Trigrams Update 6/30/19

For those following the Trigrams card development, just wanted to say it’s still on my to-do list. Life and other projects have taken precedence. I’m also trying to figure how best to tackle ensuring 104 cards are laid out correctly and the same.

In the mean time, I’d welcome comments, thoughts, etc. on the deck. I know it’s not a traditional deck in many ways, which gives it some appeal.

Dare You? Card Wireframe

Here’s a quick wireframe of the Dare You? cards. Each category (theme, duration, location, activity) will have a different graphic basis and background color, but would otherwise follow this general layout. Yes, these are made for more than straight audiences. The hotness rating is still a work in progress. I’ve gotten some opinions from a couple of folks just for a general sense.

In this example, you can see an example of how a theme/attire card might look with the check marks and Xs.

Deck of Defense

Probably the most developed and oldest big project of mine, outside of the Monkeys, has been a playing card deck featuring all the ranks of the US Military. As the son of veterans, this has a certain personal sense to it.

I don’t exactly recall what started this project to be honest. In part, it was meant as a training aid for people to learn the ranks, their titles and abbreviations. Looking around the market, I couldn’t find any comparable decks out there. The closest ones were Poker decks (52 cards) that either combined ranks or left them out to squeeze into a normal deck. With 15 ranks between E1-E9 and O1-O6 (not counting generals/admirals and warrants), it would take a custom deck to actually fit them all in.

So, I tossed the idea of squeezing and just built a deck that fit. Using some of the core concepts of normal decks (different card layouts between numbered and face cards for example), I set out to capture the foundational elements. Each suit represents one service (Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines). The numbered cards are the enlisted ranks (E1 to E9), making sure to capture variations within ranks (i.e. First Sargent vs. Master Sargent). The courts or face cards represent the officers. Each card, regardless of rank, shows the grade (E# or O#), full title, abbreviated title, insignia, and branch. Each suit also uses the primary colors for each branch (i.e. red and gold for the USMC). For the wildcards, I used the flag ranks (admirals/generals, “stars”) and warrant officers.

How do you play with these cards? Just like Poker, as I also worked up some equivalents to match a normal 52-card deck (high and low concept). I also found one similar card deck from around WW1 Britain called “Militaire.” It also used ranks (albeit fewer) and assigned point per card.

When can we get these? There’s the main sticking point for this whole thing. Every service holds trademark on their ranks, insignia, etc. I have explored getting these printed, but the financials are the stopping force. Each service has different licensing processes and fees, which mean a hefty amount of money to get these licensed. Unfortunately, one service alone prohibits the use Kickstarter-type funding to getting the licensing fees and basically restricts it to formal businesses with existing revenue.

For now, these are locked in my graphic vault. One prototype exists, and people have voiced interest and support, but that’s where it sits.

Design is in the Cards

Playing cards. Usually 52 cards in a deck (I have one that’s only 32, but another with 100-ish). Each one (can be) a work of art of design on a 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ canvas (for a Poker card). A nice way to create a collection around a theme, and make it more than just a wall hanger.

I’ll fully admit – my wife is the card player in the family. She and her family usually play at least one card game when we are together. Me? I’ve developed an interest in designing the cards more than playing.

Looking at most card decks, a lot of the real design falls to the backs and the face cards (A, K, Q, J). Amongst these cards, there can be lots of hidden meaning. Does that mean they have to stay the same across all decks? Nope. Take a look at Kickstarter and one can see a wide range of takes on playing cards. Another fun place to look is Portfolio52, where one can not only search decks, but you can even catalog your collection (we have an ever growing collection).

You will likely see some of my concepts on here over time. In addition to the Trigrams deck, I’ve also started a few others. Some are just partial decks, others are well more developed. And sadly, a few may never really see print, but I’ll talk about that in a separate post.

My current design collection of cards:

Dare You? Card Deck

Not all of my designs are for ‘public’ consumption. Besides the snarky ideas, I have a small collection of mature-themed designs and concepts. One of them is a card deck I’ve slowly tinkered with for some time now. Please note, this is the first real post from the Cheeky Monkey side. It won’t be for everyone, so bear that mind.

I initially came up with the idea as a means to break the possible monotony couples might express through a chance-based system. The main premise is a collection of cards that suggestion various states of dress, duration, and locations. You shuffle each category, draw a card from each and go from there. It might be as simple as going shirtless for 30 minutes, or going completely au naturale for the next week (where can be determined separately). You don’t have to use all 3 categories. You can tailor the deck based on your own interests, comfort levels, and so on.

Now, do realize that picking a set saying ‘no bottoms’ for a ‘month’ at ‘work’ isn’t terribly feasible, unless you work alone or at home. But, the point is, getting some variety.

The cards themselves are normal Poker-size. I’ve tried to keep the graphics pretty simple, using generic icons as much as a possible. For the clothing/theme cards, the graphics are a series of standard icons with checkmarks, Xs, or and ‘optional’ mark. The duration cards are clock-/calendar-based, and the locations are based a lot on map icons.

One thing I’m experimenting with is a ‘hotness’ scale for each card. I’m hoping this will add some level of indication for couples, so they can gauge how brave they want to start with. I’m also considering building this into some form of rules (other than draw cards and go have fun). Maybe something like Poker where the player with the hottest combo wins and that’s the scenario to be acted out.

So, rules? Yeah, still working on that bit. I’m a designer, not overly versed on game engineering.

Clothes, time, and location seems kind of tame….. Well, I’m working on that too. I’ll save the really hot part for another post.

One parting comment – yes, I know there are lots of couples card games out there. I also had to change the name as there is a “Do You Dare?” game that I found well after starting my development.

Trigrams Update 20 May 2019

As some who have been following my design for awhile know, I’ve been slowly working on an Asian-themed card deck (link below for more details). Well, I’m trying to finalize the design to the point I could submit to a printer should I go the Kickstarter route. To make the design right, it’s taking some tinkering to make sure all 108-ish cards are consistent. Over the weekend, I think I came up with a working plan using a mix of Inkscape and Scribus. Hopefully this new approach will let me build the deck right, in manageable pieces.