So a few weeks ago I started a personal project, totally for fun. I started designing my own "Clue - The Detective Game" playing cards. I loved "Clue" as a kid, and played the game with my sisters very often.
Of course, the game has been done and redone by many artists over the years and each edition has it's own style and beauty. This experiment was about seeing what I could do with the game if I was given the chance. I wasn't commissioned for this and I only did 9 of the 18 original cards.
Designing Board Games
In the past, I have designed assets for many online games, but this was the first time designing cards for a board game, which was in some ways similar and in other ways different.
What's similar? The need for unity and harmony between the cards, you need to set your mind on a visual signature very early on and keep it while you're making each card. For that reason, I recommend sketching all the elements before starting to color anything. Also, after you've done sketching you can experiment with a few different colors and treatment. I like to do this, because it keeps me from doubting my choices later on during the process. Once you've settled on a way of doing things, it will be much easier and faster to go through coloring all the cards. Here's a few ideas on Scarlett's character. And the overall style I've chosen for the different types of cards.
What's different? Board games do not belong on a screen, but rather on your kitchen table surrounded by your friends, in your young and not so young hands! Because of that you interact very differently with them and the size and level of details are very important. While working on this project I kept going back and forth between a zoomed view and an actual size view of each card. That way I avoided working on details that would not show up later on, and saved a lot of time. I also kept and updated file of all the cards next to each other, to make sure they were consistent in style. Finally, contrast and colors are also big issues, and if I wanted to print these, I would probably have to test the colors until I found the best settings.
Not surprisingly design board games is a labor of the heart, because It's a long process that demands focus and vision. Surprisingly for me, as I usually prefer to draw characters, the room Cards were the most fun! Designing environment can be as fulfilling as designing a cool character! I definitely want to design more projects like this!
If you've read through this post... WOW, you're amazing! Thank you and feel free to comment below and let me know what you're up to! What's your current board game design project? What should I re-design next?