Tuesday, July 3, 2012

DC Deckbuilding Design Falls Short

Some new images have been posted on the Boardgame Geek page for the upcoming DC Deckbuilding game. The images show the box, and some cards of various types. My excitement for seeing the cards was quickly pushed aside as I realized that these were some of the worst designed cards I'd seen in a while. Luckily they are still easy to read and the information on them is relatively clear. Its just the details that are crying out for some help.

The Cards
First off, I have to point out that these cards look like they're using a modified template from the last few runs of cards from the Vs. System CCG. Nothing particularly wrong with this, but to me it just exemplifies the problems when they're compared with a design that uses the same skeleton, but succeeds more often.

So starting from the top, I'm surprised at the lack of constrast of the name with the textured background. Sure I can read the names, but when compared to the card type in the middle of the card, it doesn't pop like it should. This is the main way card are identified and should be a focal point. And speaking of focal point, why is the DC logo so freakishly large? More importantly, why is it on the card at all. Only on a licensed property, would someone decide that the logo needs to be on every single card. Slap it on the back of the card as large as you like, but it has no reason to be on the front. I doubt players will suddenly forget what game they're playing.

The artwork so far is great. The images used are nice and bold and have a good consistency. I would hope that DC would be able to pull this part off as they have a giant library at their disposal. Hopefully the rest of the set will keep this cohesion.

The next part of the card type mostly fine. As I stated before, this is easy to read and understand the card type. The only part that bugs me is the 'super-villain' text as shown on Ra's Al Ghul. The text arc reminds me of someone who just discovered wordart in their copy of PowerPoint. In addition, I don't see the reason for him to have both labels, unless there's something in the rules. It just seems to clutter up the card.

The card text looks fine. It's easy to understand. One odd part of this text though it that there are constant references to a 'power rating.' I'm mostly surprised that this isn't its own icon as it appears to be a large part of the game and defeating super-villains.

At the very bottom of the card are two large icons, a star and a circle. I take that the star is victory points, but at the moment I'm not sure what the circle is. My guess would be some kind of currency to buy other cards. Both of these icons are big and easy to read, but the images themselves seem a little clip art-y and flat. Another problem I had is the large brick of copyright text at the bottom of the card.

The background texture of the cards is kind of cool and has a gritty texture that hints of movement and action. It provides a nice cohesion to the set. The colors used across the diferent types of cards don't seem to mesh too well though, especially the orange and yellow. They come off a little cartoony and dont really go with the darker artwork that has been used.

Such A Shame
I'm sure that these problems won't effect the game, which I don't know enough about to comment on. I am disappointed though that this is the best that DC can do. For a company that specialized in visual communication, I would have though they'd want a better looking product. Even Cryptozoic Games has produced better looking games. The World of Warcraft card game, for example, was well laid out and had good iconography.

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