There Is Literally No Reason You Can’t Make Your Own Card Game

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Many chords were struck by our feature on Creature Cards, the DIY card game a couple clever boys created after they couldn’t afford Pokémon. In the talkback, readers shared plenty of fun stories of the times they’d likewise been forced–or merely inspired–to make up their own games. People could definitely relate, and from a lot of different angles, too. Our hearts swelled at the response, really, and we want to share a few awesome comments…

“My parents would not let me play D&D, so I made my own role playing game. The great thing is that it included the games Final Fantasy, Diablo, Spawn, Rifts, Dragon Ball Z, and much more. It was a ton of fun, and I spent most of my boring classes in high school writing and refining the rules, the classes, the spells, etc.” James Christian Erickson

“In elementary school, my best friend and I created our own dungeon adventure board game. We cut out different tile pieces out of cardboard, they resembled Tetris shapes. You would start your character (a Digimon figurine) in the far corner of a huge piece of posterboard, grab a tile and lay it down. Then, you’d roll a D6 to see how far you move, then a D20 to see what happened at your tile. The random encounters were Yu-Gi-Oh cards for monsters, equipment, and events. It worked pretty well. The objective was to find the treasure, which was just hitting a certain card in the Yu-Gi-Oh deck, and then escaping.” Hunter Snapp

“My youngest brother came up with a complete dog version of the Star Wars saga called Pup Wars when he was like eight. So, my other brother and I made a complete hand-drawn Pup Wars CCG for him for his birthday that year, with special characters, items, planets, interrupts, the works. Don’t know if he or my mom still has the decks somewhere twenty years later…” Kyle Rowan

“When I was a kid, I went to a summer camp and we were all a little too young for D&D. But we brought notebooks and someone would come up with a story and we would create rules for what we called the Paper Game, where we drew little figures for someone’s army and they could move a certain amount of spaces, take a certain amount of hits and deal a certain amount of damage. Little did we know, we were playing D&D without having D&D.” Kevin Michael Pinaha 

The last story, in particular, stresses how that ever-ethereal substance of imagination matters most in all RPGs, big and small. End of the day, the cards and everything else are only there to guide it, no?

The question was raised, though: how feasible would a proper, professional update for Creature Cards be? Turns out, the barriers between conception and creation aren’t actually that insurmountable. Granted, there’s no one-stop shop for game making, but a good place to start is this interview with Jordan Goddard, the co-creator of the Kickstarter-funded Collapse. He offers simple, useful tips on the importance of testing, the best time to bring in artists, and the basic rubric for a game being any good. More than anything, though, Goddard stresses that it’s all much more accessible than it seems.

If you’ve got your cards designed already, you ought turn to the straightforwardly-named Make Playing Cards. This print-on-demand service exists to make pro-level cards, with over 25,000 decks pressed (as of writing). And even if you haven’t got cards drawn up, MPC offers templates to make the design stage that much easier. Of course, if it still seems too hard, perhaps you ought to go totally digital and look into Game Salad. Just as Dreamweaver simplifies the art of web design, this app makes it quite easy for anybody to create app-based games. If you’ve always wanted to be a master game builder, you don’t have an excuse to get started today.

Do you have an idea for a great card game? Show us any games you’ve created recently in the talkback. Or better yet, show them after you’ve used these services. We’d love to spotlight them!

Featured Image Credit: MPC

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