Although I still have a handful of cards to design (specifically, magic items and the three raids) I’ve started thinking about how to convert all of these card designs into a playable prototype.
There’s been a lot of time spent on this game; I think it’s about time to find out if it actually works, and more importantly, is fun.
I am quite confident that the game works, at least in base theory. In practice, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to have to make adjustments, probably many adjustments. Small, large, whatever.
Meaning, the cards are likely to change, maybe a lot. Maybe several times.
And then there is the theme – this game is inspired by DDO, but designed to be able to completely remove the DDO references should anyone at Turbine or WB (or Hasbro or now, AT&T) object to my use of DDO. Which would mean another change to all the cards.
The upshot of all this is that whatever methods I choose to prototype the game are constrained by the need to support rapid changes. I could create card images, print them on card stock, and then cut them into card shapes by hand. Except … nearly 500 cards. More likely, multiple sets of nearly 500 cards, being rapidly changed … I doubt I will do it.
One has to know one’s weaknesses, right? My weaknesses include a disinclination to spend many hours hand-cutting cards, especially since it is so likely that I will have to redo one or many or even all of the cards, over and over again.
No. It will be the death of the game. I have to do better.
And I can! I’ve written a crappy throwaway program that can create a card image from my raw card designs. I haven’t yet given it the ability to read cards off of my spreadsheet, but I will, probably today.
Here’s a sample. Very ugly, but very playable:
Fighter is a simple card, I have to be able to handle the complex ones as well. So here is another example:
Slavers of the Shrieking Mines is one card that has every kind of text that may exist on any card, even “quest text” which I am not sure is going to remain part of the game; if I can print Slavers to fit then everything will fit.
This means I can modify cards in the spreadsheet where changes are super easy and can be applied to multiple cards at once, and regenerate the card images at will.
But there is still the printing thing. I’ve identified a couple of web-based services that assemble entire board games based on your design and then sell them at a premium (they keep the premium, it is their business model). If I can find one that lets me upload my images en masse then the entire solution is painless.
It means I will have to pay to get a testable set back, but the printing and card-cutting is definitely the hard part and I don’t expect it for free.
One obvious plus: I can change the cards at will, re-upload, re-order whenever the need presents. It will be easy to ensure the latest version is always the one online.
Another plus, but with a minus: this method means that I can distribute sets to anyone who wants to playtest by just providing a link. But playtesters will have to pay too, and that sort of sucks, I’d rather be able to give them the game for free. That is the one wrinkle I haven’t yet worked through. Nor do I have the complete cost yet.
But still, progress! And without hours and hours of handcrafting that I probably wouldn’t do anyway.
So that’s a good thing, right?
🙂 😀 🙂