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Subject: Amount of cards in a board game rss

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Miles Ratcliffe
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In the board game that I'm developing at the moment, I've come to a conclusion that I would need to use a fair amount of cards. What number of cards is considered to be too much?

Thanks,
Miles
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Boon Kai Keefe Pang
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700 and beyond? But if your game is based on a card game, It might be good to have more cards to have morereplayability.
 
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Miles Ratcliffe
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Keefe Pang wrote:
700 and beyond?

My board game will have about 200 to 300 cards. Would this be a fair amount then?

Miles
 
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Clement Tey
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Agricola, Prophecy, Runebound, etc all have 200+ cards so that's fine. 700 is insane.
 
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Isaac Citrom
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I'm wondering if the number of cards is less important than the number of decks. I think I could deal with 1000 cards. But, if they must be organized into 40 decks a la Arkham Horror, then it makes for an unwieldly gaming table.
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princemousey wrote:
Agricola, Prophecy, Runebound, etc all have 200+ cards so that's fine. 700 is insane.


Heh. Arkham Horror with just the Dunwich Horror expansion has 700 cards. And there are more expansions if you want. But insanity is all what Arkham Horror is about.
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Tom Hancock
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Depends on your target audience and on how the cards interact with the game. Can you give us a little more information? It also depends on your price point. Cards can be expensive when producing a game and you don't want to drive your price too high. Cards are also a bit overused these days in my opinion. Is there another more original mechanism you can incorporate? If you are designing a euro style game wargames can be great inspiration. For example, a chit pull wargame mechanism grafted onto a euro would be pretty interesting.
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Kingsburg only has one little deck of cards, and you only need to use 5 per game, which is SO nice for setup.

Agricola has a bunch of cards, but you only use 7 minor improvements and 7 occupations per person, plus the major improvements and round cards. I don't mind using a few of a larger number of cards per game. Agricola is the outer edge of my card limit, though.

Pillars of the Earth, although a great game, is a tad card-tedious, and the setup is what keeps me from playing more often. Take out X cards of this deck, shuffle, place some there, give each player these, shuffle and make piles here, reshuffle next round... you get the idea.

Stone age uses nice tiles for the huts that can be purchased, which sort of sneaks it past my "card" radar (even if they were cards, I would be okay with it). Cards get shuffled and put onto 4 spaces, and they get refilled until they're gone. I can handle that!
 
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Richard Irving
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golddmaster wrote:
In the board game that I'm developing at the moment, I've come to a conclusion that I would need to use a fair amount of cards. What number of cards is considered to be too much?


Mozart was once told there were too many notes in his music.


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Miles Ratcliffe
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The main assortment of cards in my game (that I'm mainly thinking of at the moment) is as follows:

- 64 Character cards
- 100 Creature cards
- 32 Wargear cards
- 32 Spell cards
- 16 Skill cards
- 32 Prospect cards
- 16 Item cards
- 8 Chaos Orb cards

Then, in gameplay, these would be the different decks:

- Level 1 Creatures (25 cards)
- Level 2 Creatures (25 cards)
- Level 3 Creatures (25 cards)
- Level 4 Creatures (25 cards)
- Prospects (48 cards: Prospect cards and Item cards)
- Spells (48 cards: Spell cards and Skill cards)

Character cards, Wargear and Chaos Orbs are then given out when needed - so no decks for those so to speak.

As you may have guessed, this game is a fantasy board game and I would want to keep the price of it, if it were to be published, at about £20-£30 RRP. The game would also include counters but the majority of the game is going to be the cards.

To summerise (at the moment), the game is likely going to consist of:

- 300 Cards (6 decks)
- 100 Card Counters (gold pieces)
- 8 Playing Pieces
- 1 Fold-out board
- and 1 Rule Book

Thanks for the help,
Miles
 
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Steve Duff
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Don't forget to save some for the first 7 expansions. cool
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Tom Hancock
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rri1 wrote:
golddmaster wrote:
In the board game that I'm developing at the moment, I've come to a conclusion that I would need to use a fair amount of cards. What number of cards is considered to be too much?


Mozart was once told there were too many notes in his music.


Mozart's reply? Which ones do you suggest I take out? The implication being, of course, that taking any one or two out might ruin the song.

It sounds like you are doing a full blown card game, not cards-in-a-board game.

My advice to you is to talk to a publisher and find out what the deal will be with printing the game. If printing 700 cards costs you $20/game and printing 500 cards only costs you $10/game, then cut them down. If the difference isnt' that much, then just do what makes the game play well.
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J. Green
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golddmaster wrote:
The main assortment of cards in my game (that I'm mainly thinking of at the moment) is as follows:

- 64 Character cards
- 100 Creature cards
- 32 Wargear cards
- 32 Spell cards
- 16 Skill cards
- 32 Prospect cards
- 16 Item cards
- 8 Chaos Orb cards

Then, in gameplay, these would be the different decks:

- Level 1 Creatures (25 cards)
- Level 2 Creatures (25 cards)
- Level 3 Creatures (25 cards)
- Level 4 Creatures (25 cards)
- Prospects (48 cards: Prospect cards and Item cards)
- Spells (48 cards: Spell cards and Skill cards)

Character cards, Wargear and Chaos Orbs are then given out when needed - so no decks for those so to speak.

As you may have guessed, this game is a fantasy board game and I would want to keep the price of it, if it were to be published, at about £20-£30 RRP. The game would also include counters but the majority of the game is going to be the cards.

To summerise (at the moment), the game is likely going to consist of:

- 300 Cards (6 decks)
- 100 Card Counters (gold pieces)
- 8 Playing Pieces
- 1 Fold-out board
- and 1 Rule Book

Thanks for the help,
Miles


Okay here's a couple of ideas to help reduce the number of cards you'd need. First, many fantasy games use tiles for random monster draws or chits even; chits are small, easy to make, and you can pack a lot of stat info on a chit based on the position of the number, whether it is surrounded by a square or circle, etc. All you need is a silhouette, or even just the name of the creature. Or how about this: you have a smaller deck of creature cards, and use chits as the stat defining bits. In other words, you have one werewolf card, but depending on what level you're on you use a different color and stat chit for that werewolf.

Many games in the past have used symbols, numbers, letters and icons to refer to tables; you could have one card with tables of stats for each of the monsters at various levels, meaning you'd only need 25 monsters and one table, saving 75 cards for something else.

Another idea is to make your character sheets laminated so you can use wipe-off markers and just check off the skill and level of the skill all on one card. Have a table of all the skills with levels one through four, then a circle in each cell of the table that you color in with a marker. That's 16 more cards freed up.

If you had a single booklet that described all the possible spells, you could also just write or check off the spell once you get it on your character sheet. One booklet, no spell deck, and instead of drawing a card, you can just roll a die to find out which spell you get if it's random, or just pick whatever's available at each level.

If you add a bestiary to the spell book you could put all your cool art in the book and then just use cubes or chits to indicate what monster you're facing and save even more there.

The key to all this is simple: Printing up multiple decks of cards is expensive. Fantasy games are supposed to tap into your imagination and there are lots of ways to do that without increasing production costs. I'd much rather have a cup full of chits, a cool book with great art, and a nice board and some comprehensive character cards, than a bazillion card decks. They could get bent, lost, or marked. Keeping your component amount down will save you money, it will save on shipping, just better in general than the Fantasy Flight model of bits blitz. Not to say that's always bad, but in the past, games have used far fewer bits to achieve the same results.

The fun in a fantasy game is in the imagination and roleplay anyway. Card decks can be fun, but they're also kind of a crutch. Don't do all the work for your players. Make them share the load as well as making it cheaper for them to try out your game.
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Phil McDonald
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A house elf can never have enough cards.

Cards's is it my precious?

I love the smell of cards in the morning !

Cards? You can't handle the cards !!

I left my cards in san Francisco... there on a hill, they call to me...
 
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Andy Van Zandt
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i would say that your limit would be more based on your price point. people may say "x is too many", but this generally won't actually stop them from playing, purchasing, and enjoying the game... it's usually an arbitrary limit they make up in their head. if the game plays best with 1,000 cards, then it needs 1,000 cards. if you can only manage 500 cards to get under your preferred price point, then the game needs 500 cards
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Rob Rob
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Just my two cents but please remember to make the cards backs as contrasting as possible. Nothing worse than having to search through 300 nearly identical cards to find the one out of place card.
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Miles Ratcliffe
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Robrob wrote:
Just my two cents but please remember to make the cards backs as contrasting as possible. Nothing worse than having to search through 300 nearly identical cards to find the one out of place card.

That's true. Good thing I've already colour-coded everything in a wide variety of colours with correct labeling:

(Character Cards and Creature Cards) Level 4 cards - Red
(Character Cards and Creature Cards) Level 3 cards - Orange
(Character Cards and Creature Cards) Level 2 cards - Yellow
(Character Cards and Creature Cards) Level 1 cards - White
Light Wargear - Light brown
Heavy Wargear - Brown
Prospects cards - Green
Spell cards - Blue
Chaos Orbs - Purple

I guess I need to try and find some information about the costs involved before I have to decide whether I should cut back on the amount of cards.

Thanks everyone for your help,
Miles
 
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Steven Metzger
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You said you had eight character markers...is there a way to make this a 2-5 player game instead of a 2-8? Or are these markers in some way shared.

Lowering the player count and leaving room for expansion may make the original game more cost effective...remember, some people might not buy the expansion, but even more people won't buy it if the original is over $50.
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Miles Ratcliffe
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metzgerism wrote:
You said you had eight character markers...is there a way to make this a 2-5 player game instead of a 2-8? Or are these markers in some way shared.

Lowering the player count and leaving room for expansion may make the original game more cost effective...remember, some people might not buy the expansion, but even more people won't buy it if the original is over $50.

Yes, this is a 2-8 player game but a lot of the game is based around the maximum amount of players being 8 (especially the board). So I don't think that would realy be able to change. Surely that shouldn't affect the cost too much; then again I could be wrong. If anyone would want to enlighten me with any information regarding any production costs, that would be great!

Thanks,
Miles
 
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Miles Ratcliffe
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ced1106 wrote:
Good luck with the game!

Thanks!

ced1106 wrote:
I'll bring up another question based on Runebound: Do you have enough cards *for the most frequently used decks*?

In theory, yes. I'll know for sure after playtesting.

ced1106 wrote:
Runebound, for example, has a ton of Marketplace cards, not enough which see play. But it's pretty easy to see all of the first-level monsters after several games. Arkham Horror, meanwhile, as locations that are more often visited than others, so you end up familiar with the encounters at those locations the most.

My game has a total of 40 different creatures so you're likely to see each of them more than once with a few players. Anyway, should there really just be one of each in a fantasy world?

Miles
 
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James Hutchings
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Rolling on a random table can sometimes substitute for cards, and of course is cheaper.
 
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J. Green
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I think 40 creatures is a lot, and that includes a lot of variety I'm sure. As far as whether to have multiples, I think you could have maybe 1-3 versions of some creatures scaling up in difficulty, or perhaps having a variable number of a creature show up. Some creatures like top level predators would usually travel alone and be a handful, but others like packs of canine type creatures or goblinoid bands might have more or fewer numbers which would instantly increase the difficulty level of a challenge.

You might have players roll a d4 or d6 to determine how many of the creatures show up at once, and of that amount, how many might run away after an initial kill of one of the creatures. Some creatures might fight to the death, while most would probably turn and run after one or two are killed unless they are diseased, controlled, or enraged.
 
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James Hutchings
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You could also have several creatures that have different names and pictures, but are identical in game terms.
 
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Franklin Turner
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I suggest that you use patterns or designs rather than colors to distinguish the decks. The colors you have chosen are especially bad for the most common form of color blindness (red/green).Large simple symbols on the back added to the color would eliminate that problem. The back of the Arkham Horror small card decks are good examples - gun for common items, human cameo for allies, etc.
 
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M.J.E. Hendriks
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I have the same issue. But my game is not really easily replaced with chits - is the problem.

Most of my cards (also between 200 and 300) are actually played in front of you, and form a family tree.

100 spouses
60 children
30 illegitimate children
30-40 event cards

only the event cards can be removed as they're just about the text, but then, chits wouldn't replace that either...

i'll use less event cards for the actual game in the end, but that won't do much...

my 30-40 actions cards, however, i'm changing into an action board, where you place a "worker" - it saves on costs, even though you end up having worker placement shake
 
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