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Subject: Deckbuilding with small/mini cards? rss

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Colin Moore
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I've got a design that is a board game with a deckbuilding element integrated into it. My original prototype I made years ago had one problem. It took up too much table space. There is a largish board, and at least one smaller supplemental board is attached to one of its edges. In addition, the dominion-esque shopping supply of cards is off to one side of the board, and it can be over 20 stacks of cards available. The prototype cards are munchkin-sized (US card game size, 57 x 89mm), so the card shopping mall takes up as much space as the board.

The footprint of this game could be greatly reduced by using smaller cards, like Ticket to ride train cards. Assume the info fits on smaller cards (i think it would).

What would you think of a deck building game that used TTR-sized cards? including all the things that go along with deck-building such as starting with a small deck, frequent shuffling, frequent card drawing and buying cards from the supply?

Would it be a pain in the ass? would it be better or worse than a sprawling game that wouldn't fit on many tables?

 
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Chris Willett
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That is a tough line to walk. I would say that if the deck building is only part of the game, then it would be OK with me. I would look toward a game like Copycat for this. In Copycat, there is deck building, but as it is only part of the game, shuffling doesn't happen *too* often. In such a case, the smaller cards, while less ideal, might be alright.

Alternatively, I would suggest that the readability of the cards is important for a deck builder too. Too much information makes it harder to know what each card is. I envision a lot of people craning necks and leaning to try to read all the cards.

Another game to look to for inspiration would be Trains. It has a board and a deck building portion. This works fine there as the game board is relatively small.

I have a large table, so I would lean toward the bigger cards. But maybe your happy medium is a little better?
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Bill Cook
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I passionately hate hobbit size cards.

Reiner Knizia had the same problem you had and used hobbit cards in The Quest for El Dorado.

Who you gonna listen to, me or Knizia?
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Cornixt
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Tiny cards are hard to shuffle and awkward to hold. Piles fall over more easily. They now sell full size cards for TTR because the small ones annoyed so many people.
 
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FPV
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EMBison wrote:
I passionately hate hobbit size cards.

Reiner Knizia had the same problem you had and used hobbit cards in The Quest for El Dorado.

Who you gonna listen to, me or Knizia?



Ha ha. You of course!
 
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Warren Fitzpatrick
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cornixt wrote:
Tiny cards are hard to shuffle and awkward to hold. Piles fall over more easily. They now sell full size cards for TTR because the small ones annoyed so many people.


This times 100. It's just not functional. Minis are fine if you're not actually doing much w/ them - as in, Imperial Assault or similar. But if you're holding them in your hand, it's just not a good tactile experience for pretty much everyone.

I say - find another fix.
 
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Ryan Keane
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If normal-sized cards are going to be too big to display beside the board, it's better to make it a bag builder and use card-like square or rectangular cardboard tokens. Tokens like the rooms in Caverna should be big enough to contain a lot of text/icon information but still small enough to allow a large array of them beside the board, and chunky enough to shuffle and draw from a bag.

I also prefer bag shuffling over deck shuffling. I modded Flamme Rouge replacing the cards with round chips, but in that case, each counter just has a single number.
 
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Daniel Donche
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Well, as others have mentioned, smaller cards are harder to shuffle, but the other consideration you have to make is composition and design. Do you have a lot of elements going onto the cards? The smaller the area you have to work with, the more difficult this becomes. You have to not only make the cards look cool (this is important to a lot of players, let's be honest), but you have to convey everything from a mechanical perspective in a way that's organized and easy to read. I actually just wrote an article about design and composition of cards, so maybe something here will help you out.

http://darkanacreative.com/academy/darkanaacademy-layout-and...
 
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patrick mullen
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20 stacks might be too many stacks. Why does your game have to take so much space? Can you consolidate or simplify anything?

For instance, what if you have 10 stacks, like dominion, but each stack has several possible cards that might be in it. Or you might look into an ascension style market.
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Julian Wasson
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I'm less concerned with the mini-cards than I am with the NEED for mini-cards.

I don't want to set up 20 stacks, or sort and put away 20 stacks, or choose between 20 stacks. And you're not entirely certainthat the information would all fit on mini-cards? So that's not just 20 stacks of cards, it's 20 stacks of COMPLEX cards. Significantly more complex than a Dominion card.

That's just too much all at once, it's too fiddly, and I don't see how having that wide a variety of options all simultaneously available would make your decision space more interesting than a more restricted set of options. Dominion only uses 10 or 16 stacks depending on how you count it, and often half of those go untouched in any given game.

If you absolutely need that many options simultaneously and consistently available, and it's not overwhelming to deal with maybe look to a different option for displaying them. Eminent Domain would have an unwieldy number of stacks if you spread every tech card out, but since the supply is limited and you infrequently interact with them, you can just pile them up and people can look through them at their convenience and it works.

So I guess my suggestion is to reconsider your design. You're treating a symptom rather than the cause if you just try and shrink the cards.
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Kai Herbertz
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One of my favourite games and certainly one of my favourite deckbuilders The Big Book of Madness uses small cards and it is working beautifully. That said, I agree with the others, who have mentioned that perhaps streamlining the game to get rid of a few card stacks might be worth investigating.
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Crazed Survivor
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Small cards are great, love handling them. Remove the art, keep only the text, save table and shelf space, get love (from me at least).
With tiny cards we could store more games.
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Clwe
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I don't share the same hatred* of small cards that most other people do here ;-) but even I would have to draw the line when it comes to deckbuilding. Shuffling small cards can be awkward, and I really wouldn't want to do it several times throughout a game.

If you really, really need all those stacks and are concerned about table space, you could do what Puzzle Strike does. Instead of cards, it uses 1.5 inch wide cardboard chips. You have a bag that represents your deck, and you just put your chips in there and draw them out blindly for new hands.

(Of course, I would recommend you stick with mini cards during the prototyping/testing stages, as that's far easier to mock up yourself...but the chip route might be worth considering later on.)


*well, unless your eyesight's failing...then you have my sympathy!
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Bryan Kline
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It seems to me that shuffling the mini cards would be the most annoying part. I tend to riffle shuffle cards, and tiny ones are hard to shuffle that way.

If I might make a suggestion? (And sorry if this is way off base from what you're trying to do.) Instead of using Dominion-style deckbuilding (draw, play, discard, reshuffle), what if you did the Concordia/Century:Spice Road style of deckbuilding instead? (Your deck is your hand, play any card, but have to take an action to pick your cards back up.) It would eliminate shuffling, and depending on how you implement it, it could reduce the overall number of cards in your game.
 
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