Fan Art: tikgnat's Tech Spec Card Game (or 'The Evolution of a thing')

Discussion in 'Creative General Discussion' started by tikgnat, Jun 28, 2018.

  1. tikgnat

    tikgnat Baweepgranaweepninnybong. TFW2005 Supporter

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    Hello everyone, I have done a thing. As some of you may know for the last three years I have made a TF based fan calendar which showcases pictures of the talented peeps from the UKTD thread. And without blowing my own trumpet (pnaar) they're pretty damn swish. They're not available any more but details are in these two threads. The point is, I have form.

    Fan Art: - UKTD Thread 2017 Calendar thread!
    Fan Art: - UKTD Thread 2018 Calendar thread!

    Background

    I am a big Tech Specs fan. Huge in fact, I have copies of every single one on my phone! For a while now I've wanted a Top Trumps type card game based on these specs, a feeling only made stronger when the official TF Top Trumps TF cards I purchased were pretty damn weak. I thought why can't I make my own? So I started a set but dropped it after a while. Because (frankly) they were rubbish.

    Flash forward some time. At the 2017 TFNation (the UK's biggest TF convention) Bob Budiansky was visiting the UK (IIRC for the first time) and I wanted him to sign something special for me. Bob was the fella who wrote the bio's on the Tech Specs (and presumably did the stats themselves) and I remembered the cards I had started. Because of my calendar experience, I figured I would take another stab at it.

    So I started again and made a set of 30 cards (28 from the 1984 roster and 2 from 1985) which kinda looked pretty darn swish. They obviously have the G1 box art for every character, but they are based off of the 1987 digital sunburst look, coupled with 1990 Action Master Tech Specs! Have some low res pics to see what they look like.

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    I then had my professional printers make me a set of cards which I cut out by hand myself (which is an utter ballache I tell you). I remember being nervous, I only had the one set done and that means NO MISTAKES. But I was successful!

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    A swift purloinment of an actual Top Trumps case and I was ready!

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    I took them to TFN, and Bob kindly signed them! But how do you sign a deck of cards I hear you ask? Did he sign every card? Well, sort of. You see, when you put the cards in alphabetical order (Autobots followed by Decepticons) Bob's name is right there on the side... 'more than meets the eye' indeed!

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    The thing was, I got a fair amount of interest in these, from people at the show and from peeps online afterward. Am I going to do a run for a wider audience? Well, I wasn't planning to... but this brings us to what I'm showcasing today. With TFN 2018 looming I thought you know what? It'd be nice to see people at the bar at TFN playing my card game. It'll give me the warm and fuzzies...

    Development

    I figured this would be pretty straightforward, just get the printers to redo the cards yeah? And because the printers are actually geared to making cards themselves, just get them to cut out the cards? Also, I would order a bunch of standard playing card cases from Amazon. Easy peasy.

    Before I got the Printers to do produce the cards, I altered the them a little bit. The Bob Budiansky cards were produced in RGB, which leads to a curious greying of blacks. So I changed them to CMYK and doubled the resolution so the text on the cards would be crisper.

    You can just about see the greying on the original Bob card on the left in this pic. The text is also sharper, but it's something you can only really appreciate in real life.

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    In any case, 20 sets of cards were printed out (all preordered from people who put names forward... like the worlds worst Kickstarter) ready to be packed into their cases. All I had to do was wait until the cases arrived... unfortunately when they did arrive, DISASTER.

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    Did you know that Top Trumps cards (of which these are meticulously based on) are actually NOT standard playing card size? You didn't? Well I didn't either! And (even though I should have) I hadn't checked. So of course this happened. They didn't fit. Oh woe. Oh disaster. I returned the cases and lamented that I would have to give these cards 'as is' which (if I'm honest) kinda rubbed me up the wrong way. I wanted these to be nice, y'know?

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    So there's my set of cards sitting on the computer desk, I'd just finished blacking the edges (of my own mass production set, it's something I would never do on the Bob Budiansky set. Also, bear in mind that every other set still has white edges!) sitting next to the Ocular Max Laserbeak case (yeah, I have toys just lying around) and I noticed something. They looked the same size...

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    OMG. A solution! I could just order tape cases instead! So off I went to order some and in the meantime I figured I would design a cassette sleeve for the case! Complete with instructions (because these aren't actually Top Trumps cards, the rules are oh so slightly different). Because I was going for the super 80's feel I decided to base the sleeve cover on my 1980's Autopuzzle and Deceptiquiz Book (2) and the actual instructions on the 1980's TF instruction booklets! 'Excessive force is not necessary' indeed. And while I was at it, why not recreate a Robot Point for it too? I mean, I'm going for maximum nostalgia right? Here's an early version of the sleeve... notice I can't count between steps. Hey, I prefer my TF's to have as few steps as possible right? Maybe that's why... :redface2: 

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    Prototype

    I then went off and bought a couple of tape cases and printed out a sleeve myself to try it out, which lead to my first prototype! Oooh get me. The sleeve required a bit of jiggery pokery to get it right, but that's what prototypes are for right? And as you can see, it makes a pretty handsome package, even if my Laser Printer is a bit knackered. This was, pretty much what you could expect to recieve. The idea was to see if the (slim) budget could accomodate the Printers printing these sleeves out, or I could use my own printer to produce them. Ideally though, I would want the professional printers to do it, as it would just look nicer.

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    Production

    In the meantime I had another 20 peeps want some cards, so I commissioned another 20, bringing the total up to 40. The 40 sets were all earmarked for people who put in orders, so as of right now there are none available. As I'm doing this for fun (not profit) I'm ordering print runs as requests come in, that way I'm not going to be left with unsold decks. 40 tape cases arrived and 40 sleeves were printed.

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    As you can see, the sleeves came on big sheets (cost saving innit?) so I had to cut those out myself with a scalpel (again, an utter ballache) and if you look closely, I used cotton gloves so I wouldn't get grubby fingerprints all over the paper gloss. I also cut to the Wonder Woman OST, which is by the by. Dramatic music while I cut!

    It took a couple of hours (at least) and then I checked EACH deck and found 4 duplicate Shockwave (instead of Soundwave) cards and one offset Huffer card (see? QC checks! 3P companies take note! It's actually possible to do quality control! Who'd have thunk?) and packed them all and sealed them (to confirm the cards have been checked) with a little bit of tape.

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    It was a lot of effort, but it was worth it in the end. They look mighty lovely I think you'll agree. My original plan was to distribute these to everyone at TFN (an icebreaker, meet new people, make the convention better for myself) but there were some post orders too... I WAS going to hold off until the convention to send them of but then thought, why wait? Seems kinda berkish.

    So yesterday I sent most of the postal orders out. In fact as I write this some may even have been popped through post boxes? Excite! I figured that this run of 40 would be it... over. Finished.

    HOWEVER. I have recieved some more interest in these. Now, in order to try and keep costs as low as possible I am having these done in runs of 20. As of this post I am up to another 11 on run 3. If I can get up to 15 I will commision another run and nobody will be disappointed. So... if you want a set it will cost £10 for a TFN pickup (or add p&p if you need it posted to wherever you are).

    Best place to contect me is either here through PM, or on twitter (trollgnat (@tikgnat) | Twitter). I would say Facebook, but because it likes to eat posts (and I have a nightmare trying to track people down who haven't messaged me directly) I can never find anything.

    So yeah, if you want a set, let me know!
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2018
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  2. milton75

    milton75 New Member

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    Okay, so I don't have 10 posts yet (I mainly lurk here), so I can't post links in the below...

    I'm one of those lucky people who had some cards arrive through the post today. Handed to me at my desk courtesy of my friendly receptionist at work.

    Amazing.

    The finish on them is fantastic, and when I saw the Robot Point I laughed out loud! The best part of these is their commitment to the style of G1 art. these genuinely could have been an official release!

    In fact, let's take that a step further: these are better than an official release. For those that don't already know, some of sets of Transformers Top Trumps do exist. Here I would link to the tfwiki page on the topic. You'll all find it easily enough.

    The "official" ones are rubbish. As you can see if you look at the wiki page, they are littered with errors and general nonsense. The closest ones to what tikgnat has created are the 30 Blasts from the Past! cards. The page lists a few "highlights" from the shop-bought ones:

    Cosmos has the highest "Size" stat at 6, making him bigger than Devastator. Cosmos also has the highest "Power" stat possible at 50, making him equal to both Optimus and Devastator.
    The disguise stat ranges from 1 (Cosmos and Grimlock) to 20 (Ransack, Ironhide, Barrage and... Devastator?!)
    Seaspray and Skywarp only get a Top Trumps Rating of 2, while Optimus and Grimlock get the maximum rating of 15.
    Grapple's bio notes that he turns into a "construction site roadhauler".
    Shockwave's bio notes that he is an Action Master partnered with Fistfight.

    etc.

    When I googled them the first thing I saw was Soundwave's card... which claims that Soundwave was introduced in 1989??

    So in summary: Buy tikgnat's cards. They are ace.
     
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  3. tikgnat

    tikgnat Baweepgranaweepninnybong. TFW2005 Supporter

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    Aw, thanks man, that's a lovely post, glad you liked them! The cards (which I designed last year) are just awesome (pats myself on the back), but 'maximum nostalgia' was what I was going for with the cassette sleeve. The fact the original cases didn't fit was a nice bit of serendipity which lead to these new cases.

    In other news, I have hit the max 20 on run 3, (60 in total so far! Who'd have thunk?) which means you have to wait for another 15 to 20 peeps for run 4... but if I'm honest none of my little project things ever go over 60, odds are not good for run 4. :( 
     
  4. tikgnat

    tikgnat Baweepgranaweepninnybong. TFW2005 Supporter

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    CARD UPDATE Did you know, logic is our friend? I have a bunch of people who have just made post orders for the cards. I have a bunch of card sets set aside for TFN peeps. TFN isn't until August. What should I do? Wait until the new cards are printed before sending the cards? Or should I first send the TFN cards to the waiting post people, and then use the cards that are arriving to replenish the TFN stock? Seeing as they're not needed until August? I'll send out the cards first?

    Look at that. I worked that out all on my own! Bonza! I R SMAT.

    TLDR, If you asked for posted and have paid already then your cards are in the post and will be with you (UKers) tomorrow hopefully. USAers... if you get them tomorrow... then that'll be a bloody miracle.
     

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