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Subject: Rainbow Deck - a Cardgame System rss

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Chen Changcai
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I am hoping to get some artistic and graphical feedback on the Rainbow Deck in this forum.

Do you have any comments on the current design, or any suggestions to improve the design to make it more attractive while keeping the essential elements? I hope to hear from you to gather some ideas for the next version in a few years time. Thanks!

 
 
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Oliver Kiley
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At the risk of making the colors less distinct - it would be worth seeing if there was a way to make the color shifts more literal in following the rainbow spectrum?

And also adjusting the colors into CYMK color space (they are currently RGB) is actually a visual improvement (I tested it) as the bright green / cyan colors in particular are less vibrant and more in line with the other cards. As a composition, it looks better and might generate more interest. See below.



I find the rainbow system pretty interesting from a design perspective - but I can't help the feeling that I would, in actuality, have a really hard time using these cards for anything other than testing a design idea. There are so many number/rank/letter systems layered onto the cards that they all compete for attention. There is very little heirarchy in the visual design. Granted - I think this is intentional on your part to let it do all these different things. So you have quite a challenge if you want to keep it all.

Some misc suggestions to improve this:

- Are there components/systems you can eliminate (the dice?) - why all these extra numbers? Is there a purpose or use for these? Rather than trying to create the full 0-119 range by having to combine two different numbers, just make a smaller spot to write in 0-119, it would give more heirarchy to the cards.

- Can you design the cards to work regardless of orientation?

- The suit icons are too small and should be replicated larger somehow in the main frame of the card, possibly as a shape behind the large letters instead of the current simple box.

I don't know - I was more interested in the much older versions of the concept where you used the zodiac signs as a basis for the suits - but that's also redundant with the coloring, which is I believe why you moved away from it - but I'd be curious to see what else could be done with it.



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A little comment that I don't know if it was taken into account: Remember color differences alone might drive away colorblind geeks
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Chen Changcai
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Mezmorki wrote:
At the risk of making the colors less distinct - it would be worth seeing if there was a way to make the color shifts more literal in following the rainbow spectrum?

And also adjusting the colors into CYMK color space (they are currently RGB) is actually a visual improvement (I tested it) as the bright green / cyan colors in particular are less vibrant and more in line with the other cards. As a composition, it looks better and might generate more interest. See below.



Thanks for pointing this out, this is something that I am not very familiar with. But on the cards that I printed out, they look more like the image you posted rather than mine. I will see if there is a way to select CYMK colour in the Nandeck program that I used to generate these cards.

Mezmorki wrote:

I find the rainbow system pretty interesting from a design perspective - but I can't help the feeling that I would, in actuality, have a really hard time using these cards for anything other than testing a design idea. There are so many number/rank/letter systems layered onto the cards that they all compete for attention. There is very little heirarchy in the visual design. Granted - I think this is intentional on your part to let it do all these different things. So you have quite a challenge if you want to keep it all.

I agree it can look overwhelming to someone new to the RD. But I have used it a couple of times with my casual game friends, and they are getting used to it. It's easy to focus on the elements once they are told what to focus on from the start. There could be people who might still have difficulties with this, and for them probably RD is not a suitable system.

Mezmorki wrote:


Some misc suggestions to improve this:

- Are there components/systems you can eliminate (the dice?) - why all these extra numbers? Is there a purpose or use for these? Rather than trying to create the full 0-119 range by having to combine two different numbers, just make a smaller spot to write in 0-119, it would give more heirarchy to the cards.

The numbers 0-119 are quite important as one objective is to allow sequence of numbers to be used, such as Racko. If the numbers are put in a smaller spot, it will be difficult to see.

Mezmorki wrote:


- Can you design the cards to work regardless of orientation?

Yes, but it will involve sacrificing the letters at the bottom right and replacing them with numbers. It was decided that the letters are kept to provide greater flexibility.

Mezmorki wrote:


- The suit icons are too small and should be replicated larger somehow in the main frame of the card, possibly as a shape behind the large letters instead of the current simple box.

I do agree that the suit icons are rather small. But I do not any suitable space to place a large one at the card center where it is already quite cluttered. Placing the shape behind the letters might make the letters more difficult to see. One possibilty that I can think of is to use the suit shape as the background for the white number in the card center instead of the current rectangle shape. This is something I will explore.

Mezmorki wrote:


I don't know - I was more interested in the much older versions of the concept where you used the zodiac signs as a basis for the suits - but that's also redundant with the coloring, which is I believe why you moved away from it - but I'd be curious to see what else could be done with it.




Yes, the zodiac signs are removed because they are redundant and add clutter to the design. One thing that I can do is to use the symbols as a texture on the colour bars. But I want to point out that the colours are all associated with a suit number (white) at the top left corner. So colourblind players should have no problems with the cards.
 
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Chen Changcai
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My hands got itchy and I played around with the layout. The first layout is the preferred one. Comments on the new layout are much appreciated!

v2.1 Added Tarot Major Arcana, white letter fonts

v2.1 dice with border

v2.1 dice without border

v2.0
 
 
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I'm a fan of 2.1 personally.

Very clean and leaves the center open for possibly creatively detailed icons representing the card. It's nice to have the larger symbols/numbers/letters in the center, but I think iconic artwork, if you're able to create it to match the style of the cards (i.e. clean line vector art), it would look very cool. I want to play with your cards as it is even though I have no idea what games you have in store for them.
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Chen Changcai
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hseiken wrote:
I'm a fan of 2.1 personally. :)

Very clean and leaves the center open for possibly creatively detailed icons representing the card. It's nice to have the larger symbols/numbers/letters in the center, but I think iconic artwork, if you're able to create it to match the style of the cards (i.e. clean line vector art), it would look very cool. I want to play with your cards as it is even though I have no idea what games you have in store for them. :D

Below are some commercial games that the RD can be mapped to play.

http://boardgamegeek.com/file/download/8lvg4l1owf/RD_mapped_...

There are also 3 games designed for the RD. The rules can be found under the Free Downloads section at the TGC website.

https://www.thegamecrafter.com/games/rainbow-deck

I have decided to change the letters at the corner back to the v2.0 format. The letters are much more visible without the background.

One idea that I have is to include art or images at the center that is unique for each card. The style of the art should be similar to that of the Dixit. Though I have not played Dixit, I think it is quite cool that we can play a game of Dixit with the RD. Of course, the art would have to be in public domain. I tried to search for card games that requiring only an image to play. Other than Dixit and Faces, I could not find any other games.

Below is an example with a Dixit image.


I am also thinking of change the card back to a 2x2 grid. This makes it compatible with some Piecepack games. In fact, if we mark the coloured mini casino chips on 1 side with values, the RD would be even more compatible with the Piecepack (though there are still differences in the chips).







 
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Chen Changcai
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Below is the RD evolution so far. V2.1 approaches the layout simplicity of v1.12 but has more functions. V2.1 is not finalized yet though.

Comments?

 
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dennis bennett
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wow!
i really like the idea behind this!
i'm working on something similar but more simple (9 suits, 18 ranks from 0 to 10, then J,Q,K, F (fool), W(wizard), S(sorceres), H(hero) and somewhere in between (probably the 7) as a legendary creature.

i've chose 9 different symbols for the suits:
 


the order of the colors could be relevant, possibly with a reminder of hirarchie on the back of the cards (basically the illustration on the back showing which order they are supposed to be in).

I love the idea of using the simplified zodiac-symbols as pips. not too sure how much i like the idea of having different shades of colors to distinguish suits. might be confusing. same thing for all the other information contained (dice, letters, especially with the information not being mirrored). how exactly are players supposed to sort the cards in their hand?

example card from the system i'm working on:
 
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Chen Changcai
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The suits are also numbered. For example, the red suit is 0 and the pink suit is 1. So this should reduce the confusion. This mapping will translate to 12 suits by 13 ranks. But, we can also treat the heart symbol as a suit. In this case, the deck becomes 6 suits by 26 ranks.

How the players sort the cards will depend on what information is being used during the game. Note that the suit and value numbers can be viewed as a 2 digit number going from 00 to 99 and beyond. The dice are there for more low valued cards, for games that require multiple copies for the same suit. As for the non-mirroring, it is a trade-off as I want to include letters but do not want too much clutter.

It is a long thread, but you might want to look at this for how the RD evolves over the years.
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/453565/rainbow-deck-a-ca...

I really like the artwork and symbols on your cards. Are they done by you or obtained from elsewhere? Any suggestions on how to enhance the looks of RD v2.1?
 
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dennis bennett
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ccube78 wrote:
The suits are also numbered. For example, the red suit is 0 and the pink suit is 1. So this should reduce the confusion. This mapping will translate to 12 suits by 13 ranks. But, we can also treat the heart symbol as a suit. In this case, the deck becomes 6 suits by 26 ranks.


okay, i think i get that, but it does seem a bit redundant/confusing/unfocused. Why not go for a clearer and simpler way of organizing? if red is 0 and pink is 1 and so on, shouldn't there be a more logical connecton between the colors (like organized according to the spectrum: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple). since you've got so much going on in the cards it might be a wise decision design-wise to streamline this a bit more.

i also think i might prefer the version where the top left number is the rank, not the color-number, with the suit/symbol below. having 2 numbers there just seems a bit too much and redundant since the color-number is also in the center of the card. But thats probably a design-choice thats been discussed elsewhere. yeah, its a long thread about the evolution of the rainbow deck.

the artwork on my cards is all original work by myself.

just checked out the color scheme you're using:


 


and my version:
 

i've gone from red, orange, yellow, light green/lime, dark green, turquoise, light blue, dark blue, purple, magenta, pink and crimson/dark red.
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Chen Changcai
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The colours are arranged in pairs, with a dark and light colour in each main colour. The 6 main colours are red, orange, green, blue, purple and black. The deluxe version of RD comes with mini poker chips, dies and meeples in these 6 colours. These items usually have these 6 colours available. Logically connecting the pairs of suits is more important than the connection across all the suits. The reason for black is partly because brown is too near the orange, and partly I wanted it to be different, like a special suit.

As for the 2 numbers, I wanted the option of viewing the sequential numbers when fanning the cards. Also, the center numbers have been removed in the latest version.

 
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dennis bennett
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well, then i think, considering all the design restrictions (available colors in tokens etc.) it looks like you've done the best possible job you could haveā€¦

so i'll just stick to the negative criticiscm (telling you how awesome you're cards are isn't going o help much ):

using numbers (in different colors) to create 2 different ways for sorting the cards just seems really unintuitive and confusing to me. I'm sure once people have understood teh system they'll be able to work with it, but if you could somehow find a different way of doing it, i think that would possibly be a wise design choice.

I'm not even sure if having all teh different colors is really a necessity as you already have the numbers, so the colors are kind of redundant. Redundancy can be good (i'm using colors+symbols for coding the cards in my game) but since there is so much other stuff going on in your cards i'm not sure it's working the way you want it to.
--> i'd assume (as a new player), that since there is so much information on each card, that each bit of information actually carries a different meaning.
this is probably too far out, but how about using chinese/japanese characters for one version of the numbers? tkes some getting used to, but they're really easy to learn, and many people (gamers?) know them anyway...

anotehr problem with the colors might be that people will not intuitivly sort them into the groups (of 2) that you have intended. especially if the have some color-vision issues going on (or in suboptimal lighting!!!!). pink might look like yellow to them. or green and blue might look too much alike (so people might be more likely to group dark blue+ dark green, instead of the two shades of each color.)

you might want to make sure the 2 different shades of a color really are just different shades (or saturations), but not actually different colors (hues? or whats the word?). see the picture? in teh color wheel you can see the 2 colors are all aligned.
 

edit: the outer circle are the original colors you chose, the inner circle are the adapted colors with 6 colors and 2 shades to each, as you can see in the color wheel to the right. compare to the color wheel in the last pictures i uploaded (is this making any sense? i'm sorry if i'm not making my point clear. i'll gladly try and give a more detailed explanation if you need more information about working with colors this way, as i don't know how much experience you have with this kind of thing)
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Chen Changcai
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Criticism is very much welcomed! I will explain the rationale behind the decisions made previously, and then see if anything can be improved upon.

I forgot to mention that the groups of 2 suits also have the same symbols. Thus, the red and pink suits have the heart symbol. It is true that the different shades of colour and the symbol are both ways to link the 2 suits together. I would say that the symbol is the main mechanism, and the shades of colour just a secondary mechanism. In fact, the very first versions of the RD had the colours arranged in the sequence of the colour wheel. Later, the idea of dark and light colours came about and that is when the colours are arranged as they are now. You are right in that the different shades of colour is redundant as the suit number differentiates the suit (red/pink and 0/1). But the colours are more easily visible, and I do want to include more colours in the deck.

In short, for using the suits as 2 different suits, the colours are used. If the 2 suits as grouped together as 1, then we use the symbols (poker suits as we have named them).

Using Chinese/Japanese characters for one version of the numbers (the suit number?) means it is difficult to view the suit and rank as a 2-digit number.

I am not really experienced in the arts or design, but I understand your point about the colours being different shades rather than different colours. But since the symbols play a major part in distinguishing the pairs of suits, I think it would not be too critical.
 
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Chen Changcai
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I am thinking of creating an optional version of RD without the letters. I added a full-stop for the 6s and 9s because the numbers are now in both directions.

Comments?

 
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Andrea Nand
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Just a note about the new version of nanDECK, I think that can be of some interest for you the new directive OVERSAMPLE.

This is one card (2.0):



If you add these two lines, this is the result:

OVERSAMPLE=4
IMAGEFILTER=LANCZOS


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Austin Andersen
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Please add some textures to the different colors. It can be very difficult for some to distinguish between the different colors.
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Chen Changcai
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Thanks Andrea, I will add the 2 lines for the next version. I can see some difference for the outlines of the letters.

As for textures, it is a good suggestion. However, I am not that well trained on imaging software and do not have an easy way to do this. It is also hard to think of 12 relevant textures for all 12 colours.
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Chen Changcai
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I thought of 5 layouts for v2.1. Any comments on which one is better?

I am divided between layout 1 and 3. For layout 3, the elements are still minimal but the numbers draw attention and the center does not look so empty compared to layout 1. Layout 3 is something between layout 1 and 3. It 'links' the 2 numbers together. I think I like it the most.

 
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Austin Andersen
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Without texture or some other distinguishing indicator of color, the cards could be unplayable by color blind people or in poor lighting conditions.
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Chen Changcai
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Each colour can be distinguished by the suit number. For example, the red suit has suit number 0, while the green suit has suit number 4.

Each colour can also be distinguished by the suit symbol. For example, red and pink suits have the heart symbol. The dark-shaded heart is red, the light-shaded heart is pink.
 
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Chen Changcai
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I just thought of another one - layout 6. I think it's better than layout 5. It looks a bit like Uno cards though, but it is really unintentional.

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Chen Changcai
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This is an update on the new version development. Comments are welcomed!

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John A. White
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Try: Roy G Biv B/W

The art is still prototype. Would you mock the Hoyle/bicycle font faces?
Alot of work to be done although if you get a pro they may miss the mark with too much detail.
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Chen Changcai
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There is not much art needed on the cards, only the suit icons. The cards are similar to playing cards and Uno cards. I have actually looked into similar card games that uses numbers, and most are quite simple except for those that include graphics at the card center. I do not have the budget to hire a pro, so I post this here to gather some ideas for improvement.
 
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