Air Sloop Game Design Journal Cards as a Board

Independent Game Designer Dr. Dave Eng Explores Using Cards as a Game Board in the third entry to the Air Sloop Design Journal.

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Text makes it really easy to create a mail merge for your prototype cards in Microsoft Word. What it doesn’t make easy is how to recognize different icons and values on those cards. That when I decided that I was going to make it easier (and accessible) for players to also identify icons based on their location on the cards.

I began experimenting with cards that were broken down into sections. Players could then read the cards if they were interested in those sections. I’ve always been a fan of games that made economical use of the components and used them in different ways through the course of the game. I wanted to make Sloop the same way.

That’s when I decided to create cards that were double sided, The cards would have places to pickup and deliver goods on the front and “improvements” on the back. In the original sloop game, players could deliver goods to a card and the card would flip over revealing a trading post. At the trading post players could trade goods in one quantity and color for goods of another quantity and color and so forth.

The trading posts I figured made it fun to fulfill orders at a location. It also made best use of both sides of the cards and added more “depth” to the game. What I didn’t anticipate was the pain of having to constantly place, flip, and re-flip cards over and over again. That and the fact that a board made up of “river” cards in a grid didn’t look like a river any more….

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Tesseray Games Independent Publisher
Dr Dave Eng Independent Game Designer

About The Designer

Dave Eng EdD, Principal is an intellectual and creative educator, designer, and researcher who combines games, theory, and technology. Dave has played games for most of his life. As a result he studies game design, creates games, and teaches others how to use games for education and learning. Find out more at

Fun Fact: Dave has been seasick in every time zone.

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