Early Designs for the Guest Cards in Belle of the Ball

Here's where I'm leaning for the guest cards. Granted, these aren't as ornate as the original cards from the last iteration, but the cards are being used in a very different way now, too.

It's really important that the suits be visible and recognizable across the table, so they had to be big, bold and uncluttered. There is also a lot more data on the cards, including base scores, couple bonuses, special powers, and so on. No room for Victorian swirls or flourishes that could distract or obscure important information.

That still leaves open room for more ornate decoration on the card backs and especially on the Belles. I'm looking at these mint tins as a source of inspiration for both.

In addition, I went ahead and added more Victorian flourishes around the border. Turns out they're just fine as long as they're low-contrast enough to not distract from key information, like suits, point values and game text.

In revising the cards, I noticed that a few cards were labeled with more Perfect matches than are actually present. Apologies for that mix-up. I'll post revised printable cards in the next phase of playtesting.

Clearly, I'll need to accommodate more space if I'm going to list the matches by name. But for now, at least you know the rank number of the matching guest.

Okey dokey! Here is a revised printer-friendly PDF (Version F). The link in the OP is updated, too. It's a stripped down version of the card sheets I'm using at home playtests.

The card backs:

The refined folks of Lordhurtz county.

The well-heeled and ill-mannered people of Richminster county.

The hard-fightin' citizens of Boarbottom county.

The tasteful vineyard stewards of Wineberry county.

The crude roustabouts of Crawhole county.

And the sharp-knifed rogues from Dundifax county.

All the black and white art marked "FPO" is placeholder only. Art in the final game will be original, color. The black and white lineart is reference pulled from a variety of sources like DeviantArt and artist blogs. (Here's my Belle of the Ball pinterest board with links to original sources. "FPO" is a common marker to indicate that this art is just reference, it stands for "For Placement Only."

But the color art you've seen so far, as in the original post, is actual official art that I've already commissioned from Liz Radtke and Mori McLamb. You can see their original sketches and process in these posts: Liz's sketches, Mori's sketches. They did me a big favor in letting me commission lineart that I would then color.

Because there are so many portraits required for this game, I'll need to hire a whole team of artists. The extra challenge there is keeping them all relatively consistent in their art styles. Compiling art references in PDFs and Pinterest boards like this makes coordinating such a large project a lot easier.


  1. The connotations of "coupling" seem a bit low-brow for such a prestigious ball. Perhaps you should "pair" them instead?

  2. I'm always in favor of shorter game terms. :)


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