Asher Stuhlman
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I'm looking for a piece of software that'll let me quickly make a card design with fields that can be filled with text or images, and fill those fields quickly using data from either a spreadsheet or a text file, in a way that lets me print the cards (preferably onto perforated cardstock, but I can handle a bit of cutting if everything else works.) I'm sure software must exist that can handle this, but I'm not sure what it is. What do y'all use?
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Nate K
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Nandeck can do all that and more. Although I haven't used it much, myself; the interface in the version I downloaded was a little too obtuse for me to learn quickly enough to get the game done in time.
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Andrew Tullsen
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I use nandeck for making my cards.
The scripting language will take some getting used to, but the Nandeck guild forums are really helpful and so is the manual/reference pdf.

www.nand.it/nandeck/
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Mike Arlington

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I would also like to recommend nanDECK. It's a fantastic piece of software, despite the somewhat steep learning curve.

Not only are the forums helpful, as Andrew mentioned, but Andrea, the creator of the software, is very active and helpful as well. There was a feature I was disappointed to not find when I started learning it (PNG transparency support), and Andrea had it in a build within a week. That is better support than you would get from software you had paid for.
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Adam Kazimierczak
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I used Quickcards3 from plaincards.com. You have to register to get it to print, but it's not ridiculously expensive. It's super easy to make text boxes and then copy the card to fill them in over and over.

The only problem is that it's really too limited for a final "good" copy of the cards (the templates are not that customizable).
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Robert Seater
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_LSK_ wrote:
I'm looking for a piece of software that'll let me quickly make a card design with fields that can be filled with text or images, and fill those fields quickly using data from either a spreadsheet or a text file, in a way that lets me print the cards (preferably onto perforated cardstock, but I can handle a bit of cutting if everything else works.) I'm sure software must exist that can handle this, but I'm not sure what it is. What do y'all use?

I'm embarrassed to say that I've taken to using Powerpoint. It's crude, but runs on most machines these days (so easy to print on another machine), is completely wysiwyg (so no alignment surprises), handles graphics fine, and is adequate for quickly putting together prototype cards.

I use to use InDesign, but it was just too heavyweight for rapid prototyping.
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Derek H
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rseater wrote:
_LSK_ wrote:
I'm looking for a piece of software that'll let me quickly make a card design with fields that can be filled with text or images, and fill those fields quickly using data from either a spreadsheet or a text file, in a way that lets me print the cards (preferably onto perforated cardstock, but I can handle a bit of cutting if everything else works.) I'm sure software must exist that can handle this, but I'm not sure what it is. What do y'all use?

I'm embarrassed to say that I've taken to using Powerpoint. It's crude, but runs on most machines these days (so easy to print on another machine), is completely wysiwyg (so no alignment surprises), handles graphics fine, and is adequate for quickly putting together prototype cards,

I find presentation packages way too fiddly for making rapid or complex changes to a large number of cards. nanDeck allows you to "start simple" and then evolve the design to something more sophistictaed. For example, I was able to use it to create a set of variant cards for RoboRally that mimicked the original card design fairly closely.
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Andrew Tullsen
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gamesbook wrote:
rseater wrote:
_LSK_ wrote:
I'm looking for a piece of software that'll let me quickly make a card design with fields that can be filled with text or images, and fill those fields quickly using data from either a spreadsheet or a text file, in a way that lets me print the cards (preferably onto perforated cardstock, but I can handle a bit of cutting if everything else works.) I'm sure software must exist that can handle this, but I'm not sure what it is. What do y'all use?

I'm embarrassed to say that I've taken to using Powerpoint. It's crude, but runs on most machines these days (so easy to print on another machine), is completely wysiwyg (so no alignment surprises), handles graphics fine, and is adequate for quickly putting together prototype cards,

I find presentation packages way too fiddly for making rapid or complex changes to a large number of cards. nanDeck allows you to "start simple" and then evolve the design to something more sophistictaed. For example, I was able to use it to create a set of variant cards for RoboRally that mimicked the original card design fairly closely.


Yes, exactly. I am constantly changing cards and I simply edit my csv file and then send that through again, very easy to update stuff. But yes, setting it up the first time does take quite a bit of time.
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CW Karstens
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rseater wrote:

I'm embarrassed to say that I've taken to using Powerpoint. It's crude, but runs on most machines these days (so easy to print on another machine), is completely wysiwyg (so no alignment surprises), handles graphics fine, and is adequate for quickly putting together prototype cards.


I created all my games in powerpoint during 2008 to 2010. It was awesome. The fastest progress I made on my games. Mystic Cauldron, Field Hospital (other than the new box art done in GIMP) and Wanna Go Drinking are all done in Powerpoint.

Since moving to GIMP, I switched to using Excel for rapid prototypes. If I need an icon, I create it in GIMP and then put it in its own cell. Excel can create some cool customizable card layouts if you know Excel well.
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Nate K
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rseater wrote:
_LSK_ wrote:
I'm looking for a piece of software that'll let me quickly make a card design with fields that can be filled with text or images, and fill those fields quickly using data from either a spreadsheet or a text file, in a way that lets me print the cards (preferably onto perforated cardstock, but I can handle a bit of cutting if everything else works.) I'm sure software must exist that can handle this, but I'm not sure what it is. What do y'all use?

I'm embarrassed to say that I've taken to using Powerpoint. It's crude, but runs on most machines these days (so easy to print on another machine), is completely wysiwyg (so no alignment surprises), handles graphics fine, and is adequate for quickly putting together prototype cards.



Powerpoint is what I currenlty use, as well. I keep telling myself that I need to sit down and learn NanDeck, but I haven't, yet.
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Hedyn Brand
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A somewhat professional option:
Strange Eons is a somewhat (understatement?) complicated tool which was originally made for custom design of Arkham Horror components. It has extensions for more games, and you *can* extend it yourself. But it's got a learning curve like racing in roadless mountains ;)

The digital DIY way:
Setting up a typical image editing program with some templates should get you most of what you need for basic editing, though. Just learn how it treats the DPI settings (if at all). Most people who come to The Game Crafter's chat or forums with design trouble usually stumbled on that.

As long as the tools you choose can do flowing text in boxes you should be fine. Making different types of cards can be done via layers. Design a single layer for each type's symbols and hide the other layers. Title, symbol, flavour, rules layers would be typical for some card games, for example.

Suggested tools: Photoshop Express, The GIMP are fine on Windows, at zero or low budget. Acorn+Art Text 2 are in my arsenal on Mac.

The really quick and dirty DIY way:
Big pack of blank business cards, pencil, maybe a potato and some ink for a custom card back, eraser, ruler. Bonus if the ruler also does symbol/letter stencils.

Cut outlines of custom symbols in other cards to make nice templates which also cover the cards exactly. Total cost depends on the number of cards and how long the potato keeps.
 
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Terren C
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printPrototypecard();

...nerd joke.

I usually just use an image editing software and make a 2.5" x 3.5" canvas and fill as desired.
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Ben Pinchback
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Our initial set of Fleet prototypes, including the one we sent to Gryphon, were all text no graphics. I laid them out in Excel. Quick and dirty did the trick.
Lately we've been using Word label templates to print right to labels to slap on playing cards.
 
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Andrea Nand
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Modena
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_LSK_ wrote:
I'm looking for a piece of software that'll let me quickly make a card design with fields that can be filled with text or images, and fill those fields quickly using data from either a spreadsheet or a text file, in a way that lets me print the cards (preferably onto perforated cardstock, but I can handle a bit of cutting if everything else works.) I'm sure software must exist that can handle this, but I'm not sure what it is. What do y'all use?

This is an example with nanDECK. Let's say you have an Excel file with some data (named data.xls):



This is a simple script that takes that data (and relative images) and creates a card for every line:

link=data.xls
[all]="1-{(title)}"

font=arial,24,B,#000000
text=[all],[title],0,0,100%,10%

rectangle=[all],0,10%,100%,40%,#000000
image=[all],[image],0,10%,100%,40%,0,P

font=arial,10,,#000000
text=[all],[text],5%,55%,90%,40%,left,wwtop


This is the result:

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Robert Beachler
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Woodburn
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I'd just use Photoshop and InDesign and either create a template or download one already out there.
 
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