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Card game prototype

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x4Rs0L's picture
Joined: 06/24/2013


I was wondering how I could go about prototyping a card game. Since I've got quite a few cards to create, I'd rather not hand-write each one and put them in a deck sleeve. Is there a program that would make this easy for me to batch and print in mass? Truthfully, a program to test this would be optimal. Thanks for the help.


Joined: 07/12/2012


A quick google search will find it for you - you can link it with Excel and everything!

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
5-in-1 Paper Trimmer

x4Rs0L wrote:
I was wondering how I could go about prototyping a card game. Since I've got quite a few cards to create, I'd rather not hand-write each one and put them in a deck sleeve. Is there a program that would make this easy for me to batch and print in mass? Truthfully, a program to test this would be optimal.

Personally I have done both (manually and using software). Manually, I use a ruler and 8.5"x11" cardstock. It takes a LONG time to do cards this way... Next I use scissors to cut the cards.

Using software still takes time to design as well. I use Adobe Illustrator CS and do 9 cards per page. Once I get the first card done, I copy & paste the card onto a new layer and repeat for 9 cards. Then I print out 1 page at a time on cardstock. What is cool is that I recently invested in a 5-in-1 cutter... Basically all you do is align the paper then you just slide the blade by applying pressure towards the paper and it works GREAT. Much, much faster than scissors.

It even allows me to trim corners to make the cards round. Not perfect but good enough for a prototype...

I'll be re-printing the latest version of my game which has about 160 cards. Do that twice and that's a whooping 320+ cards... It'll probably take me 3 days to print and cut then 320+ new cards... I'm not very fast and when I do it I take breaks...

Joined: 04/30/2013
if you have a programming

if you have a programming background or just a knack for programming and scripting, then use a computer program, heck even a game engine would work out, you could have it ported as a mobile app for free and have it playtested anonymously by the public

other than being unconventional, the problems with a digital playtest would, assuming you are designing a board game, have a lack of feel for handling the physical components, which will most likely lead to inaccurate accessment

however, if you do not have a programming background or are just intimidated by it, this is a budget method is one i use personally

i print on normal paper with an arrangement probably the same as questccg's, 9 cards per page, cut them out, slot the paper into a card sleeve with a card.

the cards i use are fake yugioh cards, at 100 a buck its pretty damned cheap, but poker cards should suffice.

the card sleeves i re-use are from when i played yugioh, but cheapest i saw last was 90 for 2 dollars

a paper cutter like this one can its about $25 and can cut about 2 or 3 pages at a time, but if you do not have one, a ruler and penknife will suffice, it will just be a little more tedious

Joined: 07/10/2011
The first game I ever

The first game I ever prototyped, I did by hand-making the cards.

The next time, I used Appleworks (aka Clarisworks), which has a drawing/drafting program. Super easy, super flexible. Although, I no longer use this particular program (Illustrator CS6, now) I can safely say that I'll never dream of doing things by hand again.

The things that make it so good are:

1) Everything becomes easier. You can easily copy a single template (e.g. a 9x9 card sheet), or revise it, or input the stat values, etc.

2) Playtesters take you more seriously because your materials look more homogenous and professional. Fonts and colors can be used to set the theme. Repeated icons can be identical.

3) While doing this, you get more experience doing something that is useful for other life-activities. This is pretty cool. Being able to do basic drafting and graphic design work is invaluable–– posters, programs, flyers, cards, office work, teacher work, all sorts of things can be helped by knowing how to make quick designs in a drafting program.

For me–– 2 years ago, I had never used Adobe Illustrator. Since then, I have designed and prototyped several games. I have spent about 3000 hours using the program now, reading tutorials, getting feedback, and I can confidently say that I can produce game materials better than most games on the market. Although I have hired artists to illustrate my designs, I routinely have to instruct them how to do things.

Even if none of my new projects pan out, I will always be able to fall back on this skill for work!

ckleach's picture
Joined: 02/26/2013
Too many options...

There are way too many options, but you can narrow it down by your aptitude level.

  • Are you a crafter? If so, ruler, pencil and scissors are your friend.
  • Art program literate? Photoshop, GiMP, Illustrator, hell... even MS Paint. Create, print, cut, done.
  • Need structure/templates or no artistic skills? CCG Maker, NanDeck, Deckromancy. Pull images from online or have a friend/family member design, then plug it in. There are tool out there for you
  • Somewhere in between all of these? Order blank playing cards on perforated sheets and do your own art, or print, rip and play. You can also print to blank paper, cut and paste onto existing playing cards from the dollar store.
  • Have money, time and creative skill? Use any combination of the above to create digital files, then submit to or any other card printing service to have your prototypes made.

Some will argue that designing and printing to real cards is not "Prototyping", but that's a point of view. Your pencil on index cards version is also prototyping, so it comes down to how polished you want your demo to be. In the end, it's all prototypes until is goes to a printing vendor. Knock yourself out _s0L.

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