No art skills? No problem! Part 2

Part 1 here: https://chrisjonesgaming.biz/no-art-skills-no-problem-part-1/ 

In part 2, we’ll be using Excel, and the updated version of MS paint (Paint 3d)

Paint 3D

Open up paint 3d! You want to go to the Canvas tab, and switch the sizing from pixels to percent. Type in 30 for the width. Or you can put in the exact pixel size for your card. Pokemon cards are 718 x 1000 pixels.

Step 1

Next, click back to the brushes, select your color and use the bucket (fill) tool on your canvas!

Step 2

To help figure out what you want, and where, it’s helpful to outline with rectangles! Go to 2D shapes, Pick the rectangle option, drag a corner to grow to the size you want. Then, adjust your line thickness and color to your preference! If the rectangle is a whole shape, you can change it to an outline by changing the fill option to none.

Step 3

Instead of repeatedly clicking on the 2D shapes, you can use the clone tool. Click the left-most option, and drag the new shape to modify it as you wish!

Step 4

Next, play around with the text options! Make sure to click on the letter “T” in the option bar before clicking where you want to place the text.

Step 5

Adding the Image: Go to the Sticker tab, and click add sticker. This uses the images on your device, so you’d have to download the applicable images.

Alternatively, you can also copy + paste an image from online using your keyboard shortcuts.

Step 6

Save to your computer!

Step 7

Excel

Open up a new tap, and put in what text you want first! Make sure you have some space between the text. make sure there are two rows before the first line.

Step 1

Next, use the numbered and lettered rows and columns to adjust the sizes en-mass. Make A and skinny- this will be the space between the edge of the card and the text.

Step 2

Select A2:C8, and use the bucket tool to fill the whole block in! This will be your base color!

Step 3

Next, select your text, and use the square button (it’s between the U and the bucket tool), and select the thick, outlined border.

Step 4

Select your card, and copy and paste it as much as you’d like! Then, select the lettered columns that correspond  with the space-filling areas. Adjust the size of one, and it will affect the other highlighted columns.

Step 5

Repeat for the horizonal rows, including the text and description boxes.

Step 6

Fill in and Print!!!

Step 7

No art skills? No problem! Part 1

No art skills? No problem! If you want to create a card game, and you can do everything except draw, this is for you!

One thing you can do is use other cards as an example, like pokemon cards, Magic cards, or any other game who’s aesthetic you like. If you have physical cards that you no longer care about, you can use white-out on individual lines, or white paint to cover the card.  That way, you can write out the information on the cards!

I will show some ways to design cards on your computer!

Let’s start with two classics- MSPaint and Microsoft Word!

MSPaint

Step 1

Open up a new canvas. Use the bottom right corner to drag to the size you want. Use the Bucket to fill in with a color you want.

Step 2

Use the box-drawing tool to map out where you want the different parts to go (title, image, description). Save a copy of this so you can make as many cards as you want from this base.

Step 3

Write what you want in the boxes you’ve made using the text tool. make sure to click the bottom option if you want the back ground color to show through.

Step 4

If you can’t make an image, find one! Search for what you want, and make sure to select “transparent” in the color options if you wan the background to peek through. If you plan on selling the game, click “Usage rights” and select “creative commons”.

Step 5

Copy and Paste your image onto the card using the left click options.

Final Product

Save your image and admire it! Make as many as you’d like!

Word

Bored in your at-home office? Use your work tools for play! Open a new document and follow along….

Step 1

Click the “Insert” tab. Click on “Smart art”, then choose the kind of diagram that best fits what you want on the card. Hit “Ok”

Step 2

Fill in the cards with the information you want! You can also play around with colors +styles.

Step 3

For a card outline/aesthetic: Go to the insert tab, hit “Shapes”. Choose any of the rectangle options (I recommend the rounded kind). Then, adjust the size to fit over what you’ve done.

Step 4

Click on the “Shape format” tab.  You can play around with colors here! Click “Shape fill”, select “No fill”. This will give you the outline of your card! Then, if you want a different thickness for the outline, select “weight”, and then click on the number you want. Then, copy and paste your new shape, and move it over to the other Smart-art section.

Step 5

Go to the “Home” tab, and find the “Select” options. Select the drop-down, and hit “Select All”.

Copy the selection. Click below the cards you have and find the typing cursor ( I). Hit the Enter key until there is space after the cards. Paste your selection!

Step 6

Adjust your new cards until you’re happy, and then Print!

Tada!

How to make a card game with tokens and extended gameplay

Step 1

Brainstorm!

Decide on a theme, idea or concept that you want to explore.

Step 2

Decide on a Game end goal/ how one wins the game.

This is where counters come in. How many does one need to win? Are they part of winning, or do you use them to retrieve other cards?

Counter examples: Health points in  Pokemon, a way to get assets in Netrunner, A way to count round victories (and bets in general) in Mahjong.

For the game I’m creating as an example, A certain number of each kind of token (Division and Romance) is needed to win the game.

Me trying to figure out the end goal + playstyle

Step 3

Balance in these kinds of games can be tricky.

I suggest using existing proportions from other things as a guide. For example, using the way currency is divided as a basis for card-to-token ratios. Nickels to Dimes to Quarters (20:10:4), as token type 1: token type 2: total cards, if you don’t mind having numbered tokens (or just a whole pile of them).  For the Example, to figure out how much of each type of card I wanted, I played off of the  average number of fic tags on any one work, and decided that balancing between 7 and 12 might do me good. Again, there’s no need to worry; play time with the game will help figure out the kinks, or even talking about the design with other potential players.

Handwriting,,, ugh
A look at me trying to figure out what I wanted the proportions to look like, with some name brainstorming at the top

Step 4

Design the cards.

The key to games that require reading is to make sure your font is legible for all your players. Using Dyslexic-friendly fonts, and making sure that the text is at a good size, especially if your players are on the older side.

Color-coding your cards can help distinguish them. Since tokens are involved, it can help to add any symbols on the tokens to the corresponding cards.

I used excel to help me with this step!

Color coding

A sampling of card names + some descriptions-in-progress

BOXES
The ruler on the top of this page was especially helpful in designing these

 

How to make a Feats-Based RPG

What are Feats?

Feats are, boiled down, unique actions or abilities that one can do/have. A game that relies on feats over anything else generally has less reliance on stats or items, and is more about the imagery that comes from a more verbally-based adventure. Some videogames have them as part of a “talent tree”, in that feats have to be unlocked in  a certain order. In these games, some trees are blocked off if you’ve chosen a certain role or path. Games can use feats to boost base skills, or allow more flexibility in the actions your character can take.

Why Feats?

Feats let players do another level of customization, and lets them use something that isn’t for numbers, necessarily. Feats can allow for more fun and can create unique Interactions between other characters and the environment around them.

How do I make ’em? 

Feats tend to have limits of their usage in a certain time frame. That can help with balance in your game. A much stronger/ impressive feat will be given a longer time between uses than some thing simpler/weaker.  One can also have a limit per game of times each feat (or all feats as a whole) can be used.

You can bring Balance to your game through keeping things consistent, watching the usefulness of the feats, and allowing the feats to have in-game importance. Consistency can refer to the description used; keeping the feats at a similar level of power and/or versatility will help keep the players at a compatible level. Usefulness is also a factor in balance and also, consistency. Are your feats tied directly to the gameplay? Are they more for Aesthetic purposes? How you choose to integrate those will be based on the type of play you and your players are looking for. A more light-hearted game for comedy reasons may choose to have silly, more aesthetic-based feats, that do more for conversation than plot, because that is what players are looking for. 

Themes:

Themed around subject: What is unique to the chosen genre? What can only be done or be seen in the genre you choose? What tropes do you enjoy that can be integrated into your game?

Themed around the character’s species, for example, if the character is a merperson(triton, mermaid, generally aquatic),  a feat can be “Once a day, the player can issue a command to nearby lake or sea creature. The creature must do a wisdom saving throw of at least 15 to resist”. The feat is unique to the specie’s upbringing and environment, and can lend flavor to an encounter.

Themed around the character’s job. Things that only that particular class can do, even split into subgroups of effect types. For example, a wizard. A Wizard feat could be being able to duplicate a spell, or change the effect type from fire to ice. Subgroup examples include: feats that effect weapons, feats that affect the Player, feats that affect other players/NPCs, feats that effect the environment.

Your game can be themed around the players. People enjoy things that are unique to them; it makes them feel empowered and even loved! Including something specific about those that you care about can be a way to make that connection be brimming with joy, adding a sparkle in their day!

What do I actually write down?

At the heart of it, you want a name and a description.

The name should be an accurate summary that piques the interest of the player.

The Description should be clear and concise.

It can be helpful to add in any identifying traits (like if the feat is specific to the species/job) beside the name.

How to make your own card game

How to make a card game from concept to completion

What do you enjoy in the card games that you play? What will entice others to play?

For this example, I tried to create a card game that my friends would play. They enjoy relatively simple games, that one can do while talking or conversing. I chose Uno to be the base game, as all agreed that that was their favorite game.

I like the aesthetic of tarot cards, so I also added in their number system (1-10, then page, knight, queen, and king).

I chose a theme, next. I enjoyed the tiktok trend of “vaguely terrifying beasts as pests that just bother you occasionally” as the theme, and boiled down their appearance to “Oblong form in mask”. Simplifying the appearance of the card’s design increases it’s readability. Making your images overly complex can confuse your players (or yourself when coloring them).

After deciding on those, it’s time to design the cards!

I chose to match the number of the figures to the number on the card, to keep it consistent visually. Other options include making the numbers of objects equal to the value of the card (ordinary 52-card deck), creating symbolism to match the value (most tarot cards), or even just putting the value of the card as the main focus (a-la- UNO).

Consistency is key to make sure the players can distinguish different groups of cards from each other while still recognizing it as part of the group.

Matching color-schemes or patterns is the common route to solve that problem!

For mine, each group (distinguished by color) has its own pattern as well. To make sure that all the cards -regardless of color- are read as from the same game/set, I used the same line-art for the base. Making all the figures the same helps tie the card set together.

The video has the rest of the process!

Dungeon design in DnD: The Rooms, Hallways, and the bits between your players and the Boss

A home is not an empty house; even the most neat space still has stuff in it. In Dnd,  the problem is how to describe a space without tripping up your players, while maintaining the atmosphere you want.

Where is this place going to be? Will you build the building around the location? Will you develop the building based on its occupant? Both?

Think about what people would need to live in your chosen location. For example: A Cult that lives below ground; where do they get their food? What do they do for entertainment? What do they find important in their cult, and what kind of space does that occupy? In that case, you could add in pantries, game rooms, a few sacrificial alters in front of a statue with it’s own room, a space for priests in the cult, a space for digging tools, an area for certain building or support materials, and some sort of path to remove dirt that’s been freshly dug.

Even with just this, there’s already a map being developed.

To build a place around its occupants can be more complex than just location-based design. For example, If you have archers in your castle, you’d want the tall, thin windows and battlements that will protect them; however, non-European cultures tend to use mounted archers (those on horses) more often, so the buildings in those areas don’t account for defense-based archery.

More simply, you can examine the origin and design of your boss, and what pieces of architecture would accentuate those traits. an Eldritch beast would call for a dark and imposing building, with heavy materials, the tall ceilings oozing with foreboding shadows, and stained glass windows alluding to something far beyond the Players’ knowledge. There is also a need to consider the atmosphere you’re trying to create, and creating a moodboard (a selection of images associated with what emotions you want to convey) can help.

For the individual rooms, you can search up a list of items created in the era you wish (for more historically-inspired pieces), or a list of items found in books or media for the location (for sci-fi or high fantasy). You can also review your list of occupants and wonder about what they might need for daily life, and then scatter about these items.

To spice up the interior, you can add in Furniture! Use words that can describe the atmosphere or boss as well. The furniture a person has can tell you something about them. A “bone-thin chair with a black metal back” has a much different vibe than a “warm, plush couch, made of quilted velvet”. A visible lack of furniture can set up an atmosphere of barrenness, or even when placed in context, an air of suspiciousness.  Furniture can be minimalistic, decorated, homely, and can help set up your atmosphere as well as any sounds made by a you-tube playlist.

The materials used in the room can also give it flavor. Describing types of stone using their textures or appearances, or using the wallpaper to its maximum effect. Add in color-meanings or flower symbology to tell the story of the place or its inhabitants. How well-maintained are the rooms? Do people care about the place they’re in?

You can also Give clues about your Boss in main rooms. Shed skin for scaly beasts, the odd hair or piece of fur, or even a closet with the Boss’ preferred outfits. Does your Boss have a particular diet, or habits that are unique to their species or situation?

All of the above can be used to world-build in a way can be as subtle (or dramatic) as you’d like!

Have fun designing!

A Total War Saga: Troy

Total Way Troy logo

A Total War Saga: Troy is SEGA and Creative Assembly’s newest entry in the Total War series. It’s currently out on the Epic Games store and will be coming to Steam in August 2021. The game takes place during the battle between the Greek kingdoms of Troy and Mycenae from the Bronze Age. This would make it the oldest era that Total War has ever centered a game around. This game takes a few pages out of the successful Total War: Three Kingdoms, where it is largely based off of historical events, but there are also many heroes that have legendary strength and participate in legendary battles. 

Fight for Greece

This game holds the central Total War experience in tact while taking us to the oldest time period we’ve seen yet. Fans of Total War: Rome 2 that purchased the Greek States culture pack might find themselves with a sense of déjà vu, as the entire map is now centered around Greece, with numerous hellenic units as the stars of the show in this game. The battles in the campaign will be focused on brutal combat that you’d expect from an ancient battle. Huge battalions comprised of swordsmen, spearmen, cavalry, archers, and various other warriors need to be used strategically in order to achieve victory. But battles only make up half the war. In order to grow your empire and repel foreign invaders, you must also effectively navigate your nation’s politics, your economy, your infrastructure, your food supply, your population, your diplomatic endeavors, and various other obstacles that might get in the way of your expansion towards total Greek domination. Like every modern Total War game, Troy has come out with their infamous “gore” DLC, where players can pay a small fee for a bloody version of the game.

The strategic view of the game's map
Like every Total War game, the player switches from a map of the entire conquerable world to individual battles.

The Blessing of the Gods

More like TW: Three Kingdoms than TW: Rome 2, TW: Troy introduces individual characters that are heroes and can have an enormous influence over certain battles. Total War has always had respect for historical figures such as Julias Caesar or Attila the Hun, but they were still treated as human beings that weren’t capable of battling hundreds of men at once. Three Kingdoms provided a “romance” version of the game, where players could choose to deviate a bit from historical accuracy and allow their generals to become far more powerful. Influential figures in historical China now had the ability to take out entire platoons of enemy forces all on their own. While this might not have been terribly historically accurate, it provided the player with a fun way to become even more personally invested in the life and growth of their top generals. The Total War series has been following a trend of deviating from history, as some of their most successful titles have ended up being the only games that have zero reference to historical events, Total War: Warhammer 1 & 2. In Troy, you can see legendary heroes like Achilles engage in an epic battle with the opposing general as the rest of the soldiers duke it out on the battlefield. Because this game is inspired by Homer’s Iliad, this ends up playing well into the overall campaign that the game presents to the player. If you’re interested in experiencing Total War in the Bronze Age, give the newest iteration of the series a try.

#SEGA #TotalWar #Troy #rts

A battle between warriors
Generals have the power to beat down waves upon waves of enemy soldiers.