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What type of cards do you use?

5 replies [Last post]
Joined: 04/28/2013

I'm in the process of playtesting my game "Make It Big!" and I'll soon be moving on to prototyping it. My aim with the prototype is to have a more functional, pretty version of the game to more thoroughly playtest the game with strangers and others who know nothing about the game, to fully work out and test the kinks.

However, I'm at a bit of a mental crossroads when it comes to the card quality.

I'm going to get an artist to help design the cards and I aim to keep that as low costing as possible. But when it comes to the physical card quality, I'm unsure what to do. At the minute I have very roughly cut versions cut out of normal card, with my own pathetic excuse for art on them. They are in card sleeves for ease of use, which has proved useful to date.

But I'm worried that if I offer more or less the same, only with finer cuttings and better graphics, that it might still seem a little basic. In saying that, I'd rather not put too much money into a prototype as I live in Ireland and delivery costs from most online companies is instantly at a rapid increase due to this.

Any opinions or advice? I'm really enjoying this game and want to take it to the next stage!

Joined: 11/06/2013
Remember that artists have to

Remember that artists have to live from what you pay. If you pay them less, chances are the quality will be less too.
If this is a card game (no board, no tokens), artwork should really take a big slice of the budget pie.

As for the card quality, the only thing you really need is to make sure they can withstay rigorous play without falling apart if they're not sleeved. Use thick stock, nothing too flimsy and try to get a good tuckbox to store them in.

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
Some ideas

For a *nice* prototype - use The Game Crafter (

They may be a little expensive, but you can get 1-off production. So with small quantities comes the higher price point. But your prototype will look better than if you just print cards at home.

Using Adobe Photoshop with Illustrator is a good way to design more professional looking cards. You could also look for a Graphics Designer who might be able to give your cards a more *professional* look!

I would wait on *artwork* since it is rather pricey. Usually when you lower the cost of art, you also lower the quality of the artwork. Most people will tell you, don't do any artwork - publishers can handle those details themselves. However if you are self-publishing, you will need to concern yourself with the artwork, marketing and sales of your game...

jirmen90's picture
Joined: 04/26/2014

I don't have any experience with getting cars printed yet, but I'm looking into and

Hope this helps.

Joined: 06/07/2012
Ordering cards from abroad is

Ordering cards from abroad is a good option, but the shipping to Europe will really hit you where it hurts.

The cheapest place that I've found for a UK or Eire delivery is -

Check out the delivery options and they frequently have codes for free delivery (albeit with a required minimum spend).

Their German site works out a little more expensive due to the exchange rate, but the delivery should be quicker and their wont be a chance of any import/customs surprises. Again, check for the free delivery codes.

In terms of quality you can pick from standard 300gsm, or linen finish 310gsm. Both are very good. They also offer different card sizes like mini, bridge, tarot etc.

A couple of places in the UK offer custom cards as well.

This company used to offer a very quick delivery service for around £10 for 54 cards. Unfortunately the website wont let your order from them anymore because they seem to have been taken over by

and the cost has skyrocketed to £14.97. This is the only place that offers custom backs and front, others charge more and offer custom fronts with the same back.

Either way, the costs charged by UK printers offering small order custom cards are ridiculous.

Koen Hendrix
Joined: 11/24/2010
When I playtest with friends

When I playtest with friends or strangers, I print my card designs on normal paper, cut them out and sleeve them together with normal playing cards. If you get the printed card size right it looks fine.

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