Printing Your Own Game Cards

Part of the Wiz-War project.

The idea hit me when I found out you can buy blank playing cards. Terry had made his own Wiz-War game a while back that was pretty good (the game first came out in ’85) and I wanted to see what I could do with modern tech.

I have a nostalgia for the old brown cards. It was the first Wiz-War version I played. Turns out there are LOTS of resources on the net for the cards and the game, including a lot of creative home made boards. I found a lot of card listings on the net (a lot with the same typos – what’s up with that?). Freemont is the font I found that matches the original text and numbers on the number cards. I made vectors for the card backs and the number designs, so you can resize them if you want to use them.

So, can I print the cards in a laser printer? The problem is that laser printers don’t feed a 2.5″ x 3.5 inch size. So I tried using a template. Print a template on a sheet of card stock, then tape the card over the image. Place the tape across the leading edge of the card. You can’t print on the area the tape covers, but it gives a smoother transition so the card edge doesn’t catch through the sheet feeder (or a dozen other places). I pulled a lot of jammed cards out of the printer during my trials. And don’t try to jam too many cards on a sheet, you’ll just be pulling out more bent cards. Results were promising, but I wanted to print on the whole face.

After some experimentation, I found a way to get consistent results. Take an old credit card or gift card and cut it into strips the long way. Print your template card on some card stock. Place the strip just above the template image (if your card is too close to the strip, the transfer roller in the printer won’t contact the top of the card and the very top won’t print). Place a piece of cellophane tape across the top of the strip to create a smooth transition. Place a piece of double stick tape across the top of the template. Make sure it extends beyond the ends of the template. Finally, place two pieces of cellophane tape across the ends of the strip and across the double stick tape. This will secure the strip and keep the double stick tape from pulling up when you pull off the printed card.

Results were good.

So, the best I could do was four cards to a sheet. I found that the double stick tape could pull off some of the image when it was fresh. So I would print the spell side first, turn it upside down, then print the back. So if it pulled off some image, it would be the bottom of the spell side. The tape becomes less sticky as I used the template. Also, once in a while the card would slip off before going in the printer. I had to replaced the double stick tape and the side tape for the next printing.

Problems I had: Sometimes I didn’t quite place the card square. There were also printing issues like vertical lines. If these were on the spell side, sometimes I let it go, but we can’t have that for the backs.

I finished reprints with a one card template. I also made the edges of the back ground image a little larger. The best results I ever got was with this template.

I used Coreldraw x5 and when I export to Illustrator, sometimes the fonts and alignments get all messed up. I tried opening the cdr in Inkscape, but that didn’t work. So, I’m just going to post my cdr file and the card back and number cards exported to Illustrator with text as curves.

Download my CDR file (zipped) – 878K.

Download my AI file for back and number designs (zipped) – 3.29M.

I used most cards from the original and the first two expansions. I ended up with 276 cards – text file of my card list. It became apparent that no deck box was going to hold all the cards. I began designing one, but for now I found a box from some Extreme equipment (upgrade this summer) and glued two pieces of cardboard in it.

As I recall, the old brown Wiz-War deck had to be shuffled in several stacks, too.

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