May 6, 2009

RPG Card Face Improvement

On the left is the classic Demonic Adder from the Tomb of the Lich Lord set, on the right is the RPG version. Making revisions is always hard, in particular something as important as an established interface design. But the classic card face design has been needing an overhaul for some time.

When I first designed the card face my main concern was showing art much larger than your typical fantasy card game had. In this end I bled the art behind the text. While I thought I was being clever, it made creating the art extremely challenging. Every composition had to have an enormous "dead space" that didn't compete with the text. In addition that space had to be dark, since the text was always white. This has hung on my neck like an albatross through the various sets.

Since the RPG is such a radical departure, I wanted to make the cards distinctive as well. This is an RPG that uses cards - not just another Dungeoneer XCG set. So I took the opportunity to redesign the face. I've posted earlier versions of this design, but this has been polished even more. The mechanical information is all grouped together now and there is more detail. This time I show it side by side with it's XCG counterpart so that you can see the RPG is 100% compatible.

I'm not saying this is the final design - I may play with the art to text ratio a bit more, there probably is room for larger art, the text hear is still a bit large. But I like the legibility.

One improvement you may notice is the text stating "inflicts 1 wound" is gone. It has been replaced with a little "hit" symbol next to the stat. This cleans up the card as well as providing better information. The other thing you may notice is that I've been enhancing the melee/magic/speed symbols. These are still being worked on, but I feel these are more contemporary in their quality.

Here is another classic card, Spell Focus:

In this one you may notice the border is green instead of blue. This is because we found that generally the Boon/Bane/Encounter/Treasure identification was clear enough by the symbol placed next to the playtime - duration - category text, and that the Peril/Glory identification was critical on first glance.


  1. While I'd love to see as much art as possible, I understand that some of it ends up being dead space anyway. I also like the old portrait orientation more then landscape. Have you considered leaving the flavour text on the art and using a smaller text box for gameplay text only?

  2. The art space does need to be larger - or "portrait" as you are saying. However, I really want to avoid putting text over art ever again. On this design the art is actually slightly zoomed in more (larger, but cropped) since the horizontal space is wider than the original design.

    This isn't the final design, it is a work in progress - so I appreciate this feedback!

  3. two simply questions....
    How many cards in RPG will be similar to XCG?
    And...why don't use the existing XCG (writing only a specific rule book) to convert it into the RPG?

  4. The final card list isn't settled yet, but most of the cards will be new.

    It can use the existing XCG.

  5. I hope you leave a lot more space for art. The large artwork is one of the reasons i like dungeoneer

  6. Oh so you are just showing examples of older cards in the new rpg, and most of the 220 cards will be new. So you can use your dungeoneer cards with the new rpg?

  7. Also what happened to early 2008 for this? What is the release date targetted for now?

  8. Well, I'd have to time travel to release it in 2008.

    As I've often said, I'm more concerned with quality than deadlines at this point.

  9. "As I've often said, I'm more concerned with quality than deadlines at this point"

    You say this since 2007. How about at least a 2011 relase?