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Subject: Easy card prototyping! rss

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Steven Metzger
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I just started writing instructions for a PnP version of my latest game, how to craft it, what you need, etc. Explaining HOW I make rough prototype cards is NOT easy, so I decided to create an image of it for my PnP. This is what became of that:



I've posted my method before, but never really illustrated it. I figured it would be of use to the other budding designers out there.

Some things to know:

1) I make poker-sized cards (3.5x2.5 inch), and use letter-size paper (8.5x11 inch).
2) I use a paper cutter and standard copy paper - my cards are a piece of paper, backing (an M:tG card or colored card stock), and a penny sleeve.
3) All of my cards have at least a 1/8th inch border around them to deal with the margins on MY printer.
4) Inkscape is my primary game design software.

Hope you like it. Now go playtest!
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David Etherton
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Just in case it's unclear to other people -- the method he's describing above allows you to fit 10 cards on a page instead of 9 in the usual 3x3 arrangement. The two subimages on the right are what the first piece looks like after the first two cuts are made.

The method described cannot handle full-bleed cards, but it's a sneaky way to use the nonprintable area of the page as a border and get an extra card on the page. Its only downside is that it will not work on A4 paper without ending up with physically smaller cards.

One question I have though -- it seems like actually designing the cards would be a pain in the neck since some of them are rotated? Does inkscape support some sort of local coordinate system to hide that? Honestly I'd probably want to give up one card per page and have a 3x3 grid that's easier to understand and cut out and will work unscaled on A4 paper.

-Dave
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Craig Somerton
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Whilst I often print my own cards or use Artscow.

At a recent prototype session, it was pointed out to me that the easiest way to quickly whip-up cards was to use standard 5 x 7" photos, which can be produced in under an hour at most large variety stores, often for less than 10c per print.

You can get 2 4 cards per photo 3.5 x 2.5" each. Cut them in half, put them into sleeves and voila!

If you sue Inkscape you can generally design the cards to match the paper size perfectly.
[EDIT] Bad maths correction.
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Craig Somerton
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etherton wrote:
Wouldn't that be four cards per 5" x 7" photo?


D'oh! Yep, you're right. I wasn't thinking. Cheers.
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Matt Jourdan
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anomander64 wrote:

If you sue Inkscape...


You'ld need a good lawyer.
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David Gregg
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anomander64 wrote:
At a recent prototype session, it was pointed out to me that the easiest way to quickly whip-up cards was to use standard 5 x 7" photos, which can be produced in under an hour at most large variety stores, often for less than 10c per print.


My wife and my wallet thank you!

Edit: This may very well be how we prototype Nightfall from here on in! I'll be giving it a shot this weekend to try it out.
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Joe Mucchiello
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metzgerism wrote:

1) I make poker-sized cards (3.5x2.5 inch), and use letter-size paper (8.5x11 inch).

The flaw with this method is it requires that your printer is able to print edge-to-edge. 99% of home printers cannot do this.
 
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Cattlemark
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Inkscape is awesome and my choice for designing as well.

For superquick "ready-now" playtest decks I use Excel or LibreOffice Calc.
 
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David Etherton
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jmucchiello wrote:
metzgerism wrote:

1) I make poker-sized cards (3.5x2.5 inch), and use letter-size paper (8.5x11 inch).

The flaw with this method is it requires that your printer is able to print edge-to-edge. 99% of home printers cannot do this.


No, that's why all his cards have a white border. The border is about the same size as the unprintable region on his printer.

-Dave
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Steven Metzger
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etherton wrote:
jmucchiello wrote:
metzgerism wrote:

1) I make poker-sized cards (3.5x2.5 inch), and use letter-size paper (8.5x11 inch).

The flaw with this method is it requires that your printer is able to print edge-to-edge. 99% of home printers cannot do this.


No, that's why all his cards have a white border. The border is about the same size as the unprintable region on his printer.

-Dave
Exactly
 
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Walt
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jmucchiello wrote:
metzgerism wrote:

1) I make poker-sized cards (3.5x2.5 inch), and use letter-size paper (8.5x11 inch).

The flaw with this method is it requires that your printer is able to print edge-to-edge. 99% of home printers cannot do this.

Okay...check my math here: 3.5 x 3 = 10.5, 2.5 x 3 = 7.5.

7.5 is easy. 10.5 might need some blank space for some printers.
___

Since card sleeves are used, print-to-fit would be viable.

Another alternative, needed for some printers, would be to crop off the blank margins and then print 1:1. Some printers will object to printing even nothing off the printable page.
___

These cards are pretty ink-friendly. (Good job!) If you're printing something with black backgrounds or close, discount photo printers, like Costco, might be cheaper than the ink for your printer--certainly cheaper than buying a photo-quality printer.
 
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David Etherton
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Tall_Walt wrote:

Okay...check my math here: 3.5 x 3 = 10.5, 2.5 x 3 = 7.5.

7.5 is easy. 10.5 might need some blank space for some printers.


Walt, what you're describing is the "standard" 3x3 9-cards-per-page method which also works without scaling on A4. Steven is describing a method by which you can fit 10 cards on a page as long as your unprintable region is no larger than the common (clear) border on all your cards.

-Dave
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Walt
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etherton wrote:
Walt, what you're describing is the "standard" 3x3 9-cards-per-page method which also works without scaling on A4. Steven is describing a method by which you can fit 10 cards on a page as long as your unprintable region is no larger than the common (clear) border on all your cards.

You're right. Edge to edge, it's 8.5". That's possible for many printers, though not all.

I think I agree that 3x3 is preferable, despite some inefficiency. Paper is cheap; ink and time are expensive. Also, if you have a good paper cutter, it will deal better with regular arrays.

If the plan is to use sleeves anyway, I might go 3x4 or 4x4. Hmm....

___

How about legal, 8.5 x 14? Commonly available in the US.

___

Maybe ideally, you'd design for 8 (~20 cm) x whatever, and let the user paginate as he wishes.


(Dave: El Toro some Saturday? Click!)
 
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Steven Metzger
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Tall_Walt wrote:
etherton wrote:
Walt, what you're describing is the "standard" 3x3 9-cards-per-page method which also works without scaling on A4. Steven is describing a method by which you can fit 10 cards on a page as long as your unprintable region is no larger than the common (clear) border on all your cards.

You're right. Edge to edge, it's 8.5". That's possible for many printers, though not all.

I think I agree that 3x3 is preferable, despite some inefficiency. Paper is cheap; ink and time are expensive. Also, if you have a good paper cutter, it will deal better with regular arrays.

If the plan is to use sleeves anyway, I might go 3x4 or 4x4. Hmm....

___

How about legal, 8.5 x 14? Commonly available in the US.

___

Maybe ideally, you'd design for 8 (~20 cm) x whatever, and let the user paginate as he wishes.


(Dave: El Toro some Saturday? Click!)
A key point of this method was having 9 cuts give you 60 some-odd cards, saving a little bit of paper, and using the exactness of the paper itself as a benefit.

My previous printer had a horrific bottom margin of over 1/2 inch, and quarter inches on every other side. You'll notice that if you make every card have 1/4 inch margins, that's not a problem because the big margin goes on the bottom, where the wasted paper ends up.

---

Legal sized paper is actually what I generally use because I got a lot of it for free. 13 cards per sheet and only wasting a 5.25 square inches of paper.
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Walt
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Well, of course, one advantage of 4x4, if print registration is exact, is needing only four cuts if you can stack accurately:

Cut 2 Cut 1 Cut 2
| | |
| | |
Card #1 | Card #2 | Card #3 | Card #4
| | |
| | |
_______________________________________ Cut 4
| | |
| | |
Card #5 | Card #6 | Card #7 | Card #8
| | |
| | |
_______________________________________ Cut 3
| | |
| | |
Card #9 | Card#10 | Card#11 | Card#12
| | |
| | |
_______________________________________ Cut 4
| | |
| | |
Card#13 | Card#14 | Card#15 | Card#16
| | |
| | |
Cut 2 Cut 1 Cut 2
 
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Steven Metzger
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Tall_Walt wrote:
Well, of course, one advantage of 4x4, if print registration is exact, is needing only four cuts if you can stack accurately:

Cut 2 Cut 1 Cut 2
| | |
| | |
Card #1 | Card #2 | Card #3 | Card #4
| | |
| | |
_______________________________________ Cut 4
| | |
| | |
Card #5 | Card #6 | Card #7 | Card #8
| | |
| | |
_______________________________________ Cut 3
| | |
| | |
Card #9 | Card#10 | Card#11 | Card#12
| | |
| | |
_______________________________________ Cut 4
| | |
| | |
Card#13 | Card#14 | Card#15 | Card#16
| | |
| | |
Cut 2 Cut 1 Cut 2
Yes, but 2.125x2.75 inches is hardly a uniform size.
 
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Sturv Tafvherd
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Thanks for that 10-cards-in-a-page idea!
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Steven Metzger
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Stormtower wrote:
Thanks for that 10-cards-in-a-page idea!
YOU'RE WELCOME!
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