word the right program for printing a prototype?

Any way, the ratio is 7 to 5. That is for sure. If I put that in cm. It is good enough as well.

X3M
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Best font for text heavy cards

My end goal is going to be 7 by 5 cm. With a 9 cards per A4 paper, 5 pages. It shows enough detail in the cards at low quality printing. On purpose, I printed in grey scale on 300 dpi. Pretending that if I share, some might print at this low quality.
But I am worried about the text. It seems that 8 lines is a bit to much. I can read it, but I got very, very good eye's.

That means that I have to cut on certain cards. And as TBold has mentioned, only add flavour text if there is a big empty space waiting. But before I can focus on that, I have trouble with the font style.

The font style that I currently use is Script MI Bold. It looked very prettyprincess to me.
Obvious a wrong choice now that I printend some cards for a test. Especially that "I" looks weird.

What are the most common used fonts?
I read http://www.bgdf.com/forum/game-creation/design-theory/best-fonts-text-he...
But is there more to add?
What if I used 2 different fonts? 1 for the title and another one for the text?
Small fonts would serve me the best.
Hint: I can print at 1200 DPI in colour (mhuahahaha!ha?)

FrankM
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Two fonts

X3M wrote:

What if I used 2 different fonts? 1 for the title and another one for the text?
Small fonts would serve me the best.
Hint: I can print at 1200 DPI in colour (mhuahahaha!ha?)

The typical advice for a document is to use at most one serif font and at most one sans-serif font on the same page. Most folks wouldn't see Times New Roman and Georgia as two distinct typefaces, but conflate them and notice that some of the letters looked off.

Serif fonts are generally geared toward dense blocks of text because those little flourishes at the tips of the letters give your eye nice hints about where letters start and stop. This means that tightly-packed text can be read faster but only if the print is high enough resolution to actually render the serifs properly. Low-resolution serifs are just gray blobs that confuse the eye.

(Edit to add: not just resolution but also alignment. If your text color mixes more than one CMYK color then you probably can't use small serif text.)

San-serif fonts generally look cleaner and are good for headlines and other kinds of stand-alone text. The drawback is that it's harder to distinguish similar glyphs (1/I/l or O/0) and this kind of text tends to have less context to help readers suss out the meaning.

Fancy fonts should really be limited to logos and maybe titles. The exception would be a script-like font when it's thematic, which I would treat like a sans-serif font. Script-like fonts almost never look right in all-caps.

Note sure if this advice for documents translates directly to playing cards, but I hope it's helpful.

X3M
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Your advice is very

Your advice is very helpfull.
Just sending out a thank you to everyone.

It will take some time before I can work on it again.

X3M
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12/45th done. Regarding the

12/45th done.

Regarding the total text. No more then 8 rows.

This includes the effect.
1 or 2 empty rows.
Flavour text.

And I have created a back side for my cards. I don't know how it is going to look. But I think it will look very cool for a simple prototype.

Only problem is, I can't find much on internet about the backside of cards. Is it ok, if I don't have an edge/"bleeding zone" on the back side?

The name of the game is sideways on the back side. I don't think players will mind.

FrankM
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Card backs

if there is only one kind of card in the game, it might as well have the game logo on the back. It doesn't matter which way it's oriented so long as it looks natural that way on the card.

The bleed area is an allowance for imperfect alignment between the printing and cutting steps, so it is just as important for the card back as the card face. But the bleed area could be white if you wanted.

X3M
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FrankM wrote:if there is only

FrankM wrote:
if there is only one kind of card in the game, it might as well have the game logo on the back. It doesn't matter which way it's oriented so long as it looks natural that way on the card.

The bleed area is an allowance for imperfect alignment between the printing and cutting steps, so it is just as important for the card back as the card face. But the bleed area could be white if you wanted.

I uploaded the back side. As you can see, no bleeding zone. Personally, I think it would make the card a bit ugly. But I might add a black one on the back, just like the front. If you think that is really necessary. (It's a matter of copy paste)

The red circle is exactly in the middle. I have chosen a dark green hexagon texture that references to carbon materials. I am not sure about the name of the game printed on the back of the cards though. Maybe I should go with a different design.

Since I am on a vacation right now. I don't even know how it will look like when printed and/or covered with a plastic layer. It might look like shit. But at least I can show the idea that I have for the cards in general.

FrankM
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Bleed

Having a large pattern run right off the edge will highlight any slight alignment problems (hex edges might be just on or just off the card) and make the cards appear non-uniform.

One idea is to fade-to-black along all edges and use that as the bleed. You could also have bands/strips/etc run off the edge so long as they are perpendicular to the card edge. I just don't think it will work well if there are any elements parallel to the card edge.

X3M
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I have pondered about the

I have pondered about the fading to black. But somehow I figure it would be more ugly if the cutting is "way" of.

Your reasoning for having a bleeding zone at the edge is a good one. The bleeding zone will be added. And it will be equal to the front side bleeding zone.

X3M
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A bit to much soldiers and

A bit to much soldiers and tanks.
That is the impression that I get when looking at my gathering of funny military pictures.

What do I miss regarding pictures?
-100% regarding tactical movements.
-Other aspects of the military. I have some planes. But not much. One dog. One nuke explosion. One mule. And one clown.

12 cards are sure to be ready. And some are planned. But despite spending an entire day. It feels like a slow progress. And somehow it feels like that I kinda depleted my resources.
There are still 37 cards to go.

Where else can I find milirary pictures regarding what I miss? Google can't help me. But if I where to use the right words perhaps?

Maybe drawing the tactical cards myself? The backdoor card would have its picture replaced.
Edit: o wait. I have that picture of an soldier entering the building through the window.
Need one of a toilet in a warzone.

FrankM
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X3M wrote:Need one of a

X3M wrote:
Need one of a toilet in a warzone.

They're called straddle trenches, and I hope I never see another one again in my life. I'd recommend against searching for a photo of one... you can't unsee that.

X3M
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All of them have flavour text! :)

I have not used the toilet. Nor the "cannot be unseen".
(Why do I not take that kind of advice?)

In other news. I have all 45 cards ready for printing.
It is a word document. And I have a plan ready for my personal prototype.

joebergmann
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Congratulations!

Congratulations on getting to the point of printing!

X3M
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Thank you!

But I am not there yet. They need tests.
My biggest problem is finding time during my work/social life.

Also.

Still awaiting some results from some good people that are putting together simulations.

The game breaker card is a very important one. This one has a value of 7. Perhaps 6 would fit it better, resulting in having a 6, become a 7 as well.
Or the rules on the cards should change. But that would be more drastic.

Changing the card for printing itself, will be no problem.

And the document ready for printing is 23,5 mB. But that is ok.

***

For anyone interested. Here is the current printing plan for when you do things with Microsoft Word and a decent printer at work:

1 - Front and Back should overlap. The first 2 pages in grey scale will prove this.
2a - Then maximum settings on dpi:1200, coloured and high definition. Printing Page 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9.
2b - See 3a. Also a version of 1200 dpi, coloured and low definition. Sometimes this one is better. Same pages.

3a - Checking text, is it readable on any of the cards? If not, or if the picture is not correct. They need rework. I might skip all the next steps towards number 7. And then get back here.

3b - If all is ready, the whole document will be printed in the correct way.
4 - Plastic layer will be added. Accidents can happen. If so, the 2 pages belonging to the victim paper will need to be reprinted.
5 - Nervously cutting them out. This has to be done manually. Accidents happen. If so, the 2 pages belonging to the victim paper will need to be reprinted, again. And they plastic layer needs to be added, again.

6 - Cuddling them. Very important to show your work some love!

7 - Show and tell. To the players that supported me all this time. And play too!
Do they get the jokes? Are the cards truly balanced? If not, 8 is at hand.

8 - Chances are that due to balance reasons, some cards need their value or rules changed. In that case. Only these cards will be put in a new document for reprinting. It can even be done with just 1 card. The only expense here is the plastic layer. Thus saving up to 9 cards would be best before doing this.

***

I am prepared to know. That even after many month's or years. A card might be worth differently in any aspect.
Thank god, it is only a hobby.

X3M
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I am happy that I showed

I am happy that I showed someone the digital version.
8 cards will have their text adjusted. Grammar.
(Edit: It only took me 20 minutes to adjust the 8 cards and adjust the printing document.)

And I have decided to switch the value's of a certain '7' card with another card that seemed to strong.

Very important lesson. Showing the digital versions.
No time right now. But I will adjust every card this evening. Not sure if it has use showing them to a BGDF member. Since they are unknown with the rest of the game.

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