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Subject: How do you prototype a card game with deck building or ccg elements? rss

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john m
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I am sure I will get laughed at, but aside from a deck of cards or paper and pencil on blank cut outs, I thought about using ccg maker. What do real gamemakers use to create card games with? Assume the card game is a deck builder, or something where there's writing on the card like a ccg.

Also, I'm not hung up on the ccg, deck building part. It's just that style, and I don't know what else to call it. Whatever you call a card game where you have a card, it has art, it's got icons or writing on it telling you what to do.

Thanks.
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Rod Waibel
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Are you asking how to do initial prototypes?

When I first had the idea of Compact Heroes running around in my head, I got a bunch of plain white business cards and printed them directly from my printer. I used Photoshop to do the layout of the cards.

After revisions, feedbacks, etc, the next step was to have a few "official" prototypes built. For this I used a POD printer. You get a lot closer to what a finished retail product would look like. Then from there with additional revisions (like changing how the package presentation would work), I went to an overseas printer for the large print run and packaging.

Is that the sort of thing you're asking for?
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Sam Phillips Beckerman
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even cheaper, faster, easier way to do first draft:
use USED business cards, the writing is just the design on card back!
write on blank side with a pencil or marker.
freedom to throw out ones that aren't working or are upgraded as you solo playtest.

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Rod Waibel
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Sam Houston wrote:
even cheaper, faster, easier way to do first draft:
use USED business cards, the writing is just the design on card back!
write on blank side with a pencil or marker.
freedom to throw out ones that aren't working or are upgraded as you solo playtest.



^this.
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Josh Malbon
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Plain old index cards work as well.

With certain printers you can also print on thin card stock and trim them out. This is handy for trying different sizes and what not to get the right feel and so forth.
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Tommy Occhipinti
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I put the cards into a CSV file and my partner writes a script to convert it into a nandeck file which compiles to a nice PDF I can print out.

We print them on low quality paper, back them with old Magic cards, and sleeve them. This allows them to be shuffled normally (which I just can't do with index cards).
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David Sevier
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I just used your basic index cards and got my friends to help me replicate the cards X times. They work pretty well and didn't require much money at all, just a bit of time and effort.
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john m
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Sacrosanct wrote:
Are you asking how to do initial prototypes?

When I first had the idea of Compact Heroes running around in my head, I got a bunch of plain white business cards and printed them directly from my printer. I used Photoshop to do the layout of the cards.

After revisions, feedbacks, etc, the next step was to have a few "official" prototypes built. For this I used a POD printer. You get a lot closer to what a finished retail product would look like. Then from there with additional revisions (like changing how the package presentation would work), I went to an overseas printer for the large print run and packaging.

Is that the sort of thing you're asking for?


Yes. Thank you.
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john m
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delirimouse wrote:
I put the cards into a CSV file and my partner writes a script to convert it into a nandeck file which compiles to a nice PDF I can print out.

We print them on low quality paper, back them with old Magic cards, and sleeve them. This allows them to be shuffled normally (which I just can't do with index cards).


Hey, thanks. I've never heard of nandeck. I looked it up. Looks great.
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Walt
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Print on whatever, and slip them into card sleeves.
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Nicholas Vitek
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In the end, CCG or LCG doesnt matter. It is just a card game, it should be tested regardless of the distribution model. In the end, rares, uncommons, etc doesn't matter. Just costs and use of each card.

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Scott Nelson
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If you are short of cards or sleeves to do the M:TG backing way. I make them into a pdf, go to the local officemax and print them on a card stock w/gloss. Only one side is gloss, but it is good enough to shuffle and fan out during play. It costs about 50 cents a sheet, but if you want a real feel without the sleeves, it works. I have also went to euro-sized cards, so I can get about 20 per page instead of the normal 8-9.
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Scott Josephus
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johnnyLikesGames wrote:
I am sure I will get laughed at, but aside from a deck of cards or paper and pencil on blank cut outs, I thought about using ccg maker. What do real gamemakers use to create card games with? Assume the card game is a deck builder, or something where there's writing on the card like a ccg.

Also, I'm not hung up on the ccg, deck building part. It's just that style, and I don't know what else to call it. Whatever you call a card game where you have a card, it has art, it's got icons or writing on it telling you what to do.

Thanks.


The alpha Protype of the CCG Jyhad/Vampire: The Eternal Struggle was done on Card stock without illustrations. It made it very hard for the playtesters to remember what was in play; the Beta Playtest version was illustrated with random clip art, which although not contributing to the theme of the game, did allow players to remember what had been playe and was in play. If you can find The Eternal Struggle: A Player's guide to the Jyhad, there is a few page article from Ricahrd Garfield in it tlaking about the playtesting a bit in it.

There's a couple of copies on ebay right now going for about $8-10, but I don't know if you want to dish out that much money plus shipping for the article, though.
 
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The Joker
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For the first few tests, me and some of my game design colleagues simply used dominion cards. Everybody had a list (DIN A5), what cards represent. You could just look up the effects of a card you played/have in hand.

This is the easiest (least work and cheapest) way to test your first draft of the game design / structure / architectue or how you name it.
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David Boeren
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The Dominion idea is interesting, but I really like having the cards say what they are instead of having to refer to a list.

I'd go with cutting up some cardstock or something like that. Cardstock isn't that expensive, nor is a cutter. Spend an evening cutting them into blanks and you should have a good supply so that when you want to try a new card you just reach over and grab some more blanks from the pile.
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David Sharrock
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I'm currently using Magic Set Editor: http://magicseteditor.sourceforge.net/

It only has a few archetypes, but they're easy to set-up and it does the simple thing of Title, Picture, Text well enough. I've then printed out onto normal A4, cut them up and then Prittstick'ed them onto a load of old CCG trash that I've had horded away.

Once put into CCG sleeves, they're perfectly usable.

(something like this:
)
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The Joker
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I also like having cards in my hand, which are good shuffling, illustrated and stuff … but when then design doesn't work, i have to redesign all cards, because they need an extra stat, throw half of them away because they didn't work out as expected or are too strong .
When the rough game concept/structure is fine … then i start to illustrate & print them. (Happens way too often that i design them too early and that saved at least 2 evenings of designing & cutting.)

It worked quite well, when I played with forgiving (game design) friends & because we hadn't too many different cards per race. i think it was 20 and you get used to it soon, when the illustration or title fits well.
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David Sharrock
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One thing that I forgot. Another advantage of having cards in sleeves is that you can use mini-postit's to modify the text on the cards temporarily without having to do a full reprint. Useful when experimenting
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Dallas Tucker
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nanDECK = amazing. It takes a little bit to learn how to use it, but it is pretty simple for just creating cards for prototyping. It is great because you can put all of your card data in an excel file and make any changes there, then just run it through nanDECK again and reprint your updated cards.
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Filip W.
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delirimouse wrote:
I put the cards into a CSV file and my partner writes a script to convert it into a nandeck file which compiles to a nice PDF I can print out.

We print them on low quality paper, back them with old Magic cards, and sleeve them. This allows them to be shuffled normally (which I just can't do with index cards).


This, except I don't have a computer savvy partner so I've got to do the scripting myself

I also got a "standard" prototype deck with numbered series that I use for the alpha tests. That way I don't have to do anything other than sort the cards and start playing.
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Dallas Tucker
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filwi wrote:
delirimouse wrote:
I put the cards into a CSV file and my partner writes a script to convert it into a nandeck file which compiles to a nice PDF I can print out.

We print them on low quality paper, back them with old Magic cards, and sleeve them. This allows them to be shuffled normally (which I just can't do with index cards).


This, except I don't have a computer savvy partner so I've got to do the scripting myself

I also got a "standard" prototype deck with numbered series that I use for the alpha tests. That way I don't have to do anything other than sort the cards and start playing.


After muddling through my first script, I just copy/paste and modify a few things here and there to make the next game, which sounds like what you have done. It saves a ton of time. The up front of learning scripting takes some time, but it is pretty simple and worth it after the first game.
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Pas L
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If anyone is lucky enough to have Adobe InDesign you can do something similar by making card templates and then using DataMerge with your CSV files.
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Matt Loomis
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I just use Excel. One worksheet has the master data, then another worksheet has the card templates. Just link the template cells to the data sheet and voila. It might take a bit more time setting up, but I didn't have to learn anything I didn't already know, and it's very flexible in changing the design.

I also know I've said this before, but i'll repeat it here, since I'm printing everything in black ink, if I've got a game that has different card types or factions, I'll print them on different colored paper to make recognition go faster. I'll also have some sort of art on my cards, just like in the previous Jyhad example. It makes playtesting much, much smoother.
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Tommy Occhipinti
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That sounds a lot like what I do. The latest development in our system is that we have set it up so that things can read in from a text file instead of from a CSV file, which makes things much easier. Here is a sample input:

[CW01]
name = Mini Warlock
cost = 1-2
type = Creature
special = combat
stats = 2/5
text = When this comes into play, $Reanimate (2)$.
copies = 3

The $'s around the phrase Reanimate (2) indicate that it is a special word, and so when the card is generated, it will automatically include reminder text of what that ability does. I'll try to remember to post a sample of what the card itself looks like later.
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john m
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delirimouse wrote:
That sounds a lot like what I do. The latest development in our system is that we have set it up so that things can read in from a text file instead of from a CSV file, which makes things much easier. Here is a sample input:

[CW01]
name = Mini Warlock
cost = 1-2
type = Creature
special = combat
stats = 2/5
text = When this comes into play, $Reanimate (2)$.
copies = 3

The $'s around the phrase Reanimate (2) indicate that it is a special word, and so when the card is generated, it will automatically include reminder text of what that ability does. I'll try to remember to post a sample of what the card itself looks like later.


So is your game going to market, I mean being published? yes, I just hijacked my thread but I was curious.
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