W5 S2: Art Focus 1 (4th March – 10th March)

Weekly Goals:

  • Artwork focus (16+ Pieces)



  • Artwork (Monday – Friday), ✔
  • Death Token Concept (Thursday), ✔
  • Mat mock up (Friday – Sunday). ✔


Monday – Friday: Artwork

Item cards

Call from the Void

This card is used to return used (binned) cards from the Void (discard pile), I have used influence from my imagination and also Yu-Gi-Oh to design a card that represents this concept in a comic manor – the limbs of multiple creatures are seen trying to escape from ‘the Void’. This symbolises the cards potential power to draw one of these creatures back into your Hand.

I have mocked up several variations of this design to test how the colour and composition affect the overall feel and presence of the card – I still feel there is work to do to improve this card, especially to get it to fit into the set and to look and feel like a ‘Last Rites’ card.


Roll for Health

The below mock-up shows an ideation of what I may produce as the final artwork for this card, I am currently uncertain of the art for this card, however, I have found visualising my concepts very useful.

The symbols represent the basic concepts explained by the card, I’m hoping by making this illustration more simple and bold in this way, I can illustrate to players immediately what this card does.

  • Heart: shows which stats are being affected,
  • Plus Symbol: represents the specific dice multiplier (+),
  • Dice: shows the dice mechanic itself.


This card is a merger of all of the previous ‘health card concepts’ I decided to change how these cards work, by using the roll mechanic to generate health regeneration to a specific Character, this allows more room for chance and the potential for both good and lesser healing for both players. Merging the health cards into one has allowed me to focus on more important cards; this is the same for the Stamina regeneration item cards.

Character Cards

Dark Character Sketches

 Chosen aesthetic themes for the character art heavy cards is a semi-realistic style with influences from my own personal illustrative style (my personal style is influenced by classical art, comics and fantasy).

The first of the two characters below is a stealthy rouge-like character with fantasy inspired ears, armour and hair. I have used basic google searches to find anatomic references for the face, body and pose overall – this is true for most of my sketches – the references used have been loosely followed to allow for more realistic and varied features between each character.

The second sketch is of the Character Mez’ziark in his ‘old form’, I plan to introduce a young version of this Character – this follows the basic plan of the lore so far and also adds to the collect-ability of this Character and it’s consecutive cards. His clothing is influenced by traditional depictions of mages and some features are designed to represent the moon as this symbol is significant for the dark Characters in the lore.

Testing paint styles

I’ve now sketched out all 9 cards roughly, some have been given clean line-art and the rest are due to follow. I have been playing around with different paint styles, trying to visualise and understand the final aesthetic of the cards. I really enjoyed Matte painting everything, however, I fear this will take far too long as a single card can take a day – in order to get the cards finished I will start implementing a ‘cell shading’ style in order to give a decent finish that is quick and easy to produce. Cell shading is effective visually as it is clean and bold – this look – I feel, will be sufficient to fit the current feel of the game as it matches the card interface and the other branded materials (such as the mat below).

Thursday: Death Token Concept

The following tokens have been made in Photoshop and are designed to represent their finished look, composition and feel. The backs are shown first and the face of the token second – this is simply to help when it comes to producing these items.

I plan currently to make these tokens in 3D, print them and create moulds in order to cast all other tokens. I may also simply print them and not cast them depending on costs. I am hoping to use the most cost effective solution, the first option requires a myriad of supplies that I do not currently own – I am planning on using these supplies to make additional key-chains, toys and other merchandise so the costs will be spread across many ventures. I like the idea of creating moulds and casting each individual item as it will make the process more personal as I am able to put a unique feature into every coin or other item made; this will hopefully translate to my audience in a positive way. Many mainstream card games rely heavily on mass production to make each item identical, this works and is very effective for costs and time, however, a personal touch will make the items more valuable and unique for each player who receives the game.


Friday – Sunday: Mat Design (Render & Test)

I had a few days of artists block this week and decided to use that time to instead work on the mat for the game; as this process is more design focused. I used my re-designed mat from the testing sessions to mock up this preliminary concept, I really like the layout and the feel of the design so I will go ahead and get this printed professionally onto paper. Once it’s printed I will use the new mat to test functionality and feel.

Everything on the digital file is to scale, each card slot fits the exact dimensions of each card, as well as the tokens and the totem.

Feature Placement and Function:

Lanes: as discussed throughout testing and in my initial design, lanes are an important strategic mechanic of the game-play. Separating and labelling each lane will make this concept more obvious to players – not having this feature on my initial mock up (here), made it so this feature was not immediately understood, only through explanation was it understood by the players. I’m hoping that by separating each lane into a colour and number this idea will become concreted and easier to follow through reading the rule-book.

The colours do not currently represent anything, they are simply markers to illuminate the concept, these colours may change depending on the overall feel of the mat upon printing.

Each player has exactly the same lanes.

I feel I may have to separate each side (lane 1 and 2 – lane 3 and 4) with a strong bold line in order to show players that this division is important as a part of the game-play. (HOWEVER) I may be able to make this clear through the rules that highlight how game-play is to be conducted. The main concept of these two sides is that attacking cards can only attack within one of the two lanes, in example: a card in lane 1 can only attack opposing cards in either lane 1 or 2 – this element creates strategy and thought around placement that improves game-play feel. This allows players to guard their totem and attacking cards from damage. I think ultimately this needs testing through play.

Arena Placement: arena placement follows the redesign from a few weeks ago, this placement has been tested in person and seems to function adequately. I have labelled each position with it’s corresponding type and allocated bonuses to each placement that can be easily seen even when a card is placed.

The arena area itself is placed in the centre of the mat, facing directly opposite the opponents bench; this allows for movement of cards by players to symbolise attacks (not necessary but fun also). This placement is easy to access, has visual prominence and is located in such a way that attacks can be landed directly opposite; without confusing the ownership of each players cards.

+10, +50 symbols: these indicators signify to the player that the stats of any placed card are to be increased by the number shown. In example: +50 ❤ indicates that 50 extra health points should be added to the card when placed in that slot; this feature gives defensive cards more shielding from attacks. In the same way, cards placed in the attack position gain damage boosts, this helps to take down the enemy player’s cards.

Some balancing needs to be done and tested in order to see whether these amounts are sufficient and fair during game-play.

The placement of this feature is directly above the placed card, and rests on top of the current stats of the card; hopefully this visual closeness (gestalt) will show players that these features are connected and signify stat increases to placed cards.

Tokens: token slots are designed to be the same size and shape of the tokens; to indicate visually to players where these coins belong. The rule-book shows players where the tokens should be placed upon set up (in the death tokens section, next to the arena), these tokens are then moved to the Totem upon the successful attack and defeat of an enemy player’s card.

In the Totem slots these tokens build up to charge either an attack or a healing spell. There are 8 total Token slots, this number I feel is adequate and helps game-play to run smoothly without becoming too long or too short in duration.

The location of these tokens is to the left of the player, I have chosen this spot as it is not a frequently used mechanic (8 times max per game) and does not need prominence or ease of access on the mat. This location allows for smooth game-play and does not interfere with other features of the mat.

Totem: the Totem is placed under the arena, closest to the player. I feel this placement is significant as it has spacial proximity to the player,  protecting this Totem will seem more important because of this as it could be seen to be one in the same as the player themselves. The location of this item is also placed this way as it is a feature of game-play that needs protecting by cards in the arena. The cards placed in the arena act as a visual and functional shield to prevent direct attacks to the Totem, this placement allows for this due to it’s position behind the arena.

Void: The void is placed out of the way, yet still close to the deck holder due to it’s symbolic nature as a holder of disposed cards. Drawing and disposing of cards are gathered together in a similar area as they are similar mechanics and should not be confused with the other functions of each other area. The void is placed behind the deck holder in order to avoid preventing or making access to the deck holder difficult. Additionally it is placed in this way as to not interfere with other aspects of game-play that need accessibility by the hands and arms.

Deck Holder: the deck holder is positioned to the right, closest to the drawing hand of each player. Most players will reach to the right using their dominant hand in order to draw a card into their hand, this position does not interfere with other aspects of game-play and is easy to access for most players. I will consider making mats for left handed users in order to improve their game-play experience.



I decided as a fun exercise I would mock up an example set up, showing cards in their correct placement as well as a hand (shown as if it were being held by the player).  These mock ups allow me to see how well the style of each card fits with the overall layout, especially when combined with other cards of varying colours and types.

The card backs fit especially well with the design, matching in colour and feel. The cards themselves feel good also, however, more mock ups will need to be conducted once art has been created and added to each card.

As an additional thought, the fact that each of my assets has been produced digitally means that there is a potential to port my game into a digital format, giving the game greater functionality. I feel personally that this will take a long time and be a great learning curve for myself; I will spend time figuring this out once the physical game is complete and all additional assets and coursework has been finalised. I am going to wait until then in order to ensure I do not run over schedule and am able to hand in my coursework on time; if – given time, I am able to additionally implement this feature I feel it will add to the quality and function of my game overall.



  • Call from the Void card mocked up (almost complete),
  • Roll for Health/Stamina cards drafted,
  • Other item cards drafted & conceptualised,
  • 9 dark character cards are drafted & conceptualised,
    • final renders are oncoming next week.
  • Mat is created and is ready for printing.


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