Surplus Description

I'm working on a design for a Euro game with the working title "Surplus."  The game is about capitalizing off wartime government contracts, and the players play corporations competing to fulfill these contracts.

The game has 6 resources.  4 of these are little wooden markers of different colors (Raw Materials, Technology, Luxury, and Weapons), and the last two are: money (chips), and VP (chips).

The game has 2 decks of cards.  The first deck is the contract deck.  These cards are flipped face up in the center of the table to show the players the round's contract.  Contracts simply show an input (what resources you have to have to fulfill the contract), and an output (what the government will give you to fulfill the contract).  Graphically, I'm imagining these cards will just have the input resources and output resources in big icons in the center of the card.

The second deck of cards is the Industry deck.  These are the cards with which the players build their engines to produce resources.  These cards exist in the players' hands.  Hands typically consist of 3-5 cards, but can stretch up to around 8 in rare cases.  These cards come in two types: production and surplus (temporarily named after Race for the Galaxy cards).  Surplus is super simple: the player plays the card and immediately receives the resources shown on it, then discards the card. Graphically I plan to put the resources given both on the left (for fanning) and in the middle (to reveal to other players when played).

The second type of card, Production, is a permanent (to use magic terminology), and has: a cost, an input, and an output.  The cost must be paid to play the card in the first place.  Once played the card sits on the table in front of the player, and they can pay the input resources to get the output resources.  This card is tricky to design because it must both be fanned in hand, AND clearly visible once on the table.  I'm trying to learn from 7 Wonders' card design to include both cost and ability on the left side of the card, then large in the middle of the card.


I want the art style and feel of the cards to draw from Power Grid, as it definitely captures the industrial theme that this game also shares.

For the actual design, I want to draw some elements from Citadels, because like Suprlus, Citadels cards must both be fanned in a hand and clearly visible on the table.  Unfortunately I have a little more information to get across than these cards.  I would really like to be able to convey all of the important functions of Surplus cards along the left border.

7 Wonders cards show about the same amount of information as Surplus Production cards will, but while being fanned in a hand is super important in 7 Wonders, your opponents don't really need to see most of your cards, and when they do only your neighbors matter, not players across the table.  This is not the case in Surplus; all players MUST be able to see what you have in front of you.

One big common factor I've noticed in these cards is that while the COST is prominently displayed in the upper left corner for fanning, the EFFECT is not displayed as prominently.  I understand sorting a draft pack in 7 Wonders by what you can afford, and then looking at the effects of those cards.  I understand it less in Citadels... Why would you want to focus on only cards you can afford?  For me, I wonder if I can get away with putting the effect along the left side and the cost in the bottom left.

Production Card Sketches

Above is the key for interpresting my first sketches.  As shown, the cards really only have 3.5 pieces of data: cost, input resource, output resource, and maybe name

As I mentioned above, these cards need to both be readable from across the table, and while fanned in a hand.  I took two approaches with these sketches: in the first four cards I placed a reminder banner in the upper left, which just duplicates the effect of the card for easy readability when fanned in hand.  In the last 3, the primary function is just listed on the left side of the card. 

My two favorite cards are sketches 2 and 7. 

#2: My fear for all the cards with reminder banners is that the card is going to look busy and be confusing for first time players, since the effect is shown on the card twice.  This is loosely inspired by the 7 wonders cards.

#7: My fear with the last 3 sketches is twofold.  First, I'm concerned that the cost in the bottom left is going to be hard to see when fanned.  Second, I'm concerned the icons are going to be too small.  When it's a costs 1 type of resource, produces 1 type of resource production card, I'm not concerned, but some will cost multiple types and produce multiple types, and these will have to have multiple icons.  This card was inspired by Citadels cards, but with the cost and effect swapped.

If anyone is looking at this, what do you think about my fears?


This is my first take at the icons that represent the goods in the game.  From left to right: Raw Materials, Weapons, Food, Computers/Technology.  I'm not fully happy with Weapons as is, but it'll do for now.

Cards, Take 1

This is my first take at various card types, with stand in art.  There're no costs on these yet.  I'm pretty displeased with this take but I don't know why they're not coming out well.  Perhaps the money icon is too different from the raw materials ones?

Barrel by David Chapman, from The Noun Project

Microchip by Marcio Duarte, from The Noun Project

Rocket by Rohan Gupta, from The Noun Project

Money by Atelier Iceberg


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