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Subject: Choosing colors for your game? rss

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Kellie Edland

Iowa
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Hi everyone!

So, I am playing around with a card game and how I want it to look. I have a general style I like and want to go with (I really like flat art and design), but I have no idea how to choose colors or how many colors I should stick to. Is there a general rule in board game design about colors?

The kind of cards I have (and this is from a game about animal shelters I've written about here before):
1. Event cards - will be flipped and put in the middle of the table. There are different events but two "types" if that makes sense.
2. Animal cards - on table in front of player, cats and dogs (I have the art style of the animals I want to use but they have no background, should all cats have the same and all dogs have the same? Or should they vary from animal to animal?).
3. Resource cards - these will be in your hand, not exactly sure how these should look but what's important on them are their values.
4. Volunteer cards - will be on table (in middle and in front of players) face up. Gives player special "powers".

So, unless you have specific ideas, I'm mainly looking for tips and tricks on how to choose colors that will work well together as a theme, and determine how many I should use. I want the cards to be distinguishable but I don't want the game to look too busy. So any advice would be greatly appreciated

Thanks for your time!
Edit: Added link to my other thread
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Charles Ward
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Thannon wrote:
Hi everyone!

Avoid colour if possible, for as long as possible. It serves a function for colour sighted people, but not everyone is not can see the same colours. So if you can find another way to differentiate the cards (orientation, pattern, layout, icons, text) that is a good direction to go - for now.
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Leif Carlsen
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I suggest using as few colors as possible and as many as is necessary. Read up on color theory. Use a color scheme that is color-blind friendly or use redundancy to assist color-blind players (text, icons, patterns that provide the same information as the color). Use a tool like paletton to help you choose colors from a color wheel. Create a couple different color schemes and compare them.

Get feedback from other people. Ask your SO, game group, friend, neighbor, random bgg users for feedback on your choices. Listen to them, but remember that it is your game.

Color/art should be a secondary concern while you are developing your game. If you are self-publishing, plan to hire an artist or become one yourself. If you are submitting your design to publishers, completed artwork may be counter-productive. For now, use just enough color as is necessary.

Quote:
The kind of cards I have (and this is from a game about animal shelters I've written about here before):
1. Event cards - will be flipped and put in the middle of the table. There are different events but two "types" if that makes sense.
2. Animal cards - on table in front of player, cats and dogs (I have the art style of the animals I want to use but they have no background, should all cats have the same and all dogs have the same? Or should they vary from animal to animal?).
3. Resource cards - these will be in your hand, not exactly sure how these should look but what's important on them are their values.
4. Volunteer cards - will be on table (in middle and in front of players) face up. Gives player special "powers".
For specific suggestions...

I would suggest four different colors to identify your four types of cards. For a prototype undergoing play testing and revision, a dash of color on a small icon on the top-right corner is sufficient. If you add too much color area, you may be more hesitant to revise and reprint your prototype. Only differentiate cats and dogs with color if they are functionally different classes of cards. For example, all animals of one type score points based on how many of that type you collect. If they are functionally similar, such as each cat or dog scoring a fixed number of points, then make them all either identical or unique.

Since the values are important on resource cards, highlight the values in some way(s). Make it big. Stick it on the top corner. Put it in reverse color (white number in a purple circle/square/etc, if event cards are purple).

In future new posts, please link to any referenced threads (your game mechanic thread). It's easier for us to find it if you link right to it instead of making us click through 3 links to find it from your profile.
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Pete Belli
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Dave Schroeder
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maldrak wrote:
I suggest using as few colors as possible and as many as is necessary.


I second this statement. Lay your cards out as you would in a game, then think about what information you want to be able to get at a glance. Group them mentally into those groups, and define colors/patterns/borders to make that happen visually.

For example, is it important to know how many cats vs. dogs? Or are the different types of cats and dogs more important?

Whatever you choose, make sure you leave room for the future. As an extreme example: don't decide that animals will be different shades of green. It might work when there are just dogs and cats, but if you ever want to add more types it breaks down pretty quickly.
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Kellie Edland

Iowa
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Thank you all for your help! The reason I am working on design seemingly early in this project is because I get motivated to keep going if I can see some sort of end result when I am working on things. Play testing will probably be done with much simpler designs than what I want for the end result.

I'll definitely have icons and layout be the bigger components in differentiating cards, and then have colors, as a secondary component, that are friendly to all players. Having as few as possible but as many as necessary sounds perfect, sounds like it won't get too busy that way.

You guys had a great point about what information you would need to see at a glance and using different colors for the different cards, so I'm definitely going to play around with that (since most adopters want either a dog OR cat maybe it would be a good idea to have all dogs be one color and all cats be another, so that people can easily see if they have one or the other?). Also, love the Paletton tool, will have a lot of fun with that!

pete belli wrote:
Welcome to BGG.

Thank you!

maldrak wrote:
In future new posts, please link to any referenced threads

Oh yes, I totally missed that... I'm sorry, I'll edit my first post to include it, and definitely keep that in mind next time.


Thank you all again!
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