SHOGUNATE is HERE!

Edit: Action Phase Games & Indie Boards and Cards have licensed Shogunate! Stay tuned for the US Retail release of this deviously strategic card game.

Finally. It’s here. Shogunate!  After more than a year of hard work, the game is now available to the public. No crowd funding, no waiting, no stalking the mailbox or waiting for an update. It’s physically here on a shelf beside me, waiting to be shipped to its new home. Amazing. Also, I need a nap.

Here’s a look at the leaders on our boss playmat. Notice the color coded card backs for the action cards visible there to the left. Just a little gift from me to you. Makes 2nd and 3rd games super quick to set up.  OH! and the box holds all the cards SLEEVED if’n you’re so inclined.

Shogunate Leaders

Shogunate card game, finished!

More updates to come. Why didn’t we crowd fund? How are we printing? Who shot Analise?  More to come!

Stonemaier Games Design Day 2015

Stonemaier Games Design Day 2015

Wow, what a weekend! Saturday we enjoyed what I have dubbed the most passionate day in gaming. It was a bit overwhelming actually.

Stonemaier Games graciously hosted a design day for budding game designers and game aficionados and it was EPIC.  Why? Well, even when you go to a con you are surrounded by fellow geeks – but these geeks were MY geeks.  To be in a room FILLED with people who love games like I love games is tremendous. Truly tremendous. I met so many folks who love the minutia of board games, who get excited about mechanics, who love ALL types of games. I can’t say enough about how wonderful the attendees were!

Design Day 2015

Design Day 2015

Playtesting

So I ran my game 21 times. 21! Twenty-one. In the first session (!) my last (knock-on-wood) balancing hurdle was solved, and by an off-handed remark.  The kind that makes you literally smack your head and exclaim, “Well, duh.”  Boom. Done.  I’ll get into the nitty gritty of how Shogunate faired at DD in my next post, but for now let’s talk about prototypes!

Shogunate on the table at Design Day 2015

Shogunate on the table at Design Day 2015

Prototypes

There were all manner of prototypes there. All with different themes, levels of art and craftsmanship. Collectively, DG played 6 prototypes and had a blast. A few of the games were nearly production ready and will be picked up by us as soon as they are released.  Some needed work, so we worked on them.  There was furious note taking, brainstorming, and theme rejiggering going on at nearly every session. All the hard work put into these games is a legendary feat. The level of creativity and generosity in the room was just breathtaking.

Feedback

Friends are great, but where playtesting really bears fruit is with a group of generous, like-minded strangers. The thoughtfulness and intuition displayed by the playtesters was AMAZING.  These weren’t “I don’t like it” or “it’s too slow” type commenters, oh no! What designers got were in-depth conversations on what SPECIFIC changes might make the game better, whole paragraphs of non-judgmental and truly helpful suggestions and advice.

Design Day 2015

Design Day 2015

 

Once again, thanks to Stonemaier Games for a truly worthwhile and enjoyable weekend. In one day we shaved a month off our design time for Shogunate. More than that, the day went smoothly, everything was communicated well, and the space was perfect.  The new friends and sound advice are the best part! Thank you, thank you, thank you for making this possible.  Well done!

 

 

 

 

What you can learn from Monopoly

“Wha? Monopoly? Eww, gross.” You’re saying… but wait! It’s true.  First I will say that you can learn something about game design from every game you play.  Personally, I learn more from games that I did not enjoy more so than ones I did.

Monopoly is the target of much vitriol in the designer games community, but why?

I think the backlash stems from what I call “Indy Kid Syndrome” a bit of the, “No, no. I like games you’ve never even heard of” type sentiment.  Below are a few reasons that I believe should grant a reprieve from your ire.

Foremost, the game was designed to be BAD. No, seriously. It was and education tool created by Elizabeth J. Phillips to explain the single tax theory of Henry George and sought to demonstrate that monopolies damage the economy and fewer business constraints for companies at the turn of the last century would make it bad for everyone.

On to the game itself: roll, move, buy property or don’t – which triggers an auction, next player does the same, pay “rent” for landing on the properties of other real estate moguls.  Did you catch the auction part?  Yep. There are auction mechanics in the game, seldom used but they are there. No one plays the game correctly.  Ever. I know I never have. The game is moderately complex for what it is.

There actually IS strategy. Capture monopolies, buy properties 7ish spaces apart, etc. True, the pure luck cards add nothing to the game, however they do act a bit like random bonuses (the most purple things!) in more complex euros if you think of the cash like VP. (There is no pile of money on “Free Parking”, that is simply a free space to land on – so that negates the “luck” from a common-non-rule-revered-as-fact.)

The point of the game is to bankrupt the other players with your clever strategy. Aside from paying rent, there is little player interaction. Players can’t actually lend other players money… only the bank can via a mortgage. So the banker has more interaction with other players but otherwise the only interaction is a “gotcha” mechanic. Current game design theory is to let players play the game. Learn from this in your game. If you are not a fan of monopoly, make sure you don’t have the equivalent “Go directly to Jail” and “Free Parking” in YOUR game.

Takeaways: So you don’t like Monopoly? Make a BETTER GAME!

If you aren’t a fan of roll, then move, ad nauseam– use a different movement mechanic in your game.

Salvage things like great tokens and clear auction mechanics and make them your own. Build and grow the pieces you do like and learn from the pieces you don’t.

Unless you’re creating a war based game, maybe avoid the “destroy all other players” goal.

Keep your game from meandering for countless hours. Like those last %*@& troops holed up in Australia, when the game is a foregone conclusion have rules for it to END, preferably before.

The next time someone says “Oh, like Monopoly?” when you say you play board games respond with “You know, not for a long time.  But if you like Monopoly, let me show you [insert game here].”

games-650435_1280

Save Art for Beta Testing

Being the pixel diva (graphic artist) that I am, it’s REALLY hard not to futz with art on ideas. Sometimes I’m so excited about the aesthetics of my new game idea that I get wrapped up in them and take days to get out what should be a 15 minute prototype for testing. There are a few reasons this is bad, terrible, and wrong.

The first reason: you get wrapped up in mechanics that may not work and NEED to be changed. But you put in TIME and EFFORT into design and art and now you are married to them in your own mind. This is a design trap. A pretty, crappy game is still a pretty crappy game.

The second reason: It takes too long to get the game to the real world. You need to know if this idea WORKS. A week from now you may not remember the nuances of mechanics or rules that you had safely tucked away in your brain when you started laying out cards and components. Now you have something to look at, BUT how the hell do you play?

The third reason: Cha-cha-cha-changes. If you start with art on a brand new prototype it will take even longer to make changes. If you have icons and graphics that convey concepts, the people you are testing with or running ideas by (and even yourself) will have trouble moving beyond what is already in front of them. So you’ll have to make the changes before using your components in a different way.

I am SO guilty of this. So, so guilty.

Now I have make myself NOT use the computer at all for preliminary “is this even a game” prototypes. I test the heck out of them on paper and index cards written on with markers. When I’m satisfied that it is, in fact, a playable thing I take it to the computer and make a text version of cards and components. Think big bold type: “Red Faction” or “Move Forward Two” written on the center of a white card. Then I play test the heck out of that, now that all the components are standardized.
THEN it’s time for art and a “show the public” prototype. Still, this first art prototype I show to my nearest and dearest “I know them in person” real life play testers. At this point I make a rule sheet (not to be confused with a final rule book) too. I play and play and play and THEN make all the changes we’ve collectively come up with. I play test different variants that we’ve come up with. I make more changes. These often include art suggestions!

Then it’s time for real art. What, you thought that’s what we were talking about all along? No, no honey. The “art” we’ve been talking about up to this point is ANYTHING like borders, thematic fonts, backgrounds, card backs, stand in images clipped from the web, anything that’s not necessary to see if your game is a game at all.

I always like to have SOME art on my game before I take it to any mini-cons or local game nights with strangers. I want them to at least get an introduction to the aesthetics of the game. I do skimp at this stage though. If I have 5 characters, I’ll do art for one and change the name/background/color to distinguish from the others and use the same art 5 times. This stage is never “final” art for me. I use all sorts of truly copyright-free and royalty free images.

-NOW IT’S TIME FOR BETA TESTING-

What happened? Everyone loves it! It’s going to be bigger than Catan! Then it’s time to weigh the art cost vs. the viability of the game. That’s a whole different post!

Now is when I spend hours coming up with card backs, graphic design, and plan the illustrations for the components. I create a list of things I need that I cannot do myself and put out feelers for artists and get quotes. I am completely honest with them, this may be a project a month from now or three or never.

Art questions? Ask away!

Adrienne “Penny” E.

 

Find the Fun: Making Your Board Game All It Can Be

Facing the cold, hard truth: The game you’ve been working on for a year and thought was 99% done isn’t fun enough.   What do you do?

This is what I’m currently facing.  The game is fun.  It’s not as fun as I want it to be.  I don’t want a list of 4 games I’d rather play to run through my mind when reaching for my game. I have solid quotes. I have a crowdfunding page nearly finished. I have release windows in mind. Do you know what the response to all this is?  So what!  I want to release the game I’ve dreamed of, not the game that’s just passably good enough to proceed with.

BGG members, publishers, and veteran game designers are quick to quell the fears of new designers by saying “ideas are easy, it’s the mechanics and polishing that are the hard part” about the possibility of having your idea “stolen”.  This should be revered as gospel through all of the design process. The hard part is the last 10%.

The 10% is the hard work, the sweat, the mind-numbing rehashing of ideas, the tweaking of mechanics, the “if I look at this one more time I’m shelving the whole d@mn thing!” moments.  The sad truth is you may be the only one that can fix it.

What do I mean?  BGG has given me some great feedback.  Play testers have given me some great feedback and positive reinforcement.  However, and it’s a big “however”, they are just evaluating what is placed in front of them – in a vacuum if you will.  This is exactly what you want if you are balancing mechanics, working out math, or trying to integrate flavor.  Asking the question “what would make this more fun?” may lend you some “remove this card/race/resource” type answers.  These might be all you need; you might get a complete game out of it that way.  If you evaluate your game vs. others in the genre, others with the same theme, or the same mechanics – can it still stand up to scrutiny?  Did they do it better?

I don’t think it’s a good practice to ask others to give you a unique hook for your game or to make it fun for you.  It’s like walking into a mechanic shop and handing them a muffler and a tire and saying “make me a car.” You need to be the mechanic.

in-graduate-442925_1280

So here I am, tinkering away.  Covered in grease up to my elbows, (time to drop the car metaphor?) I’ve lost countless hours of sleep over the last two weeks picking this thing apart.  Then finally I had a new idea. Back to testing!  I hope this works.  If not, I think I might shelve it for the time it takes to prototype out another fleshed out idea. If it does work?  Well then I have to change 10 info graphics, my crowdfunding page top to bottom, the board size – which changes the box size, which necessitates new quotes, new shipping quotes, more than half my rule book.  Hopefully if you have to make a change you aren’t this far along.  What can I say?  I thought I was done.  *laugh*  I thought I was done.

Don’t be scared to hold out for the game you dreamed of.  If will not be easy.  It just won’t.  It will be worth it.  I’m 90% sure.

How do you handle games that work but need to “find the fun”?

 

 

Rules! Writing Rules For Your Board Game

Rules!  More like “ugh, rules…”.

Writing Rules

Is there anything less sexy than working out the rules for your game?  I don’t think so.  Your brain is your worst enemy here because you already know how to play.  It means you leave out little bits of vital information leaving your eventual audience going, “wha? who? What the heck does that mean?!”  I’m sure you’ve been in a similar situation yourself when trying to play a game.  It stinks!

So to help you avert this potential disaster I’ve put together a few pointers below that I’ve found really helpful when writing the rules for Ventures in the Void.

 

  1. Decide on terms. Example: This type of card is the _______ card.  For Ventures we kicked around “market”, “trade”, “commerce”, and “supply/demand” for one of our cards.  The first draft of the rules had all these and more in it.  How confusing!   Decide beforehand what each of your mechanics, pieces, and phases are called and stick to it.  Bonus – if you are writing in a word processor or layout program you can “ctrl + f” to find and replace all instances of that word. So later if we decide to call the “trade” cards “market” cards, we can easily replace every instance of the word in the file.
  2. Tell players what they are trying to do first, at the beginning of the rules. The object of Ventures is to make the most money.  With that in mind it frames all the rest of the rules.
  3. Put your rules in turn order. If you can move first, then explain movement first. If there are exceptions to turn order be sure to point that out in the appropriate sections or at least state that there are exceptions and point them toward where they are listed in the rules.
  4. Give examples! If something can potentially be confusing, give a written example – identified by italic or different colored text.  Some people learn games by examples (I found out after talking to a lot of hobby gamers) while others “get it” after reading the rule.
  5. Create info graphics that explain cards/mechanics. This is especially important if you have “busy” cards or cards/boards with more than a few sections (like health, stats, flavor text, rules exceptions, mechanic changes, or special play times).  Highlight the sections and give them titles in the info graphics that correspond to the rules.
  6. Have someone that has never played your game read your rules. Then take a turn in front of them.  A rules lawyer or very analytical friend is good for this.  Have them stop you every time you do something that’s not in the rules.  Add that information to the rules or put it in a more appropriate place if it was buried somewhere else.
  7. Use simple words. We had “utilize” all over the place when “use” would have worked just as well, translated to other languages better and saved on character count (I dread long rules!).
  8. Write for a non-gaming audience. Why?  I may not play the same games you do and thus do not have the same frame of reference.  What you think is a standard mechanic may never have come up in a game your audience plays.  Just because your audience plays games doesn’t mean you can just gloss over terms or play structure in your own game.  So it’s easier to assume you are writing for a non-gaming audience and explain everything.
  9. Leave flavor for last.  Make sure your structure is good and everything is explained BEFORE going back and adding flavor to the rules.  Again, make sure the flavor does not compromise the clarity.  We decided to have flavor in the intro and use “plain speech” everywhere else.

 

Ventures in the Void Public Private Trade Graphic

I hope these tips will give you a start on your own rules. They are by no means exhaustive.  I am learning more every day.  My first rules were atrocious, incomprehensible!  Now I have real rules, and it was hard work.

Bonus: PROOFREAD – send it to 20 people to proofread!  I just found a typo in one of the graphics I was going to post here… we proofed the rules but didn’t pay attention to the info graphics!

What are your best tips for writing rules?

Making a game board – Beyond Beta Prototype

There are several reasons you might want a polished game board for your fledgling* game.  If you are seeking preview (pre-release reviews) of your game from reviewers, want nice photographs or videos, or want to give a “real” impression of the game to blind playtesters, or you simply want to SEE what you’ve created!  Whatever your reason, here is an idea to make the board itself.

*If you haven’t already playtested (a lot) with sheets of paper and handwritten bits, it is too soon to make a polished prototype.  This stage of prototyping should be for a 99% finished game.

Quad Fold Game Board

I purchased quad fold boards from an online retailer, sized 18” x 18”.  The printable surface is 17.75” x 17.75”.  These are “real” game boards. They have the pebble textured backing paper and fold in to fourths.

Quad Fold Ventures in the Void

I printed my board design on adhesive backed vinyl. In my case I had a sign shop print it at exactly 17.75” x 17.75”.  The cheapest option is to purchase letter size (8.5”w x11”h) adhesive paper from a craft store or online and print in 4 parts.

Adhering the Print to the Game Board

If you want to get all 17.75×17.75 as one piece and can’t find someone to print on adhesive vinyl, you can try to spray glue it on the board. This is messy. This is hard (and smelly) but CAN be done. Make sure to follow the directions, most cans instruct you to spray BOTH items being adhered, not just one.

The most expensive option is to check out on-demand printers.  For under $50 US (+shipping) you can get a single board made.  I opted to do it myself to save money and not have to wait in queue.

Ventures in the Void Game Board

Here is the finished prototype board for Ventures in the Void!  Have you found a better or cheaper way to make your “final” prototype board?  Let us know below!

Passion, Commitment, Ability: Making Your Game A Reality

Today let’s talk about passion, commitment, ideas, and ability.

Why do you want to make games? What are you passionate about? What level of commitment will it take to make your idea a reality and are you willing to make that commitment?  Are you actually able to make the commitment you wish to make?

I’ve thought long and hard about why I want to make games.  It’s not recognition, it’s certainly not money; so why?  I dream of seeing people sitting at a table playing my game and having fun. That’s it.  I want to bring a little fun to some folks.

I am passionate about creating. I love making something from nothing, just a niggling little idea in the back of my brain that I can tweeze out with careful planning and the right amount of perseverance. I love details. I thrive on them.  I actually like spending three hours looking for the correct term for how I want my pieces molded just so I can then ask for the right thing when I talk to an expert later in the production process.  I’m weird and I accept and revel in it.

I am not at all passionate about math. *Sigh* Guess what? I have TWO friends that majored in math (or math type stuff, I’m not really sure, it was numbers definitely).  They are cool people and as friends they want to see me succeed – so I ask for help with game balancing and math-y issues.  I acknowledge up front that any such help is on their schedule (like any good friend would) and in turn I get some pretty cool insights about my own game.  “How did I not see that?,” kind of stuff.  It’s great.  Even if you don’t have math geniuses in your friend circle, you no doubt have people around you that can help you with any bits or bobs that are confusing or tedious for you.

I am committed to making my games reality, through whatever means necessary.  Right now I’m looking at crowd funding. Crowdfunding isn’t just a great idea for the capital to undertake a production run, it’s also great way to expand your community and get great insights about your game. A while back I posted a video from Wil Wheaton about what it means to be a nerd in my “Who Is A Gamer” post.  That’s what I’m looking for in crowdfunding – Finding people who like what I like, the way that I like it. Making a game is hard work and has many facets.  Being committed to getting it made means NOT going it alone.  I acknowledge there are many, many things that I am not good at. To meet my goal of producing a good, fun game I KNOW I’ll need the help of people who ARE good at those things.  I welcome all feedback but know when something doesn’t fit the flavor I’m going for.  It’s not about blindly implementing every suggestion – it’s about valuing every suggestion and engaging about your idea.  Never accept a lack of ability on your part as a roadblock to making your dream game a reality.

It's Dangerous To Go It Alone

It’s Dangerous To Go It Alone

If crowdfunding isn’t something you are interested in, try to find other online communities.  Using the internet as a connection point exponentially broadens your available resources.  Resources = people who care about what you are doing. Engage on Board Game Geek. Make friends on twitter.  Join the Indie Game Alliance.

What are you struggling with to make your game a reality?

Inclusivity: Making Everyone Feel Welcome In Your Board Game

I’m going to take a short break today from talking about printing to talk about inclusivity.  What do I mean?  More than just including everyone, it means that every single person that plays your game is not only welcome, but feels at home.  That is not as gargantuan a task as it seems at first. Inclusivity is NOT about people being OVERLY sensitive. It’s about showing respect to everyone and saying what you really mean.

Let’s dive in to gender.

Written words

The rules for Ventures in the Void uses “they/their” rather than the gender specific “he/she” – “his/her.”  To avoid repetitiveness I also employ “player/opponent.”   This is something that is relatively new to the writing world and technically incorrect when looking at APA/MLA writing styles.  My formal education is in Journalism and Communication so it took some getting used to.  The fact is, not everyone identifies as male or female. I do not, and never have, meant anyone any offense by my use of pronouns, so it is incredibly easy for me to make the shift to non-gender specific pronouns instead.

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When sending out rules for friends, family, and industry types to proof and generally peruse, I outright tell them that my intent in regards to pronoun usage and themes, idioms, phrasing, etc. is to be inclusive of everyone. Not only does that keep my more literary editors from marking every generic pronoun, it also leaves them free to point out any other issues they see as roadblocks to inclusivity in the writing. Everyone has a different frame of reference and thus everyone has the potential to be supremely helpful when looking for these issues.

Depictions / Art

Characters

My current “front burner” project is Ventures in the Void which will only have any humanoid characters if a stretch goal is met. Mechanics-wise they will just be a bonus once per game so won’t be necessary.  Some of my other games, however, are entirely based on the persona a player chooses to represent them.  Legendary Tales is a story telling game when you play a hero.  Since I’ll have my players taking on personas that I portray with art and express as specific genders I feel it is my obligation to at the very least have a male and female version of each hero.  Like I said, the very LEAST… I am currently contemplating how to thematically include non-gendered heroes as well.

Art

Unless we’re talking about a tongue-in-cheek, sarcastic game based in humor, I think the days of mostly naked, ridiculously top-heavy, female characters is done.  There IS a time and place, but around an inclusive gaming table is NOT it.  That said, the male characters don’t all have to be brawny and intellectually challenged or wiring and geniuses either.  In general, I stay away from stereotypes.  They are just bad business.  Why take the chance of offending a potential player with your art, when really it was just laziness or a lack of creativity.  I KNOW coming up with 200 cards or pages and pages of art is challenging.  Again, this is one of those times I let my artist know up front that my intent is to be inclusive of everyone.  I want all genders, skin tones, body types, etc. expressed in my games if there are many opportunities for art.  If there are just a few (like say a 5-6 hero game) then at the very least I want mid-range body types, both genders (and one un-gendered character if I can work it in) and a variety of skin tones.

Language

Idioms and Slang

Chances are, if there is a slang word for a profession or nationality then it is derogatory.  Unless you actually mean “Hey, [insert profession/nationality], F You!” look it up first to be sure.  Watch using “female” as well.  Why? “Look at that group of males over there.” Sounds off, doesn’t it?  So don’t use “female” that way either.

By now, most of us have heard the story behind “rule of thumb,” just don’t use it. Lots of other idiomatic expressions are just as awful.  “Gyp/Jip/Jyp” is actually a derogatory term for Romani or Gypsies, just don’t use it. When in doubt, look it up.

[Bonus food-for-thought: When playing games – THINK about what you say.  Maybe you wiped the board with someone. You’re celebrating, you’re happy – so why bring rape into it?  Is rape funny?  You probably just answered “no.” So, why would you repeatedly chide another player by shouting about how you “raped them so hard?” See, now that you are thinking about it – you wouldn’t.  Let’s keep that away from the gaming table, shall we?]

Themes

Research

The biggest tip for keeping your themes clean of unintended slights is to research.  Historical themes are the exception that proves the rule I think.  Some parts of history are just ugly.  I am not currently working on any history heavy games – but I think sugarcoating actual events is a whole different matter. These games take a lot of research – just be sure to get your facts correct.

For the rest of us with non-historical games. Research, research, research.  Naming fantasy continents?  Look up the name you chose to see if it has a meaning already.  Same with ships, tribes, civilizations – anything you are getting creative with.

Welcome

Maybe I should have put this at the beginning, because if you’ve made it this far you obviously want to enlighten yourself on this subject.  So here it is: Inclusivity is NOT about people being OVERLY sensitive. It’s about showing respect to everyone and saying what you really mean. (ok, I DID go back and add that bit to the top!) I’ll admit that I’m educated and I surround myself with like-minded people.  We tend to speak tactlessly to one another because we take for granted that the person hearing us speak knows what we mean.  In reality, this is NOT a good thing. When bits of our vernacular are pointed out as “wrong” we tend to get defensive because we didn’t MEAN to offend anyone.  It’s HARD not to get defensive. At least for me, the reason I get defensive is that I truly didn’t mean to offend and I feel like I am being told I’m a horrible person because I did offend someone, or could have offended someone.  *Sigh* So the way I am proceeding with the distinct possibility that my words and art will be in print and distributed all over the globe (I hope!) is to educate myself and say/write/depict what I really mean.  Plainly: Everyone is welcome to play my game and I strive to only produce games that make them feel that way.

 

What did I miss?  What do you do to ensure your game is welcoming to all?

Rounders: Your Guide to Rounded Corner Cards for Your Board Game

Why round corners on your board game or card game cards? There are a few reasons. Empirical evidence suggests that cards are easier to shuffle with rounded corners.  By far, the main reason to round corners is the longevity of the cards. Look at your old collection of sports cards… see anything that stands out?  Unless they were sleeved from day 1 (and NO one did that back then) they have boxing, peeling, bends, creases, separation, and color loss at the corners.  I know I want people to play my games for years; and like everyone else I strive to create the “evergreen” game.  That just can’t happen if players get the wrong idea about quality due to the breakdown of your components, namely your cards.

So when quoting your game be sure to specify rounded corners.  Some companies give you choices, most notably 3mm (about 1/8 inch) and 5mm (a little less than ¼ inch).  The difference in those radii are shown below with a peak at the ship cards from Ventures in the Void. Standard poker size cars are 2.5 × 3.5 inches / 64 × 89 mm, and bridge size playing cards are 2.25 × 3.5 inches / 57 × 89 mm. Both “standard” types of cards have a corner radius of about .25 inch / 6mm.

Corner Size Board Game Cards

It’s up to you which you prefer.  Remember to account for radius corners when designing your cards!  This does affect your “live” area which I talked about the last entry.

Some printing companies don’t ask what radius you prefer as they already have a die cutter that cuts standard sized cards with their standard radius.  Ask up front how your company handles radius corners. It will be MUCH cheaper to use a die the printing company already has rather than have a custom die created.

Tarot Cards

Card Prototyping

scissors-311690When creating prototypes it is not necessary to hand round the corners on your cards, but you CAN. By far the cheapest method is to use scissors or a precision blade/rotary cutter. I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS! Cards that are not identical in size cannot be shuffled properly –  so keep that in mind.  What I DO recommend, if you are set on rounding corners anyway, is to purchase a punch online that says it does 1/8 inch or 3mm corners or ¼” or 5mm/6mm corners.  Be sure to line up the card with the guides each time and you should get uniform and nicely rounded cards. Sorry, for precision you cannot punch more than one card at the time.  Remember before taking this on that 100 cards have 400 corners… and if you get tired by the end mistakes can happen.  Not so bad if you are printing yourself, but having to go back to a quick print place for two cards is really going to ding the wallet.

 

I do not support or advertise for any specific retailers – but the easiest way to find a corner punch is either in the scrapbooking section or your local hobby and crafts store or search “1/8 inch corner punch rounder” in your favorite search engine and switch to the “shopping” tab.

Have any prototyping secrets for board game cards?  I’d love to hear them!