04/22/20 - PNP Build: Micro Space Empire Retro Resdesign

Tags Print & Play Tabletop Games Nandeck


I built my first copy of this game a while ago when I was experimenting with sprayed labels on cards. The cards turned out dark on my printer and they’re hard to read, which is probably why I put off playing it. When I finally gave it a try I enjoyed it and immediately wanted a retheme. I decided to do something really different (read: not dark with tons of black) and had been using pink cubes for trackers, so went with a retro futuristic look with pinks and purples.

Version 1

The first version of these cards uses sci-fi artwork by Julian Faylona. I’m really happy with the layout for the planet cards. The icons allowed me to eliminate the production tracker, which I found a little fiddly and sometimes forgot to modify and make it easy to see your empire’s value and production at a glance. The event deck design… not so much. I settled on a basic clean design that doesn’t really mesh with the planet cards. I spent a lot of time trying to get the HTMLTEXT directive to work, but could never get the .csv text to even display on the cards, and that sapped my enthusiasm to work on it. For now, the event cards are serviceable, they are easy to read and the multi-turn effects are printed at the bottom so you can slide the card under the planet to keep track. I may come back to them when I have some inspiration.

I had issues with HTMLTEXT when I was working on my Going Ashore retheme, too. The regular TEXT directive allows the insertion of ASCII characters (for instance, newline is /13/) so I have been able to get buy using that for cards that have a block of text, but at some point I’m going to need to figure out what I’m doing wrong with HTMLTEXT. I think it has to do with my source document.

Version 2

For the second version I cleaned up the planet design, streamlining the icons. I gave up my idea of having vaporwave/retrowave artwork and (finally, after much searching) settled on the most interesting exoplanet illustrations I could find on NASA.gov. It was the easiest way to have artwork continuity. I also redid the event cards to match the styling of the planet cards and gave them all watermark backgrounds.

The big Nandeck news was I figured out how to use BASERANGE=,ON. Prior I could not figure out why Nandeck wouldn’t seamlessly switch from one type of cards to the next (planets to events) and had to keep 2 different files, which was a nuisance and waste of space.

I’m happy with this version. However. (Seems there’s always a “however.”) I thought this was going to be the final version, but when I was cutting the cards I realized I’d only included half of the fan expansion (the events only) and had left out 2 planets. There were also a few minor mistakes I hadn’t caught, like a tiny bit of font being cut off on one card, and I’d forgotten to lighten the purples based on how my inkjet prints the colors. It’s always annoying to think you’re done with a project only to find you forgot a few details. I can’t say I’m in a hurry to print a 3rd set of these cards, but I updated my files and added the expansion planet cards and took the time to make a few more adjustments. I just need to create a matching counter and ~we’re done~ FOR REAL because I’m not doing a 4th round of these.

I recently played one of my old linen/finish builds and was reminded how nice it is to play with high-quality cards, so perhaps the final version of this game will be the old way, with linen cardstock and matte finish spray. It’s only 6 sheets so I can do the spray finish in one sitting, which is generally the most time consuming part.