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creating cards

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Ritichi
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Joined: 11/28/2010

I am working on a game concept. I am wondering how how many cards I should put in the game for game play. The game is a 2 to 4 player game. There are offensive and defensive cards in this game that are basically a draw pile(you play through these cards). Other cards will be like special cards that you have to earn(2 types).

I have heard before that there is a system to development of the number of cards and they types that are available.

his is my first attempt at creating a board game and any advice would be awesome.

Please E-mail at tim.cooley@utah.edu with any follow up.
Thanks in advance.

rcjames14
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Card Count

As long as we're talking about a stand alone card game, a publisher will look for a card count between 50 and 110.

Anything less than 50 and it will be difficult to justify as a product to the consumer. Anything more than 110 and it will likely be prohibitively expensive to produce compared to what you can sell the game for. Dominion and its copy-cats, along with Magic and its copy-cats are exceptions to this rule. So, if you plan to follow in that line of design, you will have a greater degree of flexibility with card count. But, in general a card game with no additional components will be priced between $10 and $20. So, the margins will be thin per unit sale and there will be a pressure to conform to standard printing sizes.

Currently most professional printers can roll of thousands of decks of 55 cards at nominal cost because they are printed on a 110 card sheet and halved. Even though an uneven card count will produce waste, it is still relatively affordable to craft something in between. And, from what I understand, a lot of modern printing equipment can be aligned to produce odd numbers. But, because of the pre-existing equipment, games with between 50 and 110 cards became the norm and influence customer expectation.

However, if your design is interesting enough to justify an alternative number, exceptions can always be made and manufacturers will find a way to make it work. So, my suggestion is to choose a number that fits your mechanic well and matches the playtime of the game you would like to achieve. Then, let the publisher give you feedback on the feasibility. If they already like the way the game plays and want to sell it, you and they will find a way to make it work.

To give you an example of how the design leads the count, I have been working on a card game called Suitcases. There are two types of cards: suitcases and trinkets. In the game, players pack trinkets inside of suitcases to score points, but they can also pack suitcases inside suitcases, steal other people's luggage and repack if they don't like their current luggage. Because it is a game that allows for nesting, I believe that it would be cumbersome to have a number(size) value of the suitcases higher than 10 and a trinket value higher than 5. So, I know the range of values. Then, given that the mechanic deals out 10 cards to each player (because you need variety in order to be able to arrange cards into sets), I know that for five players (my ideal audience size) I need at least 50 cards just to set it up. Then, because each player must draw a card at the beginning of his turn, I need to have enough cards in the draw pile to equal the number of turns I feel like each player should have (based upon playtime and the degree of strategy) * 5. Let's say this game is meant to be pretty lucky, pretty quick and there is a way to recycle cards from the discard pile. The card count should likely be about 80. And, estimating that there will need to be about an equal number of trinkets (which score points) and suitcases (which hold trinkets) for the game to function properly, I now know exactly how to distribute all the cards. 40 suitcases / 9 sizes = 4 or 5 copies each. 40 trinkets / 5 sizes = 8 copies each. But, considering that the suitcases are not divided evenly, I will 'fudge' the evenness and do 45 suitcases / 9 = 5 copies and 35 trinkets / 5 = 7 copies. Erring on the side of more suitcases because ultimately I'd rather have players chase fewer points with lots of suitcases than have difficulty packing everything due to too few. I could adjust the frequency of specific size trinkets or suitcases depending upon their size (see Poison or Condottiere), but I personally believe that even distributions are easier to intuitively grasp for players, they foster a variety of strategies better and they present the players with greater challenges to overcome, due to luck of the draw.

Suitcases will likely retail for $10 or $12 because of the number and type of components, its theme and the audience it is targeted for (mass-market). So, a card count of 80 will be a little odd, but it will be possible for the players to shuffle all the cards at once (as opposed to Fluxx and Uno which require you to split the game in half in order to fit in your hands) and the printers will probably find a way to make it affordable. If not, the publisher will tell me to redesign with either more or less cards and it will have to be modified either for less players (with less card count) or more (possibly through the addition of different types of cards to avoid the feeling of redundancy).

Ritichi
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Joined: 11/28/2010
Cards

Thanks for the advice. That was really helpful. This game is a combination of movable characters with the need to use offensive and defensive cards. During many turns no cards will be plaed, however during some turns it might be possible to play 4 cards per turn. If hypothetically a game of 4 every single person played 4 cards and then drew 4 cards that would be a minimum of 32 cards, not to include the other three cards in their hand they didn't use. which would make a minimum count of 44. I highly doubt all 4 players would ever play all cards, but one has to consider the possibility. I am currently making a deck that would be about 60 cards, but I can see how the cost effectiveness could change everything.

Based on the fact that 55 cards to print is cost effective I might change a few things. I think a 70 offense/defense deck with 2 types of specialty cards totaling 20 cards a piece allowing for 110 printed cards and two sheets per printing.

Thanks for your help again. I hope to see your suit case game in my local shop some day :-)

Ritichi
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Making Cards

I have the basic card format created. Is there A program that would help with designing and printing the card? I currently have everything written on index cards and want to print them out on something more substantial, that can take a beating.

What are the basic dimensions of a normal card?

Dralius
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Although there are many

Although there are many formats for cards the two most common in the US are.

Poker 3.5 x 2.5 inches
Bridge 3.5 x 2.25 inches

irdesigns510
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basic program

Probably one of the best things you can do for yourself is to become acquainted with Adobe Illustrator.
(doing this will help later if you choose to look into Adobe inDesign)
It's not super difficult, and having vector versions of your information (rules text, icons, logos etc.) will allow them to be clearer and more readable.
I preach adobe because its an print industry standard.

Also, when you go to send these to a printer, they will ask for a couple of different formats, and knowing how to create .EPS' (Ecapsulated Post Script, just a file type... like .jpeg) correctly will GREATLY improve your final result.

As for printing prototypes at home, look for a 250lb (roughly) paper if you dont want to do some gluing. (cant find it in stores, order it online)
Most playing cards are actually 2 sheets registered and glued together, then pressed flat until dry.
Rip a playing card in half and you will see blue in the middle.
it's glue, not playing card blood! haha.
not sure why its blue though...

salish99
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Joined: 02/22/2010
TGC and artscow

At TGC, you can make card games in multiples of 16 (their standard set size), so you're very flexible.

At Artscow, you can make multiples of 54 (at the moment, you get the 54 sets for 3 bux and free shipping, but probably not much longer)

salish99
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Joined: 02/22/2010
template

Oh, and we already designed full sets in photoshop.
we can send you the template we created, if you want to use it (if you place something too far on the rim, it'll be cut off)

hulken
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Joined: 04/18/2009
It is onley normal poker

It is onley normal poker cards with costom backs that are on sale for 3 dollars... Still...

irdesigns510
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Joined: 06/24/2009
carta mundi

has anyone on here ever received a quote from the carta mundi?
they kinda seem more approachable by people who know a thing or two about design (looking at their prepress requirements), im just wondering if anyone has ever priced them out.

Relexx
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irdesigns510 wrote:Rip a

irdesigns510 wrote:
Rip a playing card in half and you will see blue in the middle.
it's glue, not playing card blood! haha.
not sure why its blue though...

Because it is playing card blood ... listen carefully when you rip it and you will hear the card scream as well. :D

pelle
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inkscape

See my posts in this thread:
http://www.bgdf.com/node/3930#comment-15164

I know the thread is about counters, but the same tools are just as useful to make sheets of cards as they are to make sheets of counters, and there are some examples of making cards included (and more in the forum thread linked to).

Inkscape is free so it's a good starting point anyway. Nothing is lost if you decide to buy some commercial application later.

truekid games
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Joined: 10/29/2008
irdesigns510 wrote: Most

irdesigns510 wrote:

Most playing cards are actually 2 sheets registered and glued together, then pressed flat until dry.
Rip a playing card in half and you will see blue in the middle.
it's glue, not playing card blood! haha.
not sure why its blue though...

most standard poker deck playing cards and ccg's are made that way, cards in various board games often are not made that way (i think it's an economy of scale thing, the PCS being too expensive for the comparatively smaller print runs that some board games are run at? but that's just a guess). It's blue or black or grey so that the cards are more opaque (harder to see through them to the information on the other side).

rcjames14
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Prototype or Production

Ritichi wrote:
I have the basic card format created. Is there A program that would help with designing and printing the card? I currently have everything written on index cards and want to print them out on something more substantial, that can take a beating.

As others have pointed out, Adobe Creative Suite is the current standard in design work outside of the Mac ecosystem. Google has been developing some interesting online App alternatives that you can use for free. But, whereas Google Draw is good for vector diagramming, it is not good for image editing. So, you will want to become proficient with Illustrator, Photoshop and inDesign if you want to produce publishable quality material.

However, if you are currently interested in producing a prototype for playtesting and/or showing to a publisher, then you can probably get away with Google Draw. Since it is a vector environment, it can be resized to fit whatever printing needs you have. But, you will need to make sure that the ratio between the width and the height of your card outlines is correct before you save the file as a PDF/PNG.

Standard size card sleeves and CCGs use poker sizing, so if you create a box in Draw which has the ratio of height to width that is 7:5, the resulting output will fit the dimensions of a card sleeve. Then all you need to do is buy some opaque card sleeves and get some leftover CCG cards and you can print out your cards in batches of 8 (landscape orientation of cards placed in 2 rows of 4 columns), slice them up at Fedex Office and insert the card image you made together with the CCG card into the sleeve and you will have a set of cards perfect for a prototype.

You will have to probably experiment with the sizing in Draw a couple of times to get the right output, but once you find the right size box, it is trivial to duplicate it 8 times and you have a template that you can use for every card idea you have. Whenever you want to make new cards, make a copy of the template, send the box borders to the back then start inserting text boxes and images or shapes wherever you want.

The output will not be as pretty as Photoshop, but once set up, you will be able to create cards even faster than Photoshop or Illustrator. And, as long as you're only interested in using them for playtesting and prototypes to show to publishers, then you won't need anything more.

Ritichi
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Joined: 11/28/2010
Ha awesome thanks

Thanks for all the help. The information is amazing. I used photoshop to make a very basic design and have printed off one set of the cards. I then used a scrap booking thing my wife had to cut them out. I will also be getting some of those card sleeve things.

I have illustrator and have been meaning to get some tutorials on it. I guess now I just might have to make that a reality.

Again thanks to everyone for the info I truly appreciate it.

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