New Card Game Development, Resource Centre

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Sat, 2015-12-05 02:54
bazzboda

This is a topic where you help each other develop your own card games, some of which you may actually want to release.

Note: We have been pinned.
Please feel free to post. If this hasn't been updated in some time I either didn't have any content to add lately or no ones been visiting for a while.
I won't drop this project with out giving notice to the mods, so be sure that if you post I will get back to you on the weekend, unless unaccounted variables are present.

Intentions and examples.
An example tip is, you can use lackey as a method of testing your game, however setting up your own plugin for it would probably be a waste of time. Thus I suggest using the magic plugin since it has so many additional features that can be used to test your own games against other people, including multiplayer, and having savable matches. It also has the advantage of being compatible with mtg set editor.
This form topic covers how http://magicseteditor.sourceforge.net/node/5972(however since said topic was made you no longer need do any of the excel stuff, unless of course you want sound, I don't though).
The only real downside to this is that during testing you have to use the magic card frames but that is hardly a problem.

Or simpler things like "in expansive card games you do not need rarity, however it is still good to have some cards that just feel rarer or just simply better, since unlike a ccg you can have fixed decks".

If anyone has any advise for making card games please post them I would love to see what we can use.
Stuff like this maybe http://help.thegamecrafter.com/category/10-file-preparation (printing templates from a company that prints your cards for you in bulk, and boxed for sale).
Or just general advise, or articles.

Personally I would love to see if anyone has advise on making frames, and maybe even uploading them to mtg set editor to streamline production (as doing it all in photoshop is simply bothersome), or finding and commissioning artists.

Guidelines
I have been reminded to ask that no one advertise their games, you may not be intending to make a profit but it will set a bad precedent.
Further I advise you not to give away too much of your own games design, not because its bad, but unlike the rest of mtg set editor, you probably don't want people to copy you, and make others worried they are taking too much inspiration from you when they are probably not. However please don't feel against helping others with resources, or ideas for designing. While we are not advertising threw magic set editor, please add advise on selling and making money off of your card game if possible.

Information and resources supplied by this topic
Links
Please note that the people who have supplied the links may not be the creator of the content

Mark Rosewater's Magic the Gathering podcasts, linked by Decembra.
Example of how to make photoshop card frames video, on youtube, linked by bazzboda.

Text
Leviathan on commisioning a single artist versus multiple
There are benefits to both. I'm an artist myself so when I do get around to making my own game, I'll likely be going with the third option which is to do all the art yourself. The pros and cons of this one are obvious, so I'll address your question:

Hire one artist to do all the work: The art will naturally be more consistent throughout. Communicating your ideas will be easier as you only have to communicate with one person, which means it'll be easier for your vision to be realized successfully without worry about misunderstandings. With one artist, you can just have one conversation about the style do's and don'ts and be able to entrust it all to one person, being able to ensure more fully that your ideas are understood. The downside is that you'll only have one person doing the job so you'll have to choose where you want to balance the quantity and length of time to get the art you want with the overall quality and detail of the art. There's also the question of burnout. If you have one person whose job is to create 50-100 pieces, it's almost inevitable that unless they love everything about your game that they'll get burned out and maybe not even finish the work.

Commission multiple artists: This is a more realistic option. You'll get more art done faster, and you'll have the benefit of multiple creative minds giving more diversity to your cards. The problem is, unless you create a clear style guide, you could end up with some art that doesn't really fit what you're trying to achieve. However, with multiple artists working at once, they can collaborate and inspire each other, which makes it more likely that your 50-100 pieces of art that you need actually get completed and you end up with more of the art you want.

In sum, I think it's better to commission multiple artists. It'll take more work on your part to guide them in the right direction, from the creation of a style guide to ongoing feedback and support, but it will be worth it in the end.


bazzboda on storing info
An important thing is getting all of your file locations set up properly in advance. As my own game has went threw an extreme number of iterations, and stages of development, in the later stages keeping all of the information well sorted was of the greatest value. Doing so later on was necessary but honestly far from ideal, as I would have saved a ton of time had I set it all up in advance.

I think the main thing I learn't from all of this is plan ahead, even if you don't know if the games idea will work, plan ahead.

Create a folder for card frames, create a folder for design constraints, personal notes, for comprehensive rules, for feedback, for different iterations of the game, for lore, for everything that may or may not be relevant.


bazzboda on getting cards ready for printing without a custom template
for people such as myself who simply can't figure out how to make custom frames in set editor, this is an alternative method of getting your cards ready to get printed by a company like "the game crafter".

Make a frame in image editing software,
give it its own layer,
create text boxes in each desired location,
put all the text boxes in one folder along with a copy of the frame,
copy that folder for each card you want printed(excluding repeats)
put your card text(not just rule text, all text) into the text boxes of a folder,

for printing make all layers visible,
than use the save to function (in photoshop "ctrl", "shift", "s"),
than hit a number for the file name (this honestly doesn't matter their whole point is the need a different name),
hit "tab" to go to the file type,
hit "j" to select jpeg,
hit "enter" to confirm the save,
than hide the folder your saved and rinse and repeat.

If you export the set from mtg set editor as a "forum spoiler exporter", it will end up a text document that is much faster to transfer text from.
Unfortunately I have not found a way to change how it sorts the cards.
However to my present understanding it separates them based of colour, and then lists them in alphabetical order.


bazzboda on getting cards ready for printing without a custom template part two
So to cover how the text export works. Via HTML and then "forum".

It first groups by colour, then (magic)card type, then name, it probably sorts by rarity but I don't have the time to check at the moment.

Thus if you are doing an expansive card game with pre structured decks in a manner similar to, for a lack of a better example "smash up". You would want to sort them via name. Assigning each card to a letter and then a number.

aka
a=deck one
1-12=card one out of 12
thus c5-12=deck three's 5th card out of 12

Still not the fastest system, I will see what can be done.


bazzboda on shipping for prototypes
Some of the shipping costs for card games are painful, I suggest ordering multiple products at once, hopefully do so with other to save even more. I can't suggest getting prototypes printed until you are really close to release.
Any testing ideas would be great, I don't suggest lackey because others need to download your game and possibly it. Of course if people are willing that't great. Plus since your not printing it and its for testing you may be ok with using mtg frames.

bazzboda on writing rules
An important thing about presenting your game, and in writing your rule set is don't off load your information in one big chunk. Introduce elements as they pop up, do you need to tell the reader what a stat does before its relevant, explain what it does when it appears an example is thus:

Attack, this is how much damage this does to other units when it attacks.

(The reader must remember this and apply it when your explain attacking. And it delays them actually learning the gameplay, this prevents them from being drawn into the game, they may even stop reading the second they see this.)

or

Then your attack phase starts.
You may have your unit attack another unit.
If you do, it deals damage equal to its attack stat to the other unit's health stat.
If that units health becomes zero or less it dies and is sent to the discard pile.

(This is much more clear you see it as it is applied, thus the two become fused in the readers memory and when one occurs they remember the other. Further this doesn't intimidate the reader as complexity gradually builds)

Of course depending on your game you may want to things a little differently, this is of course general advise.


Storing design evidence, not the best looking for better info
If for what ever reason you want to store solid proof that you made X design at Y date. Their are a few ways, since open office or the likes doesn't save every version of a doc, some suggest keeping constant drafts. You can also save a webpage you have posted information onto your computer.

I have heard claims that google docs keeps these drafts for you, I have yet to look into this, and I am aware word processors more expensive the open office do this as well.


Desired information. Please post anything you are looking for and I will add it to this list.
Play testing (getting play testers, play testing methods, when and how often to play test, etc.)
General information on commissioning artists. (per piece or actually hiring an artist for all the art, for uniformity and aesthetics sake.)

news
As of March thirtieth Game Crafter lowered their shipping costs.

New card game development, resource centre.
Put mtg.design urls between a [img=375x523] and a [/img] to make them normal sized renders.

Wed, 2015-12-09 02:38
bazzboda

Most important thing.
Test every new change or mechanic in your game with and without other mechanics, to see if they interact well, are fun on their own, or simply work. You don't want pointless parts of you game or worse have one tiny thing destroy it completely.
However do a lot of early stage work your card game shouldn't rely on cool cards, it as a game should be fun even if you only have pretty simple cards, you add the interesting ones later.

New card game development, resource centre.
Put mtg.design urls between a [img=375x523] and a [/img] to make them normal sized renders.

Wed, 2015-12-09 14:57
Horizons
Community Award
Horizons's picture

I'm actually really interested in this because I've been puzzling over just HOW magic can be so ridiculously complex as it is. If some game can combine the complexity of magic with the excitement and lack of mana screw of other games then they'll pretty much have the perfect TCG. But the trick is really finding out what makes a single Magic card so capable of representing virtually anything. Its almost Turing Complete and there's a veritable infinity of design space for them. BASICALLY, what are the VARIABLES that rule magic cards? They can vary in cost, color, power/toughness, time of play, and all this information can be condensed in such a way that additional effects can be tacked on.

So what does Magic have that all other card games lack like Yu-Gi-Oh? Is it just mana (hopefully not) or is something else? In Yu-Gi-Oh cards varied in P/T, cost, and time of play (albeit the cost mechanic is poorly executed). Hearthstone also shares these qualities. So why do they both feel like a watered down version of MTG?

Wed, 2015-12-09 17:16
Decembra
Decembra's picture

@Horizons:
1. Richard Garfield & his invention of the color pie.
2. Matt Tabak & his maintenance of the rules of the game.
3. Mark Rosewater & his understanding of both.

These are the things about Magic that I'm attached to. A happy smile

Wed, 2015-12-09 17:25
Cajun
Cajun's picture

I think mana is a giant chunk of it. Helps make each game feel unique, and even the best players get mana screwed, so everyone down to the person playing their dad's aggro deck for the first time can stomp more experienced players. (I maaaay have been on the receiving end of this before :P)

Mana adds quite a bit more variance to the game and variance is exciting, though at the edges of the curve with full on mana screw, you actually have less variance, you keep drawing/not drawing lands on top of not being able to do anything. I think to 'fix' this, you'd aim to alleviate mana screw, but never remove it. I think current standard is showing us what happens when mana screw is dealt with too efficiently.

Cajun's Explorations
I make templates sometimes
fluffyDeathbringer wrote:
I dunno, Cajun has a habit of doing Dubiously Working new rules stuff

Wed, 2015-12-09 18:20
Horizons
Community Award
Horizons's picture

^ yeah but I even feel cheated of a game when I stomp someone who's getting mana screwed. I much prefer Hearthstone's way of it where you can rely on that resource to scale up automatically. The resource is pretty necessary because it allows for fast aggressive decks or swarm decks and it makes larger creatures fair in relation to smaller ones. I just think Hearthstone executes that better than MTG.

Mon, 2016-08-15 02:40
ZephyrPhantom
Moderator
ZephyrPhantom's picture

Late to the party here but:

Complexity - To be honest, any card game that introduces a simple rules system with enough malleable elements will manage to accomplish this. I used to moderate a forum based on a card game that seemed extremely simple because its combat step was simplified to "everything with non-0 power attacks" and no instants/Quickplay spells existed, but despite lack of development the game remained popular for several years because the existing card base of roughly 500-100 cards was enough to create a huge amount of decks with a complex meta. The developer has abandoned the game since and the game playerbase has shrunk to a bunch of dedicated/toxic loyalists, but had it received more updates and more cards it easily could've gone the same path MtG did on a smaller scale.

Mana screw - Worth noting that Hearthstone uses a system similar to MtG but eliminates the concept of lands entirely, thus reducing the potential to mana screw by a lot. I'd say the resulting popularity speaks for itself.

Yugioh - Is a good system on paper. Keyword "on paper". The game's main flaw comes from designers having no real sense of balance and resorting to the banlist as a balancing system as opposed to a godzilla threshold for cards combined with marketing executives constantly pushing for overpowered flashy cards to appeal to people who watch the animated show. While design has tightened up considerably and you don't see wildly overpowered and underpowered cards in the same pool anymore the game currently suffers from forcing people to play tribal as opposed to letting players create their own synergies with cards like in MtG. The default cost system of sacrificing monsters sucks, but it's worth noting the system has advanced to a point where alternate summoning methods have become the norm and bypassing that mechanic is typically an accepted practice; certain tribals like Qliphort still use it in their playstyles in more creative ways.

As for me, I'd say my main issue is motivation and the ability to make time to develop an independent card game. It's something I'd like to do eventually, but a rough time trying to learn programming has sidelined that goal for now.


Spoiling monthly, attempting to conclude by Dec 2017
Looking for fun? Try Battle Boards!

Sun, 2016-12-11 00:45
bazzboda

@ZephyrPhantom,

Spoiler:
thank you for visiting this strange place.
In regards to your post I must agree with most, though I don't completely agree with hearthstones answer to mana screw. The reason is it removes a risk reward element, while you definitely don't want a debilitating system their are better ways to go about this. Scrolls an online card game that failed for different reasons, used a system where once a turn a player could discard a card to draw 2 cards or increase their resource count by 1.
This relatively simple system accomplished a lot, it allowed a ton of decision making such as

Generally useless card: discard to cast stronger card in hand, or discard to get 2 more cards one of which might be useful and on curve
Strong card, but spare resources: discard to get 2 cards that may work or keep
Strong card, no spare resources: cast now, or discard to get 2 cards, one of which can be discarded again next turn

While indeed these may seem minor, minor strategic aspects are good and add more nuance, while also bolstering deck building potential and variance, without destabilizing the game or throwing it into randomness.
I think that just like this and magic that have resources or a resource system the player gets to interact with rather than just ramp is often important in a deeper game, primarily ccgs. Expansive and stand alone games are pretty different.

In regards to development, I would advise against starting by going online, unless you really want to make a ccg, their isn't really a point to it. However if you can do the programming and you think it works for your game go for it, but otherwise I would advise against it. I would suggest just making a fun expansive card or boardgame and getting that printed.

New card game development, resource centre.
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Sun, 2016-10-23 03:19
isaac the awesome
isaac the awesome's picture

Wow. Your video is great. Uber-inspired

Sun, 2016-10-23 03:58
bazzboda

@isaac the awesome, its good to hear that its inspiring(I very much agree), but just to make sure, I am not the creator of the video.

New card game development, resource centre.
Put mtg.design urls between a [img=375x523] and a [/img] to make them normal sized renders.

Thu, 2017-01-05 23:28
bazzboda

If you grab the playtest template from here http://msetemps.sourceforge.net/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?t=144
you can hopefully get test printings done legally without making your own template or formatting your card outside of set editor. I have yet to determine if this is in fact true(as wizards may hold copy right over the composition of the playtesting cards), if anyone could way in on this that would be great.

"Sensei Le Roof" a user on this site, was kind enough to direct me to the template.
But if anyone knows if wizards holds copyright on their play testing frame that would be great to know.

New card game development, resource centre.
Put mtg.design urls between a [img=375x523] and a [/img] to make them normal sized renders.

Thu, 2017-01-05 19:44
bazzboda

Well then, since activity here is rather low, a question for everyone.
Would you rather higher one artist to do all of your art, or commission multiple artists?

I have some thoughts on this matter, but I would like to hear everyone else's.

New card game development, resource centre.
Put mtg.design urls between a [img=375x523] and a [/img] to make them normal sized renders.

Thu, 2017-01-05 04:30
Leviathan

There are benefits to both. I'm an artist myself so when I do get around to making my own game, I'll likely be going with the third option which is to do all the art yourself. The pros and cons of this one are obvious, so I'll address your question:

Hire one artist to do all the work: The art will naturally be more consistent throughout. Communicating your ideas will be easier as you only have to communicate with one person, which means it'll be easier for your vision to be realized successfully without worry about misunderstandings. With one artist, you can just have one conversation about the style do's and don'ts and be able to entrust it all to one person, being able to ensure more fully that your ideas are understood. The downside is that you'll only have one person doing the job so you'll have to choose where you want to balance the quantity and length of time to get the art you want with the overall quality and detail of the art. There's also the question of burnout. If you have one person whose job is to create 50-100 pieces, it's almost inevitable that unless they love everything about your game that they'll get burned out and maybe not even finish the work.

Commission multiple artists: This is a more realistic option. You'll get more art done faster, and you'll have the benefit of multiple creative minds giving more diversity to your cards. The problem is, unless you create a clear style guide, you could end up with some art that doesn't really fit what you're trying to achieve. However, with multiple artists working at once, they can collaborate and inspire each other, which makes it more likely that your 50-100 pieces of art that you need actually get completed and you end up with more of the art you want.

In sum, I think it's better to commission multiple artists. It'll take more work on your part to guide them in the right direction, from the creation of a style guide to ongoing feedback and support, but it will be worth it in the end.

Thu, 2017-01-05 19:58
bazzboda

That's some very useful insights. Thank you for you contribution, it is greatly appreciated.
Formality aside, great to have you in this corner of the site. Hopefully the information is useful.

If you don't mind I am going to put put a copy of your comment in the opening posts information section, naturally crediting you. Please feel free to PM me an edited version that better fits that location, this is entirely optional and does not need to be done. I am happy with either version, I am offering purely in case this is what you would prefer.

New card game development, resource centre.
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Fri, 2017-01-13 14:20
Leviathan

No problem, it's fine the way it is, I'm just flattered that you found my input constructive enough to add to your post.

Sun, 2017-05-07 05:58
bazzboda

Just a reminder this is always open, feel free to post anything, even people mentioning if they felt the info was useful(or not) would be appreciated.

New card game development, resource centre.
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Sun, 2017-05-07 06:44
Cajun
Cajun's picture

I'll bite. For bazzboda or the lurkers, what is the most amount of information that you want to be keeping track of? Working on a game that's more mundane than magic, so your "power" and "mana" are tied more to you than creatures and lands, on top of a life total. Generally we use two dice, for life and for actions, and I'm worried it'll get too much for most people, especially when trying to keep track of 3+ people.

One (untested) replacement would be giving you a set number of your-turn-actions and having a land-analogue giving you instant-actions but on paper it feels more complicated.

Cajun's Explorations
I make templates sometimes
fluffyDeathbringer wrote:
I dunno, Cajun has a habit of doing Dubiously Working new rules stuff

Mon, 2017-05-08 08:37
bazzboda

I would say the action system makes it much easier to track then the mana system in magic. So I don't understand the land type thing that gives you instant actions though, why make a whole new resource?

However dies are often too small for something such as actions, though it works for health since the other player is often the one changing your life total.
But with actions, the ones I most often see is tokens, or a dial of some sort, spin or slide. I personally prefer tokens, since you don't need to ship them and if they get lost it doesn't matter. Further more can be done with it. Though I honestly dislike when multiple tokens are used, its just messy and that really does effect the customer.

I don't know the product, but if felt appropriate, you can have a sliding dial with the numbers facing away from you as a life total. Its just easier for your opponents especially in multiplayer to see life totals with out getting distracted. Further regarding the amount of information, I really do suggest drawing at the end of the turn, unless your game really likes playing on others turns, this gives you more time to think ahead for your next turn.

Edit: I can't believe I forgot. Thank you for you for visiting this part of the site, it is much appreciated.

New card game development, resource centre.
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Mon, 2017-05-08 17:00
Cajun
Cajun's picture

Quote:
why make a whole new resource?
It wouldn't be a new resource, they would act like land and the default actions would be the equivalent of 'at the beginning of your main phase add X mana symbol to your mana pool'. That gives something physical to see if the other players can do things during your turn and means you have to build towards playing on other's turns instead of doing so by default.

Tokens are working okay. We've got coins with the Action symbol on one side so you flip them when you use them, and that's mostly fine for the typical decks using 4-6, but gets a bit messy for the decks getting to 10-16. Either way most of my players prefer the dice, but I've got a sample size of guys that are probably carrying a d20 at any given moment so doubt that's representative.

Double slider is neat tho, have some extra cardstock so I should be able to put a few of those together for a test run.

Cajun's Explorations
I make templates sometimes
fluffyDeathbringer wrote:
I dunno, Cajun has a habit of doing Dubiously Working new rules stuff

Tue, 2017-05-09 05:39
bazzboda

I still don't fully get this land type thing completely but it seems better than I thought.

Regarding your actions, definitely after 10 it is right to just use a die or dial. Though when you used tokens I don't suggest having actions be flipped, ideally you can just push them aside, as it takes less time and usually can be determined quicker. Still it sounds like things are going well, I guess now you just need to use some different testers, and see the results. Good luck.

New card game development, resource centre.
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Fri, 2017-08-11 09:44
bazzboda

I am still awaiting fresh prey, come to the abandoned corner of the site. It also keeps me on top of my own projects and helps cement my information.

Regardless I have a question for the rest of you. Play testing. How do you get it done? I have been living in a rural town without a card game shop, and most of the people I know are in a somewhat distant city, and I am not the most social person, plus we are all pretty busy with work. I am sure some of this is me not being willing enough to put in that last bit of effort for this, but some advise would still be a great help.

New card game development, resource centre.
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Fri, 2017-08-11 09:48
bazzboda

Okay I am no longer using the site anymore, but please do not close this, I would really like this site to still have a place for people to discuss new card game development.

New card game development, resource centre.
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Mon, 2017-08-14 05:38
Lancrae
Lancrae's picture

Good news first: I develop card games and also know how to write the MSE code and create/develope the images/templates. In fact, I have created, Hearthstone, V:Tes, WoW TCG and even Pathfinder board game templates. As well as about four or five custom game templates, including all original development materials and rulings.

Bad News: It seems I am late to the party. I would rather not focus on Magic stuff, as I have long since gotten bored of the game.