The most basic of playing cards
August 12, 2017 1:10 AM   Subscribe

I want to print out a deck of playing cards for a game that's pretty much in Shitty First Draft mode. I don't need to be fancy - I'm happy to print stuff on regular paper, cut it up, and paste it onto regular cards if needed. How should I do so?

I'm thinking a template would be handy so I can get the proportions right. Which templates are good for adapting regular playing cards for this purpose?

Is there another way I could do this? I've got a little over 100 cards to set up.
posted by divabat to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (13 answers total)
I'd do it like this.

Make a template in your favorite graphics program or editor that you're comfortable with. Poker playing cards are 3.5" x 2.5" and bridge cards are 3.5" x 2.25" in size. Pick the size you like and fit as many "boxes" onto a single printable sized sheet as possible. Place your shitty first draft content into the cards. Then print out the images onto cardstock (I've even managed this with a 10+ year old laser printer, so you don't need super special capabilities here.) Then cut the cards using a simple paper cutter designed for scrapbookers and a hobby punch that rounds the corners.
posted by xyzzy at 2:15 AM on August 12, 2017

Easiest way to do this is to skip the paste and just put playing cards in plastic sleeves. Print out your cards on paper that's a bit smaller and slide them into the same sleeves so that the playing cards act as backing.
posted by Paragon at 3:28 AM on August 12, 2017

Old post on board game designers forum should give you a start. Or just print on business card stock if they don't need to be full sized. Avery has templates.
posted by evilmomlady at 4:30 AM on August 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm thinking a template would be handy so I can get the proportions right.

Go over to the Cards Against Humanity website. You can download their first series in PDF form to print out for free. That should make for a good template.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:18 AM on August 12, 2017

Seconding the plastic sleeve and/or card stock ideas, because mounting them will be time consuming. Have you checked online for free template? Here's one for Word, if that's more your speed.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:30 AM on August 12, 2017

I've checked online for templates but I don't have Word - I have OpenOffice and Google Docs, as well as GIMP. Also a lot of templates are single-card only; I was hoping for one with multiple cards per sheet.

(I'm in Australia if that helps narrow down some options)
posted by divabat at 5:33 AM on August 12, 2017

Googles first hit for "Playing card templates" I would assume that open office can handle these. If you're going to be working on making this into something more polished down the line, I would highly suggest just using Illustrator or Indesign; they mostly work off of subscriptions now, so you can just buy by the month. Reworking projects like this (100 cards) would be kind of a pain to make them more polished down the line, or produce them in any number in a program not designed for it.

For rough draft purposes, could the cards be printed slightly smaller, like business card sized? most office supply or craft stores will sell perforated cut cards on a regular sized sheet of paper. The cardstock is usually kind of not great, but if you're just rough drafting this that might work? Here in the states Avery sells these perforated sheets and had templates for all of them for free on their website.

Also if you're deciding to scale up eventually (like a small production run) I don't have any AUS resources specifically, but there are companies here in the states like Moo who do business cards in weird sizes, their pricing is pretty good, and they do small runs very well. I'm sure there are services like this in Australia.
posted by furnace.heart at 7:35 AM on August 12, 2017

You could buy labels and stick them on to cards. Most playing cards are plastic-coated, so glue will be a hassle. If you buy labels, they probably have a template you can use. Standard poker card is 2.5 x 3.5, so a slightly smaller label should work well.
posted by theora55 at 9:17 AM on August 12, 2017

If you have a scanner you can simply take a sheet of paper and use a card to trace or draw a grid, then import it into gimp and use that as a template layer.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:21 AM on August 12, 2017

Using labels or perforated/break apart cards will save a heck of a lot of cutting time. If that wouldn't work, printing on blank sheets of sticker paper (Avery has them for sure, if they're in Australia) would also solve the glue problem. And I second that gluing on plastic coated cards will be a PITA unless maybe you a xyron or similar adhesive.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:31 AM on August 12, 2017

If this is for rapid prototyping/iterating on your design, you could get some card sleeves or deck protectors for Magic The Gathering cards, and put in cards printed on regular printer paper, cut with scissors to be the right size.

The sleeves have a bit of rigidity, and can feel like normal cards. The paper inserts don't have to be cut perfectly, but your whole deck will feel consistent. You can easily swap and change the contents of the card by sliding the paper in and out. And they're inexpensive ($10USD for 200) and available worldwide, thanks to the popularity of magic.
posted by suedehead at 10:30 AM on August 12, 2017 [4 favorites]

When we prototype, we do as suedehead suggestions.
posted by BrashTech at 8:23 AM on August 13, 2017

I really like suedehead's suggestion - I would do that. But if you can't I would say you would save time futzing around with the printing and the print errors and the slicing and all those problems by just taking 3x5 cards, and using a sharpie to write on them. For the first few prototypes. Then maybe once you have a more durable concept, invest in those sleeves.
posted by rebent at 4:48 PM on August 13, 2017

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