One down, and about a million to go. :P

With the game board design more or less locked down (it still might change, but I doubt it), my designer and I have moved on to the next task. In this case, the next thing to tackle is the card backs.

Manaforge has four decks of cards, currently named 'morning', 'afternoon', 'evening', and 'character'. The first three decks are item cards, while the fourth contains the player powers.

So we need to come up with designs for the card backs that go along with the other visual elements. The problem is, I really don't have any good starting point for these. The way I see it, there are four possible goals for the item card backs:

1) Thematic coherency: The cards represent items, but when you're looking at the card backs, that means the cards are in the draw pile, and represent items that haven't been built yet. So having the backs look like instructions for building an item, or incomplete magic items, would work.
2) Conveying story: The backs of the cards must indicate which of the three decks they belong to. On top of that, the games scenario dictates that the events of the game happen over the course of one day. So, the first deck is what can be built early in the day, the second deck in the middle, and the third at the end. (Hence the deck names.) So the backs of the cards could represent the phases of the day. Sunrise, noon, sunset. Maybe images of the sun with various colors and locations relative to the horizon.
3) Visual consistency: The backs of the cards should have the same general color scheme as the game board. Light, parchment beige colors in the middle, with red leather and/or brown wood around the edges. Lots of ideas could work here; small leather-bound books or rolled up parchment scrolls on a table come to mind.
4) Tension: The backs of the cards must push the idea that the game is not unlimited. As the cards are dealt out, the card back on top of the draw pile changes. The backs must help to convey a sense of urgency; the day is getting shorter, the magic requirements are becoming more demanding, the items are becoming more powerful.

The first three goals, in particular, seem to be somewhat exclusive. Take any two and you could find an idea that might work. But all three? I haven't figured that out yet. At least the fourth goal should be relatively easy to hit.

And that's not even counting the character cards, which might need a separate design entirely. (The character cards, viewed from the front, are oriented wide instead of tall. The backs will probably reflect that.)

This might take a few tries. :P


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