Good card design in Games
Patrick Dillon
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Like many BGGers, I am working on a game, and have been thinking about what makes a card well designed. I was looking for examples of what designs other people thought were well done, and didn't see anything specifically about that. So I thought I'd start one.

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1. Board Game: Ginkgopolis [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:315]
Patrick Dillon
United States
Atlanta
Georgia
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Ginkgopolis does an excellent job of giving players all the information they need in the building cards. The action symbols at the bottom, especially on the lower numbered cards, are intuitive and the colors/symbols clearly show what is gained by that action.
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2. Board Game: Hanabi [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:274]
Patrick Dillon
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The Hanabi cards have to be seen clearly from across the table, so the Big numbers and Bold colors of these cards are great. They go with the fireworks theme, as well.
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3. Board Game: Nefarious [Average Rating:6.41 Overall Rank:1876]
Patrick Dillon
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Georgia
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Card cost and point value clearly shown on this card. The powers/benifits iconography is pretty straight forward as well. Goofy humor fits with the theme.
 
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4. Board Game: 6 nimmt! [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:573]
Patrick Dillon
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Atlanta
Georgia
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In 6 Nimmt!, the cards have two important bits of information: Rank and Point Value. The Rank is the big number in the middle, the Point Value is represented by the small cow heads across the top-center of the card. Also, all cards of the same Point Value have the same color scheme.
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5. Board Game: Agents of SMERSH [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:1077]
Patrick Dillon
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Atlanta
Georgia
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5 pieces of information shown on these fate cards:
- Secret mission location
- Paragraph numbers for encounters in 3 different situations
- Playing card value when gambling

Nicely conveyed with no clutter or confusion.
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6. Board Game: Mamma Mia! [Average Rating:6.48 Overall Rank:1277] [Average Rating:6.48 Unranked]
Patrick Dillon
United States
Atlanta
Georgia
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Mamma Mia's ingredient cards represents the "Less is More" approach. Sheer simplicity.
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7. Board Game: Mille Bornes [Average Rating:5.68 Overall Rank:6233]
Patrick Dillon
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Atlanta
Georgia
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Mille Bornes was one of the first games that really grabbed me as a kid. I loved the symmetry of the Fire Engine.
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8. Board Game: Tales of the Arabian Nights [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:310]
Patrick Dillon
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Atlanta
Georgia
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The encounter cards a very nicely done. Chart letter/numbers are clearly presented, and the illustrations are wonderfully evocative.
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9. Board Game: Friday [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:302]
Patrick Dillon
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Atlanta
Georgia
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What I love about this card design is how it illustrates the idea of Robinson gaining skills by overcoming obstacles. Here, after defeating cannibals, the card gets added to and strengthens your Robinson Deck. Now he's got a weapon!
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10. Board Game: Africana [Average Rating:6.78 Overall Rank:1618]
Patrick Dillon
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Georgia
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These cards represent the guides that allow players easier access to the various cities of Africa. I love how the all access guide is full color, while the limited location guides are all mono-hued.
 
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11. Board Game: Tokaido [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:438]
Patrick Dillon
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Lots of little cards, but still plenty big to give all the information a player needs. The way the vista cards build out, showing how the more you have viewed the more points it is worth, is particularly nice.

Honestly, the best thing about this game is how relaxing and enjoyable the design aesthetic is. It makes what is really a very light and simple game a joy to play.
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12. Board Game: Funny Friends [Average Rating:6.47 Overall Rank:1629]
Patrick Dillon
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Georgia
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There can be a lot of information that the player needs from the various cards in this game. Icons aligned vertically on the left are prerequisites, icons aligned horizontally on the bottom are results. The icons are mostly self explanatory, and the card titles and drawings are thematically illustrative of those as well.

The tongue-in-cheek naughtiness of the illustrations are perfect for this game.
 
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13. Board Game: Sushi Go! [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:340]
Patrick Dillon
United States
Atlanta
Georgia
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And finally, what's not there to love about happy anthropomorphic kawaii style sushi!
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14. Board Game: Royals [Average Rating:6.88 Unranked]
Ken Brzuziwski
United States
Parker
Colorado
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I like the face of the cards a lot. However the backs are a bit lacking and they are a dark purple which shows finger prints, scratches, & edge nicks rather well. I do like the logo on the back though, it's nicely done.


Here's the back of the card.
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15. Board Game: Gloom [Average Rating:6.36 Overall Rank:1443] [Average Rating:6.36 Unranked]
Scott Rogers
United States
Thousand Oaks
California
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The plastic cards may be prone to cracking and scraping, but I still think the "layered art" mechanic of Gloom is brilliant.
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16. Board Game: Deadlands: Doomtown [Average Rating:7.29 Overall Rank:1671]
Scott Rogers
United States
Thousand Oaks
California
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Using your hand in a collectable card game double as poker cards for combat is absolute genius.
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17. Board Game: Magic: The Gathering [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:157] [Average Rating:7.45 Unranked]
Ken Brzuziwski
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Parker
Colorado
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Magic: The Gathering makes some nice cards. Also they are easy to identify quickly
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18. Board Game: Android: Netrunner [Average Rating:7.93 Overall Rank:39]
Ken Brzuziwski
United States
Parker
Colorado
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Android: Netrunner has some nice cards in it as well, easy to read and they look nice as well.
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19. Board Game: 1st & Goal [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:1701]
Tyler
United States
Gainesville
Virginia
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The cards for first and goal clearly and concisely show the card's strength and weakness against every possible card your opponent might play. Very useful and utilitarian design that supports gameplay nicely.
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20. Board Game: 1960: The Making of the President [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:158]
Tyler
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Gainesville
Virginia
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This game has a ton of information that cards need to convey. It manages to clearly provide card effect text and a short piece of historical flavor text while also providing symbolically 5 other pieces of short information necessary for gameplay.
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21. Board Game: The Builders: Middle Ages [Average Rating:6.53 Overall Rank:1386] [Average Rating:6.53 Unranked]
Jason Meyers
United States
Central Illinois
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Nice, unobtrusive artwork, clear designation of cost and resources, but the really clever part is how the resource columns on the left side of the worker cards match up with the right side of the building cards to quickly and easily keep track of a project's running progress at a glance.

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22. Board Game: Overlords: The Card Game [Average Rating:6.31 Unranked]
Andre Luiz Fuzaro
Brazil
São Mateus
Espírito Santo
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Awesome design of the cards.. Good work and a fast play !
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23. Board Game: Decktet [Average Rating:7.50 Overall Rank:1824]
MyO the HedgeFox
Russia
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The Verse flows throughout Aquaria. Through each ripple and wave, through every living being, The Verse binds us all as one.
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24. Board Game: Ticket to Ride: Europe [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:91] [Average Rating:7.58 Unranked]
Toms Leikums
Latvia
Jelgava
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Cards don't need to be informative in this game, so they are just good looking and easy recognizable.
But the main point I want to mention is that cards (and symbols on the board) are made also for color-blind players. It is not so hard to do it actually and should be done in every game.
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25. Board Game: Coloretto [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:482]
Steffan O'Sullivan
United States
Plymouth
NH
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"Today is the yesterday you won't be able to remember tomorrow" -Pinkwater
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Best use of background patterns I've ever seen (shown here in gray scale - they are in color in the game). Essentially, Coloretto has eight different colors of cards, yet my color-blind friend can tell them all apart with no problem!
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