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Card Design

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KiltedNinja
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Hi Folks,

I'm making a game which has various cards in it. Some cards for warriors which will have some character portrait and some stats as numbers or symbols etc. There will also be other cards which have some text and numbered values.

Can anyone point me towards a resource for card design?

I'm essentially hoping that someone can point me towards a list of games which have cards so that I can have a look and get some ideas for how to make my own cards.

I don't need any software or anything to make/design the cards, all I'm looking for is basically a bunch of games with cards, or pictures of cards used in games so that I can try to figure out the best way to arrange the information on the cards.

Thanks in advance!

let-off studios
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Some Suggestions

I have a few suggestions for you.

The thing I remember about Smash Up the most is that it's a card game that uses cards of different sizes and orientations for different purposes. This way, it's not easy to confuse one type of card for another. Here's a photo for reference:

https://boardgamegeek.com/image/1507384/smash

One of my favourite solo games still has to be Thunderstone. Here are examples of two of the creature cards: each corner is used for specific information, though it's spare in iconography which makes it un-intuitive for the first few plays/new players:

https://boardgamegeek.com/image/1346320/thunderstone

A simple card design is found in the oldie Sindbad. In the example on the right, it shows that when the player draws this card, they throw the dice, and depending on the outcome of the roll they receive one of two bonuses (the game is pretty swingy because of lots of events like these):

https://boardgamegeek.com/image/1498977/sindbad

Finally, Port Royal has a lot of help through its graphic design. It is very difficult to confuse one type of card for another.

https://boardgamegeek.com/image/4988748/port-royal

I'd suggest you take a look at any of these games for more inspiration and/or design solutions, should one or more of them stand out to you. Best of success on your card game...!

questccg
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Some things to consider

KiltedNinja wrote:
Can anyone point me towards a resource for card design?

I read the OP and my conclusion is that this is like saying: "I want to buy a car...!"

We need a bit more specifications like:

  1. What are the different stats on the card?

  2. Are there any reserved areas required by your card?

  3. How big is your area for artwork on the card?


But generally speaking there are some GUIDELINES that you can follow:

A. Keep important information on the LEFT-HAND side of the card.

This is so that the players can easily "fan" the cards and see what is required by them to make a choice of which cards to play from their hand. And there are a total of 5 areas usually on this side: Top, Art, Middle, Text and Bottom. Any one of those areas are open to "stats" ... But it depends highly on your design.

B. Try to reduce the amount of stats to the lowest possible amount.

This is to avoid cluttering on the card. Too much information is harder to decipher and can lead to Analysis-Paralysis (AP) if you have too many cards in your hand.

C. Secondary information can be kept on the RIGHT-HAND side of the card.

Things like COSTS so if you SELECT a card to be played, the costs associated with using that card can be seen once on the table or when a choice is made as to which card to play on a turn.

D. Card information should be kept on the BOTTOM RIGHT-HAND side of the card.

Things like the Card Numbering (# of Y), Unique ID and/or Artist Info or any information that is relevant to you as the Game Designer should be placed in this location because it is the least visible area on most cards. But can serve much purpose for off-line activities likes Deck Construction and or simply card filing.


These are all things you probably all ready know. I'm just repeating them for good measure. Feel free to disregard what doesn't work for your design. Cheers!

Note #1: One of the most "cluttered" designs is "Race for the Galaxy" (RACE)... But people LOVE that game. Here is a preview of some of the 5 Phase Turns in the game:

And I included the RACE cards just to show you something very DIFFERENT in terms of card design. These cards are unlike most other games because of the turn order in RACE...

KiltedNinja
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Feedback

First, thanks for the replies folks - I really appreciate it.

let-off studios wrote:
..cards of different sizes and orientations for different purposes.

This seems like a good idea to explore - thanks for this and the other suggestions you linked - definitely some interesting examples here!

questccg wrote:
this is like saying: "I want to buy a car...!"
...Yeahh... kind of! I think I was being vague because I was more looking for some inspiration from different cards rather than a specific "you have x y z, so you should definitely make it look like this".

questccg wrote:

We need a bit more specifications like:

  1. What are the different stats on the card?

  2. Are there any reserved areas required by your card?

  3. How big is your area for artwork on the card?

Ok some specifics - there are 3 different cards at the moment;

  • Warrior cards: "here is your warrior named Bob and they have these stats"
  • Power cards: "here is a card that lets your warrior do a certain ability, and by how much"
  • Event cards: "here is a card that says a specific event happens"

The Warrior cards have things like: hitpoints, strength, a power value, their name, character portrait. So essentially, 3 important numbers with everything else being flavour.

The Power cards have things like: The name of the power, tiny bit of flavour text/rule (what it does), 2 number values about how much it does, very probably some iconography relating to the ability, potentially some art. So essentially, 2 important numbers, one important bit of text/icon, and the rest is flavour.

The Event cards are essentially just text, but might have some art.

I really haven't committed to any kind of design, or any kind of "the card must have lots of art" or "it must have at least x-% area for text" or anything like that.

All I really want to do at the moment is just get some ideas of other cards used in games so that I can get a feel for what people do and see if there's anything there that makes sense to me.

questccg wrote:
..all the guidelines..

Thanks for taking the time to write these guidelines - I appreciate it. It's certainly very useful and feels like a great place to start. I guess these are certainly things that we all really know, but I personally have moments of tunnel-vision with this aspect and definitely have some meta analysis-paralysis about how to arrange things.

I had a look at some of the Race for The Galaxy cards - seems like a significant amount of information going on in these cards - certainly cluttered like you said. Pretty good example of how to arrange information. I don't believe my cards will require anywhere near that amount, but it's good to see these to get a feel for what is achievable. (And being able to include when the card is used in a specific turn order feels like it might have been a tricky thing to express - from quickly looking at the cards it seems like they achieved that well.)

Thanks again both of you - I've got some good routes to explore here - definitely feeling a lot more confident about how to progress!

polyobsessive
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"Card at Work"

Not a direct answer to the original question, but game designer and graphic designer Daniel Solis made a series of YouTube videos about laying out and designing cards for games. Some of them are pretty InDesign specific, but all of them have a lot of great advice and pointers on how to do this stuff...

Here's the playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLqRXiQslycmZhvt_4vWyn07OHpX4y_J_f

KiltedNinja
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Thanks

Ah thanks for this - seems pretty handy, much appreciated!

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