I have a friend named Dan, and he is a big goofball sometimes. He is always being such a ham for any camera around, and plenty of digital memories had been tucked away of him. Dan and Alex, my partner in crime, often reminisced on the card game Magic the Gathering, having played it in their youth. With Dan's birthday approaching, Alex and I got cracking on the ultimate birthday present. To celebrate him, we decided to immortalize him.
To learn to make a card game, we played as many existing games as we could. Games like Magic the Gathering, Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh, and World of Warcraft were games that emulated the type of card game we wanted to make. Something strategic, but not too complicated. Tabletop games were studied and played as well, since they are heavily tactical and offered an interesting variation in gameplay.
Organizing the whole project was a problem at first. It was difficult to find a starting point, since we were so eager to start everywhere and anywhere. We knew they wanted to make cards for Dan, and it needed to be more than just cards. This should be game to enjoy with each other, so that there may be a reason to pull them out time to time. I started Dan's transformation to a card, and Alex started developing a clear structure for each card.
Dan's card game started to take shape. Each card was developed first as a rough idea. It was not difficult to think of cards and their identity; Dan provided plenty of inspiration. Things he said, things he did, whether on purpose or naturally, were all free game on making each card. Every card was also assigned a stat, or an element representing game play parts, such as health, damage, cost, and type. These are common elements found in other card games. Test games were played, and results were recorded and rules changed. It quickly became apparent which cards were too strong when one player started sweating profusely when a particular card was played.
As soon as the elements to each card were ironed out, Alex continued designing the card layout. It was decided to differentiate the types of cards (attack, defense, summon, equipment, enchantment) not only with written identification, but with color coding as well. This helps a player visually organize their cards as they develop strategy for their gameplay.
I finished Dan's transformation to card heroes. Themes were already decided upon, and appropriate pictures were chosen and picked at to drive how each illustration turned out. Again, Dan provided so much inspiration with his personality that the most difficult thing to accomplish as to settle on only one picture to use for each instance.
In the end, 33 unique cards which made a 50 card deck were made. Alex and I printed and hand-prepared two sets of the deck, and named the game A&A (Action and Adventure) for comedic effect. They presented these to Dan and he immediately fell in love with them. It was a happy ending.