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Subject: Critique of Card Design Needed rss

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Alex Gregory
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Hey Guys,

I have been working on a set of cards for the social party game, Mafia called "The Lounge" (https://www.facebook.com/TheLoungeCG). As a bit of back story, my group has been playing for a few years, and until recently, we used a simple deck of playing cards. We have gained quite the gallery of roles over the years, and we wanted a set of cards specifically for each role. A few months ago a person in our group made a set of 40 cards, and game creation has gone much faster since. Now I am coming in to create a complete set (108 cards) for our group, and to hopefully sell them to the public!
Anyways, I have made the first prototype of the cards for my friends and I to use. However, I always think things can be improved, and so I would love for some critiques on the design I have been using so far. This includes the artwork! Here is a sample of the cards:



Anything that you think could be improved, and how would be great. Additionally, I have been working on a newer design, which is pictured below:



Do you think that this is better? Worse? Why?

Any and all feedback is appreciated!
 
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Aaron Nielsen
Australia
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Good morning/evening Alex,

Things I like about your current design:
- Greyscale colour scheme (Film Noir look/feel)
- The second card layout is much better IMO but could still be improved

Things I'm not so fond of:
- The illustrations, maybe hire an artist?
- The font selection. I'd suggest trying a finer "Typewriter" font (something that's easy to read) to suit the Film Noir feel your cards give off. Unless you aren't going for a Noir theme...

Other than that mate, I like the work so far. Look forward to seeing the finished product.
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Shelby Buttimer
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TheAaronLeigh wrote:
Good morning/evening Alex,

Things I like about your current design:
- Greyscale colour scheme (Film Noir look/feel)
- The second card layout is much better IMO but could still be improved

Things I'm not so fond of:
- The illustrations, maybe hire an artist?
- The font selection. I'd suggest trying a finer "Typewriter" font (something that's easy to read) to suit the Film Noir feel your cards give off. Unless you aren't going for a Noir theme...

Other than that mate, I like the work so far. Look forward to seeing the finished product.


Agree with all of this. I especially think you should hire an illustrator if you're serious about trying to market the game. Without knowing more about the game, I think the illustrations should be more menacing.
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Filip W.
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Being at the age when I'm starting to need glasses for everything I think that the font could be larger (cut back on the images, they're not that important anyhow) and of a higher contrast.
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Jack
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For cards like the Jester that appear multiple times in the deck, you can add how many there are, like the dots/circles on the left in the middle and bottom row of cards:
 
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Dezza
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IamJacksUsername wrote:
For cards like the Jester that appear multiple times in the deck, you can add how many there are, like the dots/circles on the left in the middle and bottom row of cards
For a Werewolf game, that's probably unnecessary, because the cards in the deck aren't always what's in play.

I think you should use a darker grey behind the face to make it stand out more but make it more than just the 'square' you used in the first set.

I say go for the first but work on it more. It gives a sort of newspaper feel, go with that as an idea to make it even more thematic.
Alternatively, something like a mugshot.
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Alex Gregory
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Ok, so I have been reading everyone's advice, and I appreciate the time you guys have taken! It's really awesome, because you have brought up so great points that I wouldn't have thought up on my own.

First, everyone seems to agree that the Film Noir look is good, and I couldn't agree more. It is the theme that I was going for originally, and I am happy that people managed to pick up on it as noticeably as they did.

The other point that people agreed on is that I need to hire an illustrator. And I would love to. However, I am currently a student with a very limited amount of money, who can't afford to drop the amount needed to hire an artist. I am entering into a competition at my school that has some prize money that I would use towards an illustrator; however, that is not a guarantee. If I do not win, I would have the first or second stretch goal for the kickstarter be new artwork. (I would only set the funded part to be enough to get a small print run going, unless people think this is a bad idea, and I should include the artwork as part of the campaign.)

Also, I guess I should have explained this in the first post, but for those that do not know what Mafia/Werewolf is: Each player gets a role, that would be designated by one of these cards. Depending on the card that they receive, they could be on the Mafia team, or part of the town, or a 3rd party with a completely different win condition. The cards need to convey the information of what your role is in a easy to understand manner.

dezza wrote:
IamJacksUsername wrote:
For cards like the Jester that appear multiple times in the deck, you can add how many there are, like the dots/circles on the left in the middle and bottom row of cards
For a Werewolf game, that's probably unnecessary, because the cards in the deck aren't always what's in play.

I think you should use a darker grey behind the face to make it stand out more but make it more than just the 'square' you used in the first set.

I say go for the first but work on it more. It gives a sort of newspaper feel, go with that as an idea to make it even more thematic.
Alternatively, something like a mugshot.

The newspaper look is not something I had thought of, but I like the sound of that. I think that if I could get it put together well, it would be fantastic, but it may not be feasible given my artistic skill.

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Aaron Nielsen
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Being a student and trying to fund a project such as this can be hard. We understand that completely.

But without more stylised or detailed illustrations I fear that your game will go unnoticed and the harsh reality is some people won't give your game the time of day because of it.

Crowd funding is a good option in times like this but I don't think using "Stretch Goals" will work because if people aren't confident in the product it will unlikely gain any backers.

I would do the following if I were you:
1) Hunt around for an artist
2) Find one you think matches the style you are looking for
3) Get a quote on their time to illustrate your cards
4) Factor that cost into your total Kickstarter goal

Maybe explain to that artist your situation and that you are looking at having it crowd funded through Kickstarter and ask if you could advertise his/her artwork as the potential designs for your cards if your goal is reached. That way people can see what the artist is capable of doing and will give backers confidence in the final product.

I don't see that as an unreasonable request of the artist. They have nothing to lose and gain a bit of free advertising in the mean time.

Just a thought...
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Shelby Buttimer
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CrimsonGames wrote:
However, I am currently a student with a very limited amount of money, who can't afford to drop the amount needed to hire an artist.


Since you're a student, could you talk to some of the art teachers at your school and tell them what you're doing and see if they'd be interested in making it a class project? Or maybe just put a notice up in their class that you're looking for someone.

Part of the problem with putting an unfinished project on Kickstarter and explaining that it'll be better when you have money is that that says that you don't have much invested in the project.

I feel much better about backing a game or a product when it's clear that the product is finished, the person just needs money for the expensive publishing phase.
 
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Christian Gienger
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I understand that everyone wants to do his own kickstarter these days, but there's always the classic way to go with a game. Send the rules(when you have done blind play testing (which is doable without art) to a publisher and try to get your game published the traditional way. This way you don't have to look for art and can go for readability of the cards. On the other hand you won't decide everything yourself about your game and I think the fewest games get through the publishing process unchanged.
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Glen Dresser
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I agree with the concerns about the small font and the illustration, although I'm not sure the illustration is that important. In Mafia/Werewolf-type games, ideally people look at the card when they get it, read and understand their role quickly, and then put down the card and don't look at it again (unless they forget something about their role or they're dead).

I'm always in favour of hiring artists if that's an option, but it seems like that might be premature for what you're after. If you're going for the noir look, perhaps old movie stills might give you the feel you're after. Look for some public domain film noirs, get a copy, find some screen-shots that are appropriate. And if that's the way you want to go, maybe push the graphic design to be a little more art-deco-ish.

edit: Here's a reference on public domain films. The top on the Wired list - Detour - might be a good place to start.
http://www.prattlibrary.org/locations/sightsandsounds/index....
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Aaron Nielsen
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octothorp wrote:
I agree with the concerns about the small font and the illustration, although I'm not sure the illustration is that important.


I disagree, although yes illustrations aren't what make a good game. This particular game Alex is developing appears to have a visual element to it by allocating space for graphics within his cards.

If he continues with the MS Paint-esk artwork it will decrease the overall appeal of the game.

EDIT: But realistically the gameplay, rules and font are more important than illustrations at this stage.
 
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Andrew Rowse
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The graphic design and artwork are both too poor to present to Kickstarter. Consider the following:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/imartyn/multiwolves-not...

This project had a great artist onboard, and was using representative illustrations on terrible placeholder graphic design. Backers had no clear idea what they were pledging for, and what probably should have been a very successful kickstarter only barely scraped past the finish line.

If you want to succeed on Kickstarter, I think you'll need a professional graphic design from day one. You can probably get by with representative illustrations, so long as they're the same style (ideally the same artist) as you intend to ship with.

If you can't get together the team/resources to have that stuff done up-front, it might be better to release as PnP initially, using whatever assets you can come up with. If your game is awesome, some of the amazing artists and graphic designers on BGG may reskin the game to look better. You can then reach out to them to collaborate for a produced version (kinda like Glory to Rome black box, though hopefully without the house loss).

Also, never use white text on a grey background. Black text on white is always the most readable, and choosing anything else means carefully weighing style-vs-readability.
 
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