Custom Card Game Design

New Worlds on the Horizon

“It is the 24th century. The humans made great progress in space travel and many planets in the solar system, such as Mars and Europa, have been colonized. Humanity evolved to a civilization able to use the resources of an entire solar system. But despite that great progress, no spaceships other than small unmanned vessels, sent to proximal stars like Alpha Centauri, ever left the boundaries of the solar system. And even with the most powerful telescopes, they never detected any signs of alien life in the universe. However, that changed when the astronomer Thomas Feynard aimed the largest earthbound telescope in the direction of the orion constellation and made an astounding discovery. In the light spectrum of a planet orbiting a sun-like star a molecular oxygen line appeared as clear as day. This was clear evidence for the existence of extraterrestrial life. New, even larger telescopes were constructed to search for other “second earths”, but none were found – the great orion nebula made such subtle observations in that region very difficult.

It wasn’t until 200 years later that humanity’s desire to travel to the stars became reality. The FTL drive was invented and soon the first science vessels were sent to Feynard’s Planet to clear away all doubt. What the “New Horizons” discovered, was beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. Feynard’s Planet was inhabited, but it was a very boring planet – at least compared to many other planets in its proximity. In a volume with only a few lightyears diameter, countless worlds inhabited alien life of all possible appearances. Even completely dry or frozen planets, planets exobiologists previously thought could not possibly bear any life, were populated by lower organisms. All these planets were shrouded from sight by the great orion nebula the entire time.

New HorizonFeynard's Planet

Only a few decades later, a large colonization fleet set off from earth in the direction of the orion constellation. The fleet consisted of science vessels, huge transporters and military ships. Expeditions were sent to many planets, studying the native lifeforms and establishing the first outposts in this sector of the galaxy. Mining bases were constructed on asteroids and on rock and lava planets to support the massive need for resources.

Field ResearcherFirst-Wave Colonist

During the expeditions, they encountered many different species, and though they were all unique, none of them challenged the human’s conception of what an extraterrestrial lifeform should look like – until they encountered a species that was later named the Iamurans. These colossal beings could travel through the vacuum of the galaxy by bending space and time at their will. They resembled marine creatures from earth, so it was theorized that they evolved in water and later in their evolution learned to travel through space. This theory was confirmed, when the planet of their origin was discovered and with it lower-evolved species, yet to ascend from their aquatic nature.


Human spaceships often encountered Iamurans on their journeys and each encounter with these colossi was a memorable event. They aren’t a sentient race and rather act based on instict and may see that unidentified object in front of them as a threat – or as a snack on their way to the next planet.

These gargantuans were often accompanied by a swarm of smaller creatures, which due to their resemblence with earthen insects, were called insectoids. They appeared to live in a symbiosis with the Iamuran, traveling through space as hitchhikers and thus spreading to many different planets in the inner realm. Their planet of origin could be determined, a world completely covered by an alien jungle and embedded in a weird cosmic ether: Paiura.


Though this insectoid breed was composed of many different varieties, they all seemed to act as a single hive. They became the dominant species on Paiura somewhere in the past and wiped out all other species on the planet. They were extremely adaptable, being able to survive in space, and on ice planets and lava planets alike.

At the center of the inner realm, a small group of explorers discovered a planet that appeared ordinary at first – a simple ice planet, orbiting a young sun-like star. But when the scientist team landed on the planet, they discovered what was later described by the popular media as greatest mystery ever to be encountered by mankind. Though this was stated countless times within the last few decades, this would be the last time: Inscribed hedrons scattered over the surface, and ancient technology hidden in caverns pointed towards the existence of a civilization that predated all life in the galaxy. But except for the writings and the machineries, nothing seemed to have remained of that civilization. Soon, the icy planet became the focus of all scientific attention and countless expedition teams explored the many caverns scattered over the surface. Geological studies were made which showed that the planet was old – very old in fact, much older than its parent star. Electronical databases were found within the main complex on the planet’s south pole, containing thousands of pages of text and holograms depicting the milky way and the orion arm in particular. The interface of the database was the holographic avatar of an AI. In time, despite initial problems, the scientists were able to acquire a basic understanding of the AI’s language and logic. The holograms depicted this planet, the AI named it Kaskala, at the center of a celestial map and showed how life spread from Kaskala to other planets, whose names were taken from the database as well:

Paiura, Iamur and Esparand were already known to the humans, but the holograms pointed towards the existence of even more inhabited planets in the outer realms.

Ancient InscriptionsAstronomicum

While determined pioneers begin to build the first human colonies outside the solar system and biologists explore the planets of the inner realm like children a candy shop, the greatest mystery remains unsolved. Who are these ancient people and did life on earth descend from their creation as well? Explorers are already on their way to the outer realm to find new pieces of the puzzle.”

Bonus card:

Today’s bonus card is Astral Unity. For one turn, this Ability brings two planets so close to each other that units can move between those two planets without being exhausted. This is a keyword-ability called orbit. Note that you can play this card while you’re the defending player and after your opponent already declared his attacks on your planets. A handy trick – he didn’t expect that your units could fire back as you move them to defend the planet he attacked (remember that exhausted units can’t attack)!

Astral Unity

“Two allied planets” means two planets controlled by the same player.

Hope you enjoyed this short story. Until next time!


12 responses to “New Worlds on the Horizon

  1. adventmtg July 28, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    I know you and I have talked briefly about this project before you started posting this stuff, but how long have you been working on this? It’s much more detailed than I expected when you first told me about it – the story seems well thought out, the art is amazinngly spot-on, and the different races are very unique (I love the concept of semi-sentient space whales!).

    I’ve got a small group local to me who helps me playtest my MtG sets, I’ve shared these links with a few of them and the response is pretty positive, I think we’d love to play with the cards at some point.

  2. Prophylaxis July 28, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    I agree. I think that if you’d post some more cards then we could probably do a wall game together.

  3. antaresmtg July 28, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    I’d absolutely love to expand my player-base – ultimately that was my goal. My aim for the first set is 120 cards and I’m currently at 107/120. When I got everything done, I’ll ask a friend to design “Duel Decks: Humans vs. Alien” with me, playtest it a bit, and then I can give these decks to you guys – this will ensure you get the best possible experience 🙂
    Until then, there are still some mechanics I would like to talk about – again, the game is very complex, and it can be frustrating for a new player so I try to minimize that.
    I think the “bonus card” section in each article is a great way to teach the keyword-mechanics to you.

  4. Prophylaxis July 28, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    Maro’s Tumblr:

    shadowclaimer asked: If we wanted to create a card game from scratch, where would you suggest we begin for learning? I’ve read all of your articles and studied extensively, and would like to begin making my ideas real.

    There’s no one place to start. Figure out whatever you can and mock it up. Start playing with it. The take notes and makes changes. Once you have the changes, play it again. Keep going until others not invested in your success tell you it’s a good game.

    This is called iterative design and is how games are mostly designed.

  5. antaresmtg July 28, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    You’re misunderstanding me. This IS the third iteration of the game. I’ve been working on it for 3 years now. Most the game mechanics already exist and what I’m doing here isn’t designing the game as I’m writing, I’m reworking it with the experience I gained in the last year or so – and showcasing it once I think it’s in a publishable form.

    I interpret what you wanted to say with that quote is: “Stop trying to be a perfectionist and give us what you got!” and the reality is, that’s what I’m actually doing the entire time – giving you what I got :).

    I recognize that you want to play and it’s awesome that you do. I think “Duel Decks” is a cool idea. I’ll have them ready by next week, so you guys chill 🙂

  6. Mrblurr July 30, 2012 at 1:25 am

    I have a quick question about your game (which I find really well done btw): Have you done any kind of copyrighting/patenting on this game? I ask because I’m designing my own as well and I am wondering what the best/easiest way to go about it would be.

    I might be putting up cards here once I get some more artwork.

  7. antaresmtg July 30, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    I really have no experience with copyrights, maybe Advent knows more about that kind of stuff. I don’t own any artwork I use, but I don’t want have any financial interest in the game, so it’s fair use (I don’t use any artwork where the artist stated it’s not to be used). I put my name on the cards, I don’t know what else I can or should do.

    Make sure to tell us once you post about your game 🙂 I’ll post a link up here if you’d like then.

  8. adventmtg July 31, 2012 at 8:10 am

    Copyrighting things would be hard. To be honest, I wouldn’t know the first place to start.

  9. Pingback: Mechanics – Finishing up « Adventares – Custom Card Game Design

  10. Mrblurr August 2, 2012 at 5:51 am seems to be a good place to start.

    I plan on copywriting my stuff if possible because I plan on getting artwork created for it and selling it as a whole. That’s 1 reason why I’m hesitant to put up any cards as of yet.

  11. Mrblurr August 3, 2012 at 2:21 am

    Also, that’s a nice logo you got there…I bet whoever made that is a great designer. lol

  12. Pingback: Meet the Torians | Adventares

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: