All of the games produced by TooFatLardies have a turn sequence which is influenced by the turn of cards (to a greater or lesser degree depending on the particular game).
The Great War rule set I enjoy using, "Through the Mud and the Blood" is no exception, and one of the things you need to prepare is a set of cards for the various leaders ("Big Men" in the parlance of the TooFatLardies), support weapons, vehicles, HQs and events.
When I started playing "Through the Mud and the Blood", I simply used old 5" x 3" record cards. However, in October I noticed that these started looking very dog-eared. The result was that I decided to make up my own cards using Microsoft PowerPoint and laminating them using an inexpensive laminator.
Before I go onto the cards themselves, you may like to know why I bothered. After all, the excellent Blog "Gaming with TooFatLardies" by Anibal Invictus (Benito) contains all the cards you'd ever need in a very generously made-available PDF. Another complete set of cards for "Through the Mud and the Blood" are available on the Yahoo Group for TooFatLardies. Both these great resources are free. So ….. why bother making my own?
Partly it was the wish to put my stamp on the games I run. I did the figures, and the terrain, so why not the cards and quick-play sheets also?
But also I was really taken with the idea of "Big Men" being represented named characters in my games, instead of just "German Big Man 1" or "British Big Man 3". I've become really interested in the personal accounts of soldiers in the Great War, particularly those from the area where I live, which is the South East of England.
Although it's a personal thing, I wanted the players to try and think of their Big Men as characters in our wargames, rather than just metal wargames figures. I know that some of the readers of this Blog feel the same way. My friend Ashley, from the excellent Blog Paint It Pink, said to me at Salute in April she thought that the TooFatLardies games were pretty close to roleplaying at times, and I have to say I thought that was a perceptive comment and a good thing in my book. I think that very many wargamers do empathise with the forces their leading on the tabletop, at least in part, but I was hoping that advancing Corporal Charlie Bow or Feldwebel Willi Fischer along a trench traverse would add something extra to our games.
Anyway, whatever the reasoning, here's the results:
I'm no graphic designer. In fact, this was pretty much one of my first attempts at doing any design on a PC. I was really surprised how easy it was to select a free texture from the internet, and add some text or a design.
The fronts of the cards were an image of Lord Kitchener, which I did a very minor change to using the GIMP photo manipulation programme.
A selection of the event cards, some of which are new and which we have been play-testing over the course of the summer for the forthcoming "Passchendaele: Bitter Victory" campaign in the TooFatLardies Christmas Special out next month.
Finally, here's some British and German Blinds, also made using PowerPoint.
I did about 100 cards, printing them in colour, cutting out front and back, gluing together and laminating. It took me about a couple of evenings while watching the (splendid) DVD of The Killing.
It goes without saying that I'd not be able to make the blinds without the very generous textures made available on-line by a very skilful artist, Borealnz. Check out his flickr and wonderful images here. And to Borealnz, again, thank you!