MemberMarch 31, 2022 at 12:52 pm
Good question! From a purely game design perspective (and not getting into the publishing side of things, where costs and sizes of components come into play), I recommend designers use spreadsheets to:
1) Keep a changelog of cards. It’s a not a perfect solution given how many edits you can make over the course of a project, but it was the most practical solution I came up. I make columns for Card Type, Card # (which I define uniquely per card type – meaning that you can have Artifact10 and Weapon10), Card Name, Ability, Other identifiers / attributes as needed, Notes, and most importantly Status (use this to list where the card is in the development process).
Then I copy the sheet with all the cards regularly before major changes or lots of small changes to save a point in time history of the development. You never know when you may need to roll back changes by several “versions” or find some early ideas that are used differently later!
2) Data Merge input file for InDesign or Component Studio. (If formatted properly, you can combine this as part of the card changelog too!) For anyone unfamiliar with the power of using a spreadsheet to dynamically update all your cards within InDesign or Component Studio, I recommend learning how to do that before you start creating your next game. You will save TONS of time when updating your prototypes by doing this.
Consider this example – you need to adjust the strength of all your monster cards based on recent feedback and you also want to update your placeholder icons with some nicer ones you recently found. If you have a spreadsheet that dictates the attributes of each of your card, you can quickly change the values for 1 column with strength and update the links to certain icons in the other columns. Then you can re-export all the cards in a matter of minutes rather than having to manually make changes to 50+ cards and re-export.