I spent roughly four hours scrawling out information on note cards last Friday night, when I realized, you know, there's a much easier way to mock up these cards that won't make it feel like my hand is breaking.
One of the big inspirations for making this card game was "Magic: The Gathering," a hobby I rediscovered a few years back. One of my favorite things about the Magic cards is the flavor text, and it's a concept I stole almost completely for mine. I've always been charmed by alternative storytelling, and the fact that Wizards of the Coasts manages to make a long-running trading card game that is both functional, and hints at, even outright tells an overarching story while sticking to various, sometimes contradictory themes over time has always been amazing to me. I can't claim that my forays into flavor text this time does anything nearly as amazing as what WotC often does, but as a first go, I've been pretty pleased, and if I entertain no one else by the time this project succeeds or fails, the bad jokes, plays on words, stupid puns, and endless hours spent in, of all things, a pocket thesaurus, has been a lot of fun for me.
So, as much as I don't want to get sued by my heroes, I downloaded the freeware "Magic Set Editor" and took a couple of nights to leisurely use their templates to do functional mock-ups of my own cards, and then ordered about... 300 Super El Cheapo card sleeves, so I don't have to worry about the first cards I make being hard to shuffle or see-thru. What I've ended up with is something that has all the necessary information to play with, a good little color-coding system, and a design-style I WILL IN NO WAY BE KEEPING, as I am only using these to test out the actual play of the game with friends, to help fine tune the rules, see what works, what doesn't, and what needs added, and what needs to go.
The nice thing about the MSE template is that it lets me get all my information for play in there, there's already a place for Flavor text, and it'll make any changes in the early stages relatively easy. The downside is, it'll look even more like a MTG rip-off while on the table, which I'm not wild about, except more bland because there are zero illustrations.
Of course, if I continue to go forward with this, I will need to find an artist to not only design the card illustrations themselves, but also the card borders, so this isn't exactly anything that wasn't already planned for. I just think my original idea, with the note cards, was to give the people who I eventually play tested this with sort a blank slate kind of feeling, so I could get at their feelings of what they were picturing, projecting on the cards themselves, and now having the immediate relation to the MTG frames is a little... disheartening. Useful? Yes. Mostly in my head? Entirely.
I took another run at the rules last night, eliminated one big play mechanic, but nothing gone is ever gone forever at this point. Honestly, having as many rules as I have right now really feels to me like a betrayal of my "Keep it Simple, Stupid" mindset, so there could be further changes like this even in the next couple of days.
End count is a whopping 205 cards. I'd be printing them now, rather than writing about them here, except I'm all out of printer ink. Waiting for gods of Amazon and Epson to smile on me, and deliver unto their servant the tools needed in which to make his art.
From there, it'll be about 30 pages worth of printing [probably double that after I screw up a few times], and then I'll whip out the paper cutter Sarah gifted me with a few years back. And then... play tests! Which I'm hoping Terry and Caitlin and whoever else I can get on board to help out with this will be willing to suffer through.