Belle of the Ball Prototype Cards from SuperiorPOD

New Belle of the Ball prototype cards from SuperiorPOD
For independent or DIY game designers, there haven't been many affordable options for printing card games until recently. I decided to try out SuperiorPOD mainly because their pricing structure was clear, their interface was easy to use and their templates were super-helpful. Here are the results of two separate card orders.

These cards are pretty thick and sturdy. They're not matte or linen, which would normally be ideal for game cards, but they still shuffle extremely well. Above, you see the thickness of a full 108-card deck, which is the largest deck SuperiorPOD offers on their website.

The first order printed much brighter and yellower than I intended. That order was printed from a print-ready PDF (PDF-X 2008 Protocol). I suspect some of those vector elements just rendered unexpectedly. In the second order, the files were simple flattened TIFFs. Larger file size, but also simpler to render.

As you can see, the reds, grays and oranges are mostly the same in both printings. However, the second printing more accurately picked up the subtle beige background patterns as intended.

The blues, teals and greens were the biggest problem areas in the first printing. They printed much yellower, which turned a teal into an aqua. The second printing still had a touch too much yellow in the skin tone, but otherwise was much improved.


And take a look at how thick they print black ink. You can really see it raised off the surface of the cardstock. This might be what makes the cards easier to shuffle. The irregularly raised black ink may create just enough void between the cards to let them sift easily between each other. In the aggregate, this may also make the deck bigger than you expect, so make sure your box isn't too small.

Timelines
First Order
Files Sent to SuperiorPOD: April 8
Shipment Sent by SuperiorPOD: April 24
Package Arrived: April 27

Second Order
Files Sent to SuperiorPOD: May 2
Shipment Sent by SuperiorPOD: May 14
Package Arrived: May 17

Overall, I'm satisfied with the results! It takes some very conscious tweaking of your files to get the best output, but if you're looking for an affordable POD printer for your card games, give SuperiorPOD a shot. Soon, I'll print some cards with The Game Crafter and report the results.

12 comments:

  1. Michael McMullanMay 18, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    Daniel, I think you broke their site. I'm getting Bandwidth Exceeded whenever I try to go there. :)

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  2. Ha! Figures. :D

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  3. This is great info, as I'm thinking of printing a game through them. It does look like they can print decks of over 108 cards, though. On their site, it says they can print a deck of up to 144 cards, and even higher if need be. http://www.superiorpod.com/product/poker-size-custom-card-decks

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  4. That's very cool, I like that they can print non-54 quantities. It looks like they round the corners, but the last photo the top right corner by her head looks odd. What's up with that?

    Do you use InDesign for layout? I'll have to do some work when I get back home in July, my current methodology is I get a jpeg from my artist, convert it to a bitmap (yeah, I know), and it gets linked in to a card record in an Access database. If I'm having to do 18 cards to a page, then that's going to have to change. Works very well for development, but as much as I'm paying for Steve Crompton's art, I need to get it looking really good when I get ready for production. I believe Steve's methodology is pen/ink on paper, scan it, then color it in Photoshop or Illustrator, so I'm not sure what would be involved in tweaking colors when we need to.

    So all you did was switch from PDF to flattened TIFF? No saturation adjustments or other tweaks?

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  5. Excellent! Good to know.

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  6. I may have tweaked a CMYK mix here and there to reduce the yellow, but otherwise it was pretty much the same.

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  7. Thanks for this post. I'm eager to see your GameCrafter comparison.

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  8. Reviewing timelines in the next few months, I'm not sure if Belle of the Ball will be what I prototype with The Game Crafter. I'll definitely prototype *something* with them in the future though.

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  9. like the idea...do you use plastic card printing for it or not?

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  10. In field of plastic card printing masterpieces like this are very eye pleasing...

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  11. Captivating design that inspires viewers a lot...such design deserves to be print onPlastic cards as plastic is much more durable...

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  12. Plastic card is much more shining and durable so that`s why they are in demand...

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Daniel Solis
Art Director by Day. Game Designer by Night.