Backer Poll: Is Bigger Better?

26 September 2012 | 31 Comments

Recently the question of card size came up on the comments section of a Kickstarter update for Viticulture, so I thought I’d explain the rational behind the current card size and give you the opportunity to change it if you would greatly prefer a larger card size.

Currently we have four decks of “mini” (44 x 67 mm) cards in the game for several reasons. These are the PROS for mini cards:

  1. The game takes up a fair amount of space due to the board, the vineyard mat, and the vertical stacking of vines. We wanted to use as small of a card as possible so as to not take up more space.
  2. Other than the visitor cards, there’s no text on the cards. Granted, there are 40 unique visitor cards in the game, each one with explanatory text, but it’s not much text.
  3. Our manufacturer prints mini cards in sheets of 70. We had 136 cards in the game, so we just added four promo cards to make it an even 140. If you add even a single card more, you have to set and print a new sheet, which is very expensive. The bigger cards are 57 x 87 mm and fit 54 to a sheet, so the numbers don’t add up as well.

Here are the PROS for larger cards:

  1. We can make the font size bigger, so they’re easier to read.
  2. They’re easier to hold in your hand and easier to shuffle.
  3. Bigger art.
  4. Easier to sleeve.

Before you vote, I should note that bigger cards cost more. Not only are we ordering a whole new sheet of cards per game, but we also have to spend design time making the board bigger and adjusting the cards that currently have been designed. Thus this will be a monetary stretch goal, based on whether or not we reach $65k. Although I’m not going to raise prices, my point is that if you feel strongly about this, you might consider adding to your pledge to help defray the costs and push us towards that goal. This would be a BIG change, something I did not anticipate, but I am open to if you all think it’s for the best.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison, followed by the poll:

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31 Comments on “Backer Poll: Is Bigger Better?

  1. Since there is a decent percentage of people that like the larger cards, even though the smaller ones are winning. Maybe you could offer a backing level bonus (pledge at the $50 level but add $10–$15 to the pledge if you want the larger run of cards in an expansion). But then you run into the cards on the board redesign. It might be late in the game but have you considered a second card board with a bit of art on it? you could offer the regular small and the large card board with the card set. Then you could either scale down the main board or enlarge the artwork or even add to it?

    Just brainstorming. But I already backed it, and I am happy with whatever you decide.

    Oh, and my GF also thought the placeholder text was in there, heh. I didn’t mention that I am backing it, so when she gets it, it will be a surprise. Unless she reads this… (Luckily she reads only physical books with her free time.)

    1. M Noivad–Hey, thanks for your comment. There’s a lot that changes if we have bigger cards, though. It’s not just the cards (which require resizing, setting new sheets for the printer (effectively adding 3 new sheets, which is a large sunk cost, changing the insert, and altering the board so they fit. I could add a board, but that’s another large expense. Also, although Panda can do smaller print runs, 100 or 200 is too small for all those variations.

      Although I was completely fine with this poll going either way, I’m confident that the small cards in the small decks (largest deck is 42 cards) will be completely fine. If it really doesn’t work, I’ll change everything for a second print run and find a cost-effective way to get that version to existing backers (probably through a second Kickstarter campaign). Thanks!

  2. I detest shuffling small cards. If the total size of the deck is going to be 50 cards or less then it’s not that big of a problem, but it can be terrible if the size of the deck is larger.

    1. Cameron–Well, there’s some good news there. The largest deck in Viticulture is the vine deck, which is 42 cards. The wine order deck is 36 cards, and each of the visitor decks are 20 cards.

  3. Either size is fine with me but larger cards are preferred. I’d be fine buying a 1910-style expansion with the bigger cards. Also, I’d rather have smaller HIGH QUALITY cards than larger lesser-quality cards. If Quality is the same either way, then ‘normal’ size cards just handle better

    Are these all indvidual voters? It doesn’t seem like the poll restricts return visitors. Hope nobody is stuffing the ballot box.

  4. I voted larger cards, but I have svereal games that use the smaller ones so it’s not a deal breaker. Also, my game table is pretty big so space isn’t an issue for me, but I realize that it can be for others. So the bottom line is I’m fine either way, but I’m leaning toward the larger cards. And for what it’s worth I haven’t backed yet but I’m pretty sure I will regardless of card size.

  5. I should point out that the increased cost of the game won’t be passed on to any of you or even people who buy it at game stores and wineries–it’s just an increase in price to us. :) But I appreciate you all looking out for that, and I’m happy to respect the results of this poll.

  6. Tough call. Having small cards in Ticket to Ride never deterred me from playing, but since I got the 1910 expansion, I’d never go back. I’m not sure how to vote on this, I understand the appeal of a smaller and cheaper game, but larger cards are definitely better to shuffle and hold in your hand.

  7. Sounds like the poll needed a third option… “Don’t care what size”.

    there are only a handful of comments here and a heck of a lot more voters in the poll, so if you are still thinking of putting large cards as a stretch goal because of the belief the people voting for small cards arent actually bothered i would do the poll again.

    I prefer the smaller ones because it would keep the area the game takes up down, this making it an easier game to get out (and store).

  8. Jasmin: poker and bridge are normal sized cards.
    Settlers of Catan uses smaller cards (56×87 MM) – and these are the size cards he is suggesting to upgrade to if so.
    He isn’t suggesting the hobbit cards (41×63 MM) of Battlestar Galactica (skill), or The Manhattan Project.
    The current default size is (44×67 MM): Ticket to Ride, Merchants & Marauders, Amun-Re, Chinatown, Dungeon Lords, Endeavor.

    Know what, I’m all confused, because my Settlers of Catan (Mayfair 4th edition) does not use the size cards my reference states. Because it says Catan uses standard Bridge/YuGiOh size.

    On the question on the size of the cards, it depends on how many cards I need to hold at a time, how long I need to hold them (all the time to respond to opponents, or only during half of my turn), how many are in a deck (are there too many or too few to shuffle). Carcasonne, Aquire and Scrabble all show a solution: tiles, with a rack to hold them, if you hold them. Being square based off the short edge gives back space on the board. Of course tiles requires even more money than cards.

    Easiness of sleeving isn’t an issue, you’re going from non-standard size to non-standard size.

    TtR and Manhattan Project cards are fine with a hand limit of four (too small to hold more at once), and when you only need to look at them for a limited portion of your turn. Catan cards, while still being small, are much more comfortable.

    The larger cards is a little more than 2.5 sheets a game.

    1. Oh, wow. Thanks for all that information. It’s definitely educational on size of playing cards. I didn’t know there’s so many different sizes. It’s kinda mind blowing to me. Anyway, after your wonderful explanation, I’m still not seeing it in my mind. I’m a very visual person, so I guess I’ll just to have to go borrow some games and compare their card sizes side by side to decide.

      What is this standard size? You are commenting they are going from non-standard size to non-standard size.

      I know what you mean about the number of cards and the length of time you need to hold them during the game. These factors can effect the funness of the games.

  9. I vote for average of the two. But if I have to choose, I’ll pick small. I got small hands. How big are cards for poker or Settlers? Are they small?

  10. Hey, Jamey! Thanks for initiating this poll for backers to record their preferences. Personally, I like larger cards, but I don’t wish to have a cluttered gameboard either. It’s great that you’re willing to consider the possibility of enlarging the gameboard and other related components to accomodate a potential card size upgrade, but that could mean that some gamers would not have a large enough gaming table to comfortably hold the larger board (my own table is pretty small by conventional standards).

    As for smaller cards being more difficult to sleeve due to their size, perhaps this wouldn’t be necessary if the cardstock used is premium enough. Just my thoughts! :)

    1. Thanks Mark and Nancy! The game board is currently 20×16 inches, and making the cards bigger would expand it to 24×18. Hence the space consideration.

      For the most part, my gauge is that those who want the larger cards aren’t too happy about mini cards, but those who voted for mini cards are fine with larger cards if we end up going that route. I respect the vote and am happy sticking with the mini cards, but if it ends up pretty close in the end (and we’re at a good funding level), I might switch over to the bigger cards.

  11. My husband has MS related vision problems (not easily corrected with glasses) so the smaller cards always make games harder. I also agree with Charles about sleeving. I would prefer larger but either way still very excited about the game.

  12. Other games (e.g. Ticket To Ride) use smaller cards as standard, but give the option to buy an expansion to give full-size cards (the 1910 in this instance). In TtR this is easy as the cards never go on the board, but if necessary it could become an expansion or alternative edition for people to have the larger cards and an enlarged to suit them – personally I normally prefer the larger cards as they’re easier to fan in your hand so you can see what you’re dealing with (pun not intended) but in this case I think the game would work perfectly well with the smaller cards. I’m running out of storage space for games (again) as it is so enlarging the board, box etc would be an issue for me and, I suspect it would be for others too.

    1. While I prefer smaller cards, I believe that just a “resize everything” is not a great idea. Of course not all the fonts can be enlarged, but small things like the number with red bg and the symbols on the upper left may have some “art size change”

        1. Hi Jamey,
          Unfortunately I believe that I was not clear enough. I was talking about the size of the important things, so them can be bigger: let your eyes capture them faster and easier. So for example, as a dirty example, reducing the card is not problem, but reducing the card value is :D (specially if you use glasses)

    2. Mark–I like that concept, and it’s something I can explore. I was just thinking that if this is a good change for the game, I might as well make it now instead of putting out a “better” version later–I’m not trying to milk money out of you all! :)

      Good point about storage space.

      1. My $0.02…
        It depends. It depends on the quality of the cards and how much they are handled and shuffled and if small flaws from wear impact game play. These are the things that impact whether I sleeve the cards.For mini cards, I don’t care to sleeve the cards normally, because it becomes a hassle trying to stack the cards to make a deck – they just slide all over. For normal (ie magic sized cards) cards, I can use a deck holder to keep them from sliding all over the place. But again, a lot depends on the backs, the quality and the amount they get handled/shuffled during a game.

  13. I voted for the smaller cards but wouldn’t mind if they were changed to the larger ones? Small cards seem to work for the current game design but I have only every played games with full size cards before so happy either way.

  14. Hi, I am considering backing this project. So, even though I currently do not have a stake in this, I like the smaller cards for the game size savings. I thought about shuffling, and a lot of game players treat their cards very well, and don’t shuffle them the standard way I have noticed because bending the cards wears them much faster than an over-under shuffle. Also, 140 cards is a bit to shuffle. A person would probably have to do it in 2 stacks.

    If you wanted to print the text larger but keep the smaller cards, you could rotate the text on the cards 90° so the longer side is used, but keep the current graphics as is. If you didn’t need to rotate all the text you could just rotate the longer/larger card titles. That would require a bit of a redesign, but I have seen attractive cards such as “Battle of the Bands” use this to label the type of card on the long edge and specifics oriented along on the short edge.

    Also, you could take the title banner background which looks like cloth and reduce the opacity if you wanted to preserve the graphics.

    Since I am mentioning a redesign, the background behind the 2 circles make the text on them very difficult to read. Fading the background with a translucent white layer can take care of that without altering the text. Or you could outline the text in white and/or bold it.

    Whatever you decide will not affect my decision to back the project. Currently, I am seeing if other projects and finances go through before committing.


    1. M Noivad–Thanks for your thoughts. One thing to note is that there are four different decks of cards in the game, so the most cards you’ll have to shuffle at any time is 42.

      Your rotation idea is intriguing. It’s probably not necessary given the lack of text on the visitor cards, and I want to make sure that the cards are easy to read in hand, but it’s definitely something to consider.

      Oh, those two circles say “FPO”–they’re just for placement. Art for two of the structures in the game will go in their place, with no text overlayed on top. Sorry about that confusion!


  15. I would personally prefer the larger cards, but I understand they do cost more. I would still play and buy the game with the smaller cards. I think making the larger cards a stretch goal is fine.

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