Using the Whole Buffalo

Now we get into some technical details. Whenever you’re making cards, you’re probably printing more than one of them on a sheet. This is one of those things that’s so obvious that it goes without saying, even when it should be said. I can name at least one entire game (the eleven-card Pico) that was created simply because there was space left on a card sheet in another project.

In our case, we need thirty-six cards to represent all dice combinations. It’d be good to also include a card you could stuff in the lower part of the deck to trigger a re-shuffle (to keep the last few cards from being entirely predictable). I happen to be thinking of printing through The Game Crafter, which at the time I was first thinking of this project used sixteen-card sheets. Okay, so it happens that they’ll soon be switching to eighteen-card sheets, which starts making just thirty-six cards look attractive again, but travel back in time with me here. Thirty-seven cards on three sheets leave a lot of wasted space. Eleven cards’ worth, in fact. What can we do with that (aside from re-publishing Pico)?

domino cardWell, another game accessory that looks an awful lot like a pair of dice is a domino. The cards we’re already planning on cover twenty-one out of the twenty-eight that appear in a set of double-six dominos. So, we could include that feature for zero extra cost of goods. This also helps with the previously mentioned problem of the narrow scope of the project. It supports more experiences, plus a portable domino set makes the whole project not just an expansion to other games.

Sure, this is all pretty basic. But I think it’s a good simple example of a broadly-applicable design principle. In the end, we’re looking at making real usable objects with tools that have their own constraints and affordances. In this case it’s a printing method, but it’s always something, and that always influences the design process.

One side note: I spent some time fixing the white points on the photos I took, so the white die now looks white and not pale grey. The grey background looks better by contrast. I only mention it because it’s something I learned about photography in the course of this project. Yay, learning!

Next: I don’t know; do the indices throw the balance of the cards off a bit? Would it look bad to also have another index over the shadow in the lower right, or should I move the background image a bit? Maybe I’ll just make ice cream.

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