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Subject: Card Examples Help rss

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John Armstrong
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Hello all,

I've been working on a basketball card game for a while now.
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/7796686#7796686
I have a friend who does graphic design. But mostly signs, menus, etc..
however nothing game related.
I'd like to show him some examples of good card design. Preferably
ones that have a lot of info on them. As you can imagine a sports
related game has a lot of variables.

Any good examples of card design with lots of info displayed?

Thanks for any ideas.

DN

 
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Joe McDaid
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Warmachine cards generally contain quite a bit of numeral information.

 
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Arthur O'Dwyer
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Check out the cards in Innovation: Echoes of the Past. Or of course Race for the Galaxy.

FWIW, I think those Warmachine cards are uuuuggly. Lots of flavor-art, and lots of rows of boring numbers, but not much design sense. shake

Just read through the other thread, where you describe your game a little bit and show your current card design. As you said over there, you need to polish up your rules to the point that the game is playable, and only then start seriously worrying about the graphics. At the same time, it is an organic process; as you work on the rules, you'll want to be thinking, "Hang on, could I combine Dexterity and Initiative into one stat?" and so on. Hopefully you'll come out of it with a nice ruleset and a slightly simpler set of information to squeeze onto your cards.

Once you have the rules posted (or just host them somewhere else and post a link to them on this forum), I'd be happy to read them and do you a crappy card template in Inkscape for free.
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AJ Quinn
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Have you considered modeling the cards off of basketball trading cards? To be honest I haven't looked at trading cards in a while, but as I recall they typically had stats and information laid out on the back with an image on the front. You'll likely be using a lot of the same information so it is a great place to start and it will fit with the genre.
 
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Joe McDaid
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I'm not sure what you mean by 'design sense.' They are layed out to have the maximum amount of room they may ever need. Just because not every card needs every pixel to contain information, doesn't mean they shouldn't have left themselves room for the possibility of having a model with 5 weapons and a damage grid. And when a card doesn't have a lot of information, they need the art to make sure it's not just a boring void of space.

Plus it's a reference card, for marking damage, not something held in a hand or drawn from a deck.

You really have to define what you mean by 'Design sense' as an argument, because to me it makes perfect sense why they've done them as they have.
 
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AJ Quinn
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Not that I know what was meant by 'design sense,' but I imagine it will end up being an opinion, and that is all anyone can really offer. I was in a thread a while back about border preference on cards and three posters in succession typed (different words, but this was the sentiment):

"Anything but white borders!"
"Always white borders!"
"I hate borders, print to the edge!"

I think they all got up-votes. The lesson is that you will never appease everyone, so design them in a way that doesn't interfere with what the cards have to do as a tool and then try to support the theme.

My $0.02
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Arthur O'Dwyer
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Jice wrote:
You really have to define what you mean by 'Design sense' as an argument, because to me it makes perfect sense why they've done them as they have.


"Lots of flavor-art, and lots of rows of boring numbers" summarizes two of my objections. Re the art, see the blog post that image is from: http://www.dankelzahn.com/blog/2010/09/06/mkii-hordes-cards%...

Blog wrote:
Where the Warmachine card backgrounds (top row) are gear-filled and busy, the Hordes cards (bottom row) have more organic and subtle designs without light-effects. They encourage the eye to look past them instead of jarring the eye to stare at them like the Warmachine cards do. The cards just feel less busy overall, and as a result also feel more spacious and less cluttered.


The bottom-row cards aren't good, though; they're just better than the top row. I don't play the game, so I don't know what the deal is with that spiral — but it conveys the same information on both example cards, so perhaps it's redundant. (But then, both cards also have the same numbers for "Fury" and "Threshold", which presumably aren't redundant, so maybe the spiral serves a purpose too.)

Here's a bigger version of the card: http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii7/stormcaller3801/Warpw...

To alleviate the "boring rows of numbers", the designer could have made use of color and/or position to convey information. For example, instead of the current approach where "eight black digits creep in one dull line", while that zodiac-looking ring around the monster's portrait goes unused, the designer could have placed those stats in the ring... and given each of them a mnemonic color. Red for attack, green or blue for healing, whatever.

Some of it is tangled up with game design, though. For example, if your cards are getting too digit-heavy, you might try representing numbers graphically: instead of 3-4-5-6, use triangle-square-pentagon-hexagon, or red-orange-yellow-green, or rows of mnemonic icons. (Thus, "ATK+2 DEF+3" becomes "⚔⚔ ♖♖♖"). But the Warpwolf Stalker has a "DEF" of 14 and an "ARM" of 17 — we can't easily turn those astronomical numbers into anything friendlier! So the DEF and ARM stats are fundamentally resistant to graphical representation; they want to be represented as boring numbers.
 
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Joe McDaid
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So, you have no idea how the numbers work within the game, but you feel ok making judgement about how they should be displayed? Right. See if you knew about the game you'd know that some units have two stat lines for different models in the unit on the same card, which means your idea for where the stats would go wouldn't work at all. You'd also know that Def and Arm are target numbers, thing you usually have to roll past on 3 or 4 D6's. Considering you can roll 24 on 4D6, it kinda makes sense that they are large.

By the nature of your second sugestion of displaying things graphically is even worse. '4' takes up the same amount of room in a picture as '9', but !!!!!!!!! is much more room hungry than !!!!. Plus, having to count up shapes, annoys people when they have to do it often, and no matter how fancy of a designer you are, annoying people who are trying to play a game is just a bad idea.

Eye's are drawn to the number you need, I'm not so ADD that when I need to look for a model RAT I find myself looking at the Gears and forgeting the game in progress, I find the number I need, knowing exactly where it will be located and then get on with the game. And I'm certainly not framing the cards for the intrensic value of it's place in art history beside Michelagelo.
 
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Steven Metzger
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Jice wrote:
So, you have no idea how the numbers work within the game, but you feel ok making judgement about how they should be displayed?
I hereby scoff at your judgment that the card in question somehow belongs to a "game."

Games don't have cards like that. Consumer drivel does.

EDIT: Yes! It's 3:30 am and I feel like being a jerk euro-gamer
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John Armstrong
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Thanks for the replies guys (and entertainment whistle).
That is a good example from a game I've never looked at.
Arthur will take you up on offer to look over rules.
I have a big assignment I'm working on til April 5th, after
that I'll have time to organize (hopefully) the rules into
a coherent format.

If anyone has more examples I's love to see them.

DN

 
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