Thursday 5 July 2012

ATZ Event Cards: Part 3

What's Gone Before

Original card style
Just under a month ago, I outlined a project of mine: to create a deck of 54 random event cards for All Things Zombie (ATZ) here.

I posted a brief update a few days later here.  Since then I've done some more work and even though the project is still far from complete, I thought you might like a further progress report.  I'd be most interested in any feedback on either the content or the style of the cards I've designed so far!
Current card style

The Plan

So, here's what I intend to do: if I can design 54 different cards then I can have them made by Artscow or a similar service.  Professionally-printed cards are far better quality than the ones I've made for myself on a home printer!  Why 54?  A standard deck of playing cards is made up of 4 suits of 13 cards and 2 jokers.  (4 * 13) + 2 = 54.

There are several elements to this plan; all need to be completed in order for me to receive a nice, new deck of ATZ event cards:
  1. Create a template design for the cards.  After my earlier posts, there were some good suggestions and examples of several styles for character cards.  These were often based on "Magic: the Gathering" (MtG); indeed I soon discovered that there is a minor industry in producing card editors for this game!  However, although the design templates were a great deal better than my version-1 cards, none of the editors I tried had the flexibility I needed.
    So as to have complete control over the process, I've created a PowerPoint file for my cards.  This document has a master layout that describes a blank slide; all I need to do when creating a card is to add a new slide and fill in the blanks.  When I'm done, the whole document can be "saved as" PNG files in a single action.
  2. Collect 54 random events for ATZ!  As you can see if you download the PowerPoint file (here, if I've not made a mistake), I have 44 cards so far, plus a possible back for the deck.  Of these cards, 18 are lifted from the original ATZ rules, though there are a few changes to the wording.  Some of the remaining cards are complete and most of the remainder just want a picture.  One or two of the latest cards are simple titles at the moment; I haven't yet come up with game rules for them.
    Note that most of the cards I am proposing have not been tried in a real game of ATZ; it is entirely possible that some of them are confusing or even unworkable!
  3. Upload all the cards to Artscow and pay them to print the deck.  This shouldn't be a problem; I've used them before to print my Fate deck for The Rules with No Name (see The Shootout at Big Whiskey for a picture of some of those cards).  As long as the images uploaded are at least 750x1050 pixels in size (and in that exact proportion of 1:1.4) then it's a relatively simple matter to create such a project.  If the image proportions are different then it's more complicated - but I knew that already and ensured that my PowerPoint template has the correct aspect ratio.


Right now, I'm working on Part 2; it's more than 50% complete.   I still need 10 more complete unique random events, plus the descriptions for one or two more and the pictures for 20 or so partially-complete cards.  But I'm getting there...

For anyone who would like to review my work so far (please do!), the PowerPoint document can be downloaded here.

Before anyone asks: yes, I have thought about whether my deck could be made available for others to purchase from Artscow.  In principle I would be very happy to permit this, but it might depend on the copyright holders.  I'm not a lawyer, but both the original ATZ event descriptions and the various images I'm using are not my own creations.  Is anyone reading this an expert on copyright law and able to advise?


  1. Sounds like a plan, and a good one. I for one have some problems with power point, mostly just ego. But that being said use what works best for you. I like what you've done so far. As far as publishing them, I'm no lawyer but, I think you would have to work out some kind of permission and possibly revenue sharing for that. One workaround might be to make the files available on the THW group for instance and let people make them themselves.

    1. I think that "publishing" is a rather grand term for what I had in mind :-) . I've no interest in trying to charge for these cards, so the only question is whether they are unique enough to avoid any copyright issues. If I'm satisfied then I'll happily make the stuff available for free to anyone who wishes. This might be by allowing others to download my source file and make their own printing arrangements, for example. Or it may be possible to make my project on Artscow public so that anyone who desires can pay *them* to print the cards. Or some other mechanism...

  2. Glad to see you're making progress on this

    Event: Wind starts gustng causing a dustbin to roll down the street (maybe occassionally rather than a constant roll)

    The gusting wind causes a recycle bin to empty its contents onto the street

    Event: Clouds gather and the skies darken as rain descends in a deluge. Thunder and lightning causes zombies to be confused and they remain in place each time the thunder occurs
    or maybe they congregate together whilst the thunder is occurring ?

    1. Thanks. Progress is slow overall, but sometimes leaps forward.

      I like the idea of the wind causing items to shake, rattle or roll about! After all, many genres (including westerns and horror, for sure) have the rusty windmill, creaking door or animal-searching-the-dustbin as staple elements to build suspense. Need to think about what effect this would have in a game of ATZ, though. I wouldn't want it to be simply another noise that could generate more zombies.

      Confused zombies? That could work - lightning causes all Zs to wander randomly for 1 turn, just as if they weren't homing in on anyone?