Card Game Design: How to Design a Card Game

Designing and printing your own card game is one of the most fun things you can do with graphic design software and cardstock. There's no end to the wonderful card games you can design for yourself or print from a catalog to play at home. Graphic designers often experiment by designing decks of cards and original card games to help blossom creativity and share a final result of your artistic handiwork.

Whether you're a professional artist or a kindergarten teacher, it's not hard to design and print your own card game. Here's how to do it:

7 steps to print a custom card game deck

1) Design your card game

Choose the game you're going to make with the cards. This can be a playing card deck or a tarot deck. You can replace a damaged or missing card set for your Trivial Pursuit game or Monopoly box or you can design your very own card game.

For trading cards, make a list of action cards (ex: monster cards) and effect cards (ex: energy resistance and draw-two). Choose or create a unique image for every card, along with the details you want to print in the card's layout spaces.

2) Pick your graphic design software

Now that you have a card game in mind, choose your graphic design software. The best software allows you to work in layers and groups so you can design your entire card game deck at once, then separate the designs and print them one card at a time. CorelDRAW is designed to provide you the tools for a flexible and creative multi-medium project, including making your own card game.

3) Choose your back-face design

Most cards have a front face - the details, and a backface - the pattern. This is your chance to give your card game deck a personality. Choose a back-face design that is engaging and covers the card from edge to edge - or has a frame that hits the cut edges. Choose a bold and impactful pattern or a detailed illustration that is identical for every card.

4) Design your front-face card layout

Now design the layout for the front face of your cards. If this is an original game, you have a free hand with card design. If you are designing trading cards, use the usual stats, portrait, and details layout popular since Magic: The Gathering and the many offshoots of that design. For trading or tarot cards, create a design with the correct characters and symbols to make your deck complete.

5) Create an array design of your game cards

In your design software, lay out your deck front-face designs so you can see the complete set. Check your work, fine-tune the details, and make sure every element group is aligned on the card properly.

6) Print cards back and front

Once your card design is complete, print your cards on heavy cardstock paper, maybe even glossy paper, front-and-back. You'll want a printer that can do both or to reload your cardstock for each side. A Cricut can print and cut at the same time, depending on the model you buy.

7) Cut your cards free and play

Now that your cards are printed on cardstock, cut them free of their paper frames and get ready to play. Take your new card game deck for a spin. Find out if your rules are fun, if your card collection feels balanced, and if those printed cards hold up to the fidgety hands of card game players.

Ready to make your own card games and decks?

Making a deck of cards for a card game or a custom deck isn't as hard as it sounds. All you need is a great graphic design program and a vision of the deck you want to build. It's balancing the deck and rules of a brand new game that is your challenge for the day. And with this skill locked down, you'll be able to print and reprint your cards until your deck is exactly what you want.

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