Fonts needed for a Fallout style cardgame
November 14, 2011 7:59 AM   Subscribe

What fonts to use for a Fallout, art deco, post-apocalyptic style Boardgame?

Heya all,

I am in the process of developing a 1-4 player co-operative cardgame called AtomPunk.

It is a Magic The Gathering style cardgame but co-operative instead of versus. Players take control of a collumn of 5 Caravan elements and try and progress to the end land while surviving the ravages of a post-apocalyyptic nuclear wastes. Lots of mutants, steampunk, bandits, Firefly-like space cowboyness, trains, and wastelands.

art-deco; retro-future; pin-up glam; post-apocalyptic; *punk

I need a choice of cool fonts to use for game cards and manuals that help emphaisze the theme and I KNOW you guys rock at fonts.
posted by Cogentesque to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I think it would really help if you could suggest a year in which your apocalypse occured. The imagery you're using suggests some sort of strange 1890s/1950s crossover, which may make selecting typefaces particularly hard. What looks right in one context may just look like a weird anachronism in another.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 8:07 AM on November 14, 2011

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posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:18 AM on November 14, 2011

My method is to expose myself to a lot of images and works in the theme, until my head is hammering with all the kinds of fonts they use in unexpected and delightful ways, then I go to one of those websites with thousands of free fonts, and systematically scroll through them all, grabbing all that apply. I find that doing this, I find great fonts that would never ping my radar otherwise, and I get much more exciting fonts, because they're ones that wouldn't have occurred to me to use them in XYZ way except that I've very recently been exposed to such great work that I spot and find the potential in fonts slightly off the beaten trail, and thus perhaps even more potent. (Also, this way the fonts are all free :)

If you haven't done it already, get the movie Zathura.

It involves an art-deco atom-age board game, and the art and typography of the game and cards are just fantastic. There are a fair few shots and close-ups that linger on these props, you'll find it inspiring, and it'll give some great ideas for what to look for in fonts.

If you're familiar with Fallout, you've probably also checked out Bioshock as another source of great retro-scifi art-deco art and typography to check out.

But yeah - just drown your brain in awesome images and art for an hour or two, then spend and hour or two trolling though free fonts. You'll find great stuff.
posted by -harlequin- at 8:45 AM on November 14, 2011

Even just within Fallout 3 and New Vegas, there is a huge variety of styles. You've got the very plain text on the RobCo terminals in the game, the very Western-looking Sunset Sarsaparilla logo, the futuristic-looking Poseidon Energy and Helios One logos, and so on. Even on the New Vegas loading screens there are a huge number of type designs on the skill magazines and books shown, and on the PLEASE STAND BY loading screen from FO3. So finding one or two fonts that scream "Fallout" is going to really depend on what people remember best from the game. Might be best just to stick with the title screen text?

While the text used throughout Bioshock is very, very art-deco, I don't think it fits at all with the feel of Fallout.
posted by xedrik at 9:25 AM on November 14, 2011

Are you looking for a font to purchase or a free font?

I haven't played your game or seen the artwork, but based on your description maybe look for an aerodynamic/pre-space age/modernist/1930s sort of font like Neon Stream or ITC Stoclet?

Wandering around might help, if only to help narrow down the basic type of font.
posted by fiercekitten at 6:44 PM on November 14, 2011

Hmm..lots of advice to find fonts - but only two actual font ideas? Thank you so much everyone for your help though :D

Yes the game's timeline is:
After the end of WW2 and in the run up to the cold war - the bombs dropped.

People scatterd into shelters to avoid the radio fallout and have since emerged many (100s of?) years later and started to build humanity back up. Some cold war tech had time to continue creation and development in some super high tech bunkers, and some people have been taught the ways of old from there forefathers. Others have found technical manuals and the like in technology.

Thus we have a lovely coming together of many technological periods:
The steam age as humanity is starting afresh and of course steam power is the most simple and effective to rebuild with.
The retro-future as per the old science and future magazines: "WORLD OF TOMORROW!" kind of art deco stuff. The bunkers that continued research have gone down this path
Mad Max'ian Wasteland given a fallout wasteland junk world where some tech is salvaged from old, some is bolted on to others etc.

So the main kind of fonts I am after are really nice kind of old-art deco fonts mixed with WW2 propaganda, trashed out "Petes Fuel Emporium" signs, neon sign fonts all with a : very very "retro feel" about them.

Thank you for everyones help so far :)

If anyone has any specific fonts they wouldn't mind suggesting that would be REALLy handy :)
posted by Cogentesque at 3:13 AM on November 15, 2011

I've heard the term 'raygun gothic' used to describe the Fallout series. A search for 'raygun gothic font' brings up fonts like this.
posted by liquidindian at 4:38 AM on November 15, 2011

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