When we were in Budapest over the holidays, our friend introduced us to Lost Cities, and I’m embarrassed to admit that I could have geeked-out over that card game all week instead of following our travel guide through the real city – lost in snow. So when we returned, I thought it would be interesting to design a revised version of the game, both to play and to give to friends and family. It turned out to be a lot fun, and relatively easy:
Step 1: Design what will be the back of all the cards. This is the side that will be the same for every card in a deck, and sometimes is symmetrical so that you cannot tell which way the cards are facing when the deck is upside down. (These are 3×5, but they can be any size, really.)
Step 2: Get that design printed in bulk on one side of a bunch of postcards. (I like to use GotPrint.net because they are reliable and the cheapest out there – you can order 1000 cards for $22!) As you can see (above), I also ordered mine without rounded corners so that they could feed more easily through an ink jet printer, and then rounded them myself. You could also order them rounded from the start.
Step 3: Design as many games on the blank fronts of the cards as your little fingers can manage.
Step 4: Play on!
These card fronts were designed in Photoshop and printed on an Epson printer, which worked pretty well. I was going for a math game, the design inspired part by Jasper Johns’ numbers and part by this calendar on Design Sponge. It’s probably a good idea to order cards that have no coating at all on the blank side so that your own ink can soak into the paper better – our fingers were blue enough to give a print when we played one game fresh out of the ink jet…
Also, it could work just as well (with kids especially) to use markers or crayons for the card fronts. Here (left), you can see examples from a modified Go Fish/Uno game drawn directly onto each card. With 1000 cards to go through, one can design any number of different games, or even Pokemon-style collector cards, or you could use them as postcards, or fake train tickets, or table-scrapers, or card castle building materials, or laminate flooring for a doll house…
…and there will still be more left over…