Welcome to the Guardians CCG Page

This is a site dedicated to the Guardians collectible card game released by FPG in the mid '90s. This was a great game featuring beautiful artwork and a complex battle system. The game is now out of print and some cards are extremely difficult to find.

Here you will find alternate rules and game mods (including solo play), homebrew cards, and links to other Guardians sites.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Bringing Homebrew Cards to Life, Part 2

This continues the discussion about how to bring homebrew cards to life.

Part 1 can be found here

A trip to Fedex Kinkos revealed that color copies are $.59 each. For 50 pages of Seven Seas cards, that's $30. Add Event cards and Champion's Oddyssey cards and it's less than $50...but that's just for one set. Printing 4 sets would cost almost $200. I could try to squeeze more cards on a page to drive that down, but it's a moot point. My friend was right - Kinko's refused to print the copyrighted images without some kind of written permission from the copyright holder, which isn't going to happen.

As an alternative, I looked into purchasing my own color laser printer. The price needed to be under $300 and have very good customer reviews. However, after searching, I couldn't find anything I was comfortable with for that much money. My roommate had ditched his Epson R1800 for a new Epson Color Stylus 1400, which makes beautiful prints, but won't take the cardstock thickness.

In the end I decided to print at work and reimburse the company if they complained about my printing. However, I still wanted to reduce the amount of printing, which would cause fewer problems and use less paper. A "real" Guardians card is about 2.5" by 3.5". So I came up with a new layout, the 4 x 2 which looks something like this:

It only prints 1 less card than the 3 x 3 Seven Seas PDFs, without any resizing or printing errors, and the size is the same as a "real" card.

The most important things to consider when making the layout are:

1. Make the document size 8.5" x 11", rotate 90 degrees, and print landscaped.
2. Keep the distance from the edge of the document to the edge of the cards the same for opposite sides. I used .5" from card to edge on all sides.
3. Put the edges of the cards up against each other so that when they are cut, there won't be any white showing if the cut is slightly off.
4. When copying images into Photoshop, copy the images from the PDFs rather than the large jpegs (they seem to be higher quality with less noticeable defects).

I then created a backside single border sheet:

And a backside double border sheet:

You merely print the front side, flip the paper over, then print the backside.

Once you have your sheet, use an Exacto blade and a ruler to cut the cards.

The corners are still sharp, though. So you'll need something like this from Fiskars:

It's called "Round the Corner" and it works really well. You can get it at most craft stores in the scrapbooking area. You stick one corner of the card in the slot of the punch and line it up to the "V", back it out slightly, then press the handles together to round off the corner. If you don't back the corner out slightly, the punch will cut off too much card. You'll still have a rounded edge, but if you place next to a "real" card you'll see it cut off too much.

I'll add some photos later tonight to show how the finished homebrew card looks compared to the "real" cards...


Anonymous said...

I'm a Guardians player from Hungary. I agree with you that we(the Guardians society) should find a way to bring cards to life and perhaps, make a fan-made expansion.
But I think it's easier to print the cards at a printing-house beacause it's difficult to print them in good quality and to cut them.
Furthermore, if we want to create a new set, we have to print in big quantity as we have to let the others to use the new cards as well. However, this idea may leads too far.
And the main problem is the paintings. Because of the copyrights. This is the point where I got stuck.

Jackalwere said...

Yes, I agree. when I say bringing cards to life, I simply mean you as an individual being able to print and play with the cards yourself.

The normal way you make a card that doesn't exist is called a "Proxy" card. You simply cut a card-size piece of paper and write everything down on it. There is no artwork.

In this case I am just describing a fancy Proxy card. There's probably no way these could ever be official releases for several reasons:

1. As you say, artwork is the main reason.
2. Guardians is owned by the estate of Keith Parkinson, because Keith retained it when FPG went out of business (I think). From my understanding, the Hungarian publisher has licensed the game from KP's estate and does not actually own the rights. You would have to obtain a similar license from the estate.
3. Printing houses are pretty costly. For an out-of-print game that never attracted a large customer base, you would probably not recover those costs in sales.
4. A set release should be playtested to see if cards are balanced. Phil could say whether this has been done for Seven Seas. I know it has not been (and may never be) done for my set.

I have tried to come up with a method of printing a decent Proxy card for yourself. i wouldn't expect it to go any farther than that.