Check it out, here are the Warrior, Item and Battlefield card backs for Story War! Click on them and check out the details! The logo was designed by Ned Hugar, the border was designed by Maré Odomo and the textures were designed by Farid Safaie.
It took us MONTHS to settle on these. There were so many challenges involved with coming up with the card backs: We wanted each one to evoke a book cover and also their role in the game. But they couldn’t be too literal because we intend to do expansions that share a common card backs but have different “themes” - for example, a scifi expansion would look odd if it had a leathery book texture on the opposite side. But the cards need to all have the same backs so that they can be mixed together. So I told all of that to Maré and he came up with that book-like white border which looks really great.
We went with red triangles for Warriors, because it evokes “attack” and blue circles for Items because it evokes “defense,” and green checkers for Battlefields because it looks like a chess board or a field. We originally had “gold” for items, and they were briefly called “Treasure” and they were a thing you earned and spent. But we decided that items are used in much more interesting ways if they replenish automatically. Also, yellow is a difficult color to balance with white and”red green blue” sort of makes more sense as a set than “red green yellow.”
Each card back needs to have some distinctive texture so that Story War can be played by color blind people or in low light - I’ve tried playing it with non-textured backs in bars, etc, with colored lighting, and it’s always difficult to tell the decks apart. The textures are designed to make it easy to tell which card is wich without relying 100% on color, but also keeping all three backs on a unified theme. Farid did a great job on these.
The logo was the first thing I designed with Ned Hugar. Originally it had some lightning bolts around the sides - the stars and lightning bolts were going to be a recurring motif, but people kept parsing the lightning bolts as superscripted “S” shapes, so we got rid of them. The star became the logo for the game, and it’s a recurring motif you’ll see a lot on the card art.
Before we even had a logo, we had a celtic knot looking star thing as the “Triforce”-like symbol for Story War:
We eventually settled on a more cartoony art style and a less serious tone, so we got rid of this star (which we called the “five point lotus” - SO SERIOUS) and replaced it with the new star. We originally called the new star the “cute star” at first, but have since renamed it the Wishing Star.
We decided to make the Wishing Star it’s own item card after discovering problems with the genie. It was hard to limit the genie’s powers, and also a genie felt like he should be a servant to someone else - it didn’t make sense to put our “wishing” mechanic on a Warrior card. So instead we added the Wishing Star, which will grant any wish your heart desires but not without an “ironic twist”:
The idea that the Wishing Star can do whatever you want, but someone else (the judge) is going to mess it up for you is sort of the core idea behind Story War.
I think a lot of people will hear about the concept of Story War and get excited about the idea that it allows for unbridled creative freedom, like Minecraft in Create Mode - but that’s not quite the case. The fact that Story War is a mandatory 3-or-more player game means your creative freedom is reined in by input from other people, which I think is a really interesting concept. I’m really glad the Wishing Star exists, even though it was one of the last new items we added, it feels like a thing that was meant to be in Story War all along.
We’ve got less than 2 days to send the game to the printers. If you didn’t get a chance to back our Kickstarter you can always pre-order Story War here.