Strolling down memory lane reviewing the conspiracy cards was a lot of fun for us.  We thought that they had a lot of change over time.  We were completely amazed when we took a look at where the Action cards started.

In the beginning…

The first run of the Action cards made it quickly evident we had our work cut out for us. Though the design of the cards were fairly straight forward for a testing of the game, some of the core elements had some surprising outcomes:

  • Far too many unique Action cards
  • A different name on every card, even if they did the same action
  • Unique quotes on every card
  • Insanely overpowered cards
  • Cards that were more useful as compost

These ideas made us feel like geniuses in development. But, in practical purposes, they turned out to be confusing and not intuitive in the slightest to players that were not us. Thus began an ongoing struggle with the Action cards: The text describing what the card actually did. This would be something we fought with through every iteration of the game.

Thematic Change

Similar to the Conspiracy cards, the Action cards received a major revamp to the style to fit more with the thematic elements of the game. This overhaul consolidated the type of Action cards into the final 3 categories of Swap, Reveal and Reaction. It also had a unexpected side effect of greatly reducing the number of different card types within these categories. Despite this greatly improved graphical overhaul play testers alike still felt something was “off” about the cards. We didn’t disagree.

Getting Closer

While still in a wrestling match with Action card wording, a graphical change on the back of the cards was made. At first, we were very excited about the change and really felt we had the final version. The more we play tested and evaluated the feedback, the more we knew it still needed some revising.

I think we’ve got it!

We knew something needed to be done. But, it took some time to figure it out. The most consistent feedback we received was how the cards looked  There was also a lot of confusion around how to know what the card was, when it could be used, and who it could be used against.

The solution to these problems came when Brent was play testing with his brother who is a programmer. He was able to us break it down each part into different segments on the card.

Along with a greatly enhanced thematic feel to the card, this major change resulted in greatly improved game play through the addition of:

  • Different coloured backgrounds for each category of Action card to quickly identify the type of action
  • A unique graphical representation of unique card type
  • Large and easily spotted identifiers indicating when and against who a card may be used

Finalizing the Cards

Much like the Conspiracy cards, we knew the back of the cards just didn’t fit the theme. Replacing this design was a top priority. The new design fit the feel of the game and removed the “clip-art” style art. A few other minor tweaks that were made were removing the border on the front of the cards and adding iconography to further help identify the cards.

The Action cards seemed to be at a point where we are confident in the design on both the front and back of the cards. We were also happy to find the feedback from our most recent play testing confirmed we had the final version of the card.

What did we learn?

We learned that communicating ideas in a limited amount of space without causing confusion is more difficult than it looks!

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