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Crystal Heroes — Creating Perfection

Well you know you have a hard-working (and very talented) artist ... When you get an e-mail saying: "Some of my earlier works are no longer at par with my newer ones...!"

So a picture is worth a 1,000 words ... So two (2) pictures are worth more than their weight in gold.

Here are both BEFORE & AFTER illustrations:

This was one of three (3) revisions... The 2nd one is not final and the 3rd one is still in very "rough" stages of illustration.

You've got to admit that there is a STARK difference between the two illustrations and the BEFORE was "not bad" (feels a little cartoon-y) but the AFTER looks fully developed and rendered with precision and accuracy.

Please feel free to share your comments/feedback/thoughts. Cheers!


The other revisions are...

The Bard (Wooded Elf) which was re-done but is not final. He looks real cool and the illustration is very innovative. The other revision is the Wizard. Granted he is not as good as some of the other characters but I still thought he looked pretty cool.

So I have to wait to see if the Wizard is only some "touch-ups" or if he is a completely NEW and re-done illustration...


BTW touch-ups are like

The sample I have shown in this thread for the Zealot (Elven Cleric). This is when there is a BEFORE and AFTER versions of the same illustration.

Illustration that are re-done ... are from SCRATCH and are completely different than their earlier counterpart.

Re-done basically means a NEW illustration. Touch-ups are near identical illustrations with alterations to make them more "precise" with added detail to make them appear more professional.

Fantasy Card Artwork

I see a -definite- improvement from the first version to the second in these examples...! It's very impressive, and I think the second pass at the artwork would be a fine addition to any card game.

The style of the first iteration of the artwork reminds me of the old-skool AD&D trading cards from back in the day. They released a card set as a sort of hybrid collectible-reference set or something, featuring NPCs, famous characters, items, and spells. Here's a photo of a set that came in the AD&D magazine, Dragon:

Wow PNP cards in a magazine ...

Were considered "collectible cards"! Never knew that could be a medium by which to SELL them?! It brings up an interesting point: maybe I could in some form or shape include PNP (Print-aNd-Play) cards in some kind of game or design magazine... Hmm...!

It's just a thought... But a cool one albeit.

Thanks for sharing those cards ... Yeah that art is definitely more comparable to the BEFORE illustration. Very cartoon-ish. Although this is true, it doesn't mean that better art could be found in a magazine... In any event... Just some thinking (not for CH but at some point in time for ARCH maybe!?).

Just as a follow-up

Here is a DETAILLED listing of both Fantasy and Sci-Fi Magazines that are on the look-out for more content.

Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazines

  • Analog Science Fiction and Fact
  • Apex *starting with June 2008 issue
  • Arc Manor
  • Ares Magazine *Added 4/2017
  • Asimov’s Science Fiction
  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies
  • Cast of Wonders
  • Chaosium *Added 1/2018
  • Cicada
  • Clarkesworld Magazine
  • Compelling Science Fiction *added 6/2017
  • Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores *added 12/2017
  • Cricket
  • Daily Science Fiction
  • Dark Discoveries *Added 1/2018 –Will cease publication later in 2018
  • Diabolical Plots
  • Escape Pod
  • Fireside Fiction
  • Flash Fiction Online
  • Future Affairs Administration *added 6/2017
  • Galaxy’s Edge Magazine
  • Grantville Gazette *starting with May 2007 issue
  • Grievous Angel *added 7/2017
  • Grim Oak Press
  • Highlights
  • Lightspeed Magazine
  • The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction
  • Marion Zimmer Bradley Literary Works Trust
  • Nature
  • Nightmare Magazine
  • Odyssey
  • Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show
  • PodCastle
  • PseudoPod
  • Star Citizen Jump Point Magazine
  • Strange Horizons
  • Terraform (Motherboard) *added 9/2017
  • Uncanny Magazine
  • Zombies Need Brains *added 7/2017

That's a bunch of magazines... Granted that I didn't Google search any of these... Just found a Reddit link and decided to COPY & PASTE the contents ... Because that's what the responder to the OP said ("Copy & Paste" these magazines)...

Also someone else said to use the following URL/Link to find MORE sources for content on the web (Poetry, Novella, Short Stories, etc.):

Diabolical Plots Submission Grinder

That's another source of possible Magazines looking for more content...


Re-defining the booster pack...

So originally I had this "crazy" concept that EACH of my "character" cards and/or Game Tiles would have a "common", "uncommon" and "rare" version.

That's all fine, the real problem... was that all TWELVE (12) cards were going to be "randomized" with less odds for uncommon and ever lesser odds for rare cards. While it sounded cool, you could get up to TWELVE (12) RARE cards... It just wasn't very REALISTIC! Who's heard of a Booster Pack that has the chance of having twelve (12) RARE cards?!

A couple of nights ago... While in bed, I pondered HOW I could improved the "Booster Experience"... And I had a GREAT idea and it goes something like this:

1. Block 1 (A###): 2 common cards, 1 uncommon/rare card

Odds of getting a rare instead of uncommon a 1 in 10 (10%).

I did this will all four (4) Blocks (A, B, C, and D) same format and same odds.

So what does this mean??? Well odds-wise you will probably get 2 common cards and 1 uncommon one. If you are LUCKY, you will get ONE (1) RARE/chase card (which will replace one of the uncommon cards)...

Is this more reasonable?! IDK. But it sure makes the "experience" feel more like your "Traditional" Booster.

In addition you get one (1) Common Nexus, one (1) Random Lord and lastly one (1) Random Lady for a grand total of fifteen (15) cards.

Some further analysis, getting one (1) Common Nexus is cool but is like the proverbial "Land" cards (eventually you've gotten both and that is enough). But the "Random" Lord & Lady cards add some "spice" to the mix since there are ten (10) variations (each) of those cards. Even the Common Game Tiles (aka cards) are randomized (from the common pool of cards)...

Therefore you can get VALUE in the "Booster Pack" OUTSIDE the Uncommon/Rare cards ...! With the Lord & Lady cards which offer you odds of getting a purely RANDOM pick for each of them.

But I do feel a bit "guilty" if a player ONLY gets Uncommon cards in his/her Booster Pack. I may add a 16th card (Game Tile) which is a GUARANTEED "Rare" one!

What do you all think??? Should I remove the 10% of converting an Uncommon to a Rare (for each Block)?! Or simply add the "Rare" as a 16th card and allow a player to get at minimum ONE (1) Rare/Chase card???

Please feel free to share your thoughts, feedback and/or comments with regards to HOW I should handle "chase" cards! Cheers...

Update #1: I decided to REMOVE the "rare chasing" and only include Common/Uncommon with a 2/3 to 1/3 ratio. And then ADDED ONE (1) Rare/Chase card as the 16th card... This is close to what Magic has ... I wanted VALUE but at the same time, I didn't want OVERKILL.

This is probably the best distribution that I've had so far:

1. Eight (8) Common Game Tiles (Characters)
2. Four (4) Uncommon Game Tiles (Characters)
3. One (1) Rare Game Tile (Character)
4. One (1) Common Nexus Tile
5. One (1) Random Lord of Order (Immortal)
6. One (1) Random Lady of Life (Immortal)

For a total of SIXTEEN (16) Cards... One more than Magic. Unfortunately I cannot ATM compete with Magic's price (which is $4.00 USD at Walmart or Target)... I price the Booster Pack at $6.50 USD (or $8.00 CAD)... I know it's a bit pricier ... But art is expensive too, manufacturing in the USA is also more expensive and IN THE END, for all the effort put into making a design, I too need to re-coup some of the investment in art and such...

This to me feels like the RIGHT distribution... It's much SIMPLER to manage in TGC and doesn't require "work-arounds" to get the right odds.

Doing some more analysis and price adjusting...

And I realized that Magic Booster Packs sell for $7.99 CAD sometimes $6.99 CAD... So $8.00 CAD for "Crystal Heroes" (CH) is RIGHT ON THE MONEY! I realize that in the USA you can go to WalMart or Target and get Booster Packs for $5.99 to $7.99 USD ... So I guess my $6.50 USD per booster seems PRETTY DECENT! Wow ... I'm a bit amazed how that works out.

I feel GREAT now! I thought that Booster Packs were going to be like $3.99 USD... Hah... Not so, not even in the USA.

In any event... Leaving my own Booster Pack price at $8.00 CAD for CH is what it's going to be. Seems reasonable to me from the prices that I found online at ...

Cheers all.

I've also took some time yesterday to revise pricing

I know it sounds a bit "commercial" to be working on forecasts (or projections)! But I need to know if all this effort in paying for art, making prototypes, sending copies to reviewers, making a video for the crowdfunding campaign, etc. is going to be accounted for.

Like my $8.00 CAD booster price point. I was at first NERVOUS that this would be TOO HIGH. But actually it's on point with similar products out-there in the market. Sure they have more Brand Power and recognition. But the point was to offer something similar in VALUE to backers. And I think that my last revision "hit the nail on the head", so to speak.

I also re-worked all the Stretch Goals and have come to only eight (8) of them... Each one featuring three (3) versions of the same card: common, uncommon and rare. It's not too much... But this isn't Magic. You don't need 60 card to play, only 12. The extra Booster Packs will be for people who enjoy having PREMIUM content because of their availability of disposable income. There are "core" and "extra" products too.

Everything seems logical and "correct". Nothing too much out of order... Like I said, everything seems "tight" and acceptable. Now we've got to wait for ONE (1) more piece of ART... And then this coming month (June) start to work on making a prototype with what I current have.

Cheers and thank you for reading!

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blog | by Dr. Radut