If you were ever interested in printing a collectible card game…

April 24th, 2006

…just run away — don’t do it! Alright, so you still want to, well I might as well share what I know….
So I learned a lot when I attempted to purchase Cyberpunk CCG. One of the things is what a pain the @#$ it is to figure out how to layout the printing forms. The thing with CCGs is that each pack of cards has to have the appearing of containing a random assortment of cards. Furthermore, the distribution in the cards has to maintain a certain rarity. What makes all this tricky is that for the lowest cost per card, you need to print on a form that is 11×11 cards — and you need to order at least 1250 of them. Furthermore, the more specialized your sorting is, the more they charge you. The main reason is that for any but the most trivial sorting needs, they actually hire labor to do it by hand.

Now to set this up, we were planning an expansion to Cyberpunk CCG called Live and Direct. We were going to ship a new starter deck that contained 77 cards and boosters that contained 11. We needed to make sure that there would be twice as many printed uncommons as rares, and four times as many printed commons as printed rares. And on top of it all, we needed the boosters to appear random. Each unique code in the table below matched to a card we were designing. Incedentally, we used yaquinto — I highly recommend them.
Here is the post where I attempted to explain to my team what we were doing:

Ok, I found that the printer doesn’t sort on a row level. Rather, they split the form into a block of 66 and a block of 55 cards. Sooooo, I had to do another pass at this — anyone want to do a rubix cube competition with me?

This SHOULD meet the printers requirements.

We will run 2500 sheets of forms 1 and 2
We will run 1250 sheets of form 3

Yield
===
50K booster packs of 11 cards
2500 starter deck of 72 cards
1250 Prize packs of 11 rares

Coding
=====
0CXX == Common Card (Red Back)
1CXX == Common Card (Blue Back)
0UXX == Uncommon Card (Red Back)
1UXX == Uncommon Card (Blue Back)
0RXX == Rare Card (Red Back)
1RXX == Rare Card (Blue Back)
0SXX == Sponsor Card (Red Back)
0SXX == Sponsor Card (Blue Back)
0FXX == Fixed Exclusive Card (Red Back)
1FXX == Fixed Exclusive Card (Blue Back)

NOTE: 1U77 and 0U89 actually have the same probability as
a rare (and should probably be marked as rares)

# Unique Cards by Coding
===================
Common: 66
Uncommon: 89
Rare: 55
Sponsor: 06
Fixed Exclusive: 22

Total Unique Cards: 237

Booster Contents (11 cards)
====================
NOTE: actually split of C/U may slightly vary
6 Common
4 Uncommon
1 Rare

Starter Contents (72 cards)
===================
6 Sponsors
49 Fixed Exclusive
12 Common
8 Uncommon
2 Rare

Prize Pack Contents (11 cards)
======================
11 rares

FORM 1 x 2500:
============
BLOCK 1
ROW 01: 0C01 1C02 0C03 1C04 0U01 1U02 0C05 1C06 0C07 1C08 0U03
ROW 02: 1U04 0C09 1C10 0C11 1C12 0U05 1U06 0C13 1C14 0C15 1C16
ROW 03: 0U07 1U08 0C17 1C18 0C19 1C20 0U09 1U10 0C21 1C22 0C23
ROW 04: 1C24 0U11 1U12 0C25 1C26 0C27 1C28 0U13 1U14 0C29 1C30
ROW 05: 0C31 1C32 0U15 1U16 0C33 1C34 0C35 1C36 0U17 1U18 0C37
ROW 06: 1C38 0C39 1C40 0U19 1U20 0C41 1C42 0C43 1C44 0U21 1U22

BLOCK 2
ROW 07: 1U45 0U46 1C22 0C21 1U47 0U48 1C20 0C19 1U49 0U50 1C18
ROW 08: 0C17 1U51 0U52 1C16 0C15 1U53 0U54 1C14 0C13 1U55 0U56
ROW 09: 1C12 0C11 1U57 0U58 1C10 0C09 1U59 0U60 1C08 0C07 1U61
ROW 10: 0U62 1C06 0C05 1U63 0U64 1C04 0C03 1U65 0U66 1C02 0C01
ROW 11: 1U67 0U68 1C66 0C65 1U69 0U70 1C64 0C63 1U71 0U72 1C62

FORM 2 x 2500
===========
BLOCK 1
ROW 01: 0C45 1C46 0C47 1C48 0U23 1U24 0C49 1C50 0C51 1C52 0U25
ROW 02: 1U26 0C53 1C54 0C55 1C56 0U27 1U28 0C57 1C58 0C59 1C60
ROW 03: 0U29 1U30 0C61 1C62 0C63 1C64 0U31 1U32 0C65 1C66 0C23
ROW 04: 1C24 0U33 1U34 0C25 1C26 0C27 1C28 0U35 1U36 0C29 1C30
ROW 05: 0C31 0C32 0U37 0U38 0C33 0C34 0C35 0C36 0U39 0U40 0C37
ROW 06: 1C38 1C39 1C40 1U41 1U42 1C41 1C42 1C43 1C44 1U43 1U44

BLOCK 2
ROW 07: 0S01 1S02 0S03 1S04 0S05 1S06 0F01 1F02 0F03 1F04 0F05
ROW 08: 1F06 0F07 1F08 0F09 1F10 0F11 1F12 0F13 1F14 0F15 1F16
ROW 09: 0F01 1F02 0F03 1F04 0F05 1F06 0F07 1F08 0F09 1F10 0F11
ROW 10: 1F12 0F13 1F14 0F15 1F16 0F17 1F18 0F19 1F20 0F21 1F22
ROW 11: 0F01 1F02 0F03 1F04 0F05 1F06 0F07 1F08 0F09 1F10 0F11

FORM 3 X 1250
===========
BLOCK 1
ROW 01: 0C61 1C60 0U73 1U74 0C59 1C58 0U75 1U76 0C57 1C56 0U77
ROW 02: 1U78 0C55 1C54 0U79 1U80 0C53 1C52 0U81 1U82 0C51 1C50
ROW 03: 0U83 1U84 0C49 1C48 0U85 1U86 0C47 1C46 0U87 1U88 0C45
ROW 04: 1C60 0U73 1U74 0C61 1C58 0U75 1U76 0C59 1C56 0U83 1U89
ROW 05: 0C57 1C48 0U85 1U86 0C49 1U88 0C47 1U84 0C45 1C46 0U87
ROW 06: 1U78 0C55 1C54 0U79 1U80 0C53 1C52 0U81 1U82 0C51 1C50

BLOCK 2
ROW 07: 0R01 1R02 0R03 1R04 0R05 1R06 0R07 1R08 0R09 1R10 0R11
ROW 08: 1R12 0R13 1R14 0R15 1R16 0R17 1R18 0R19 1R20 0R21 1R22
ROW 09: 0R23 1R24 0R25 1R26 0R27 1R28 0R29 1R30 0R31 1R32 0R33
ROW 10: 1R34 0R35 1R36 0R37 1R38 0R39 1R40 0R41 1R42 0R43 1R44
ROW 11: 0R45 1R46 0R47 1R48 0R49 1R50 0R51 1R52 0R53 1R54 0R55

BOOSTER SORTING:
==============
6 cards from (FORM1.BLOCK1 OR FORM2.BLOCK1)
4 cards from (FORM1.BLOCK2 OR FORM3.BLOCK1)
1 card from (FORM1.BLOCK2)

STARTER SORTING:
==============
55 cards from FORM2.BLOCK2
12 cards from (FORM1.BLOCK1 OR FORM2.BLOCK1)
8 cards from (FORM1.BLOCK2 OR FORM3.BLOCK1)
2 card from (FORM1.BLOCK2)

PRIZE PACK SORTING:
================
11 cards from FORM3.BLOCK2

Entry Filed under: Games

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  • 1. DPrentice  |  April 24th, 2006 at 10:56 am

    which is why whenever you open a booster, the uncommons and the rare are always stacked in the same location in the booster pack.

    There is NO true randomization of cards… 8 common, 2 uncommon, 1 rare per booster… (maybe you’ll get lucky and get the 1 ultrarare per sheet as your rare, lol)

    These classifications were carefully determined, sorted, shuffled and stacked up… then they distribute them appropriately to have a fair distribution.

    The days of opening up an early ccg booster and finding 3 ultra rare cards is long gone. While it can be exciting, it’s bad business to have a true randomization, where the kid who can afford 2 packs doesn’t get the same proportion of uncommon and rare as the rich kid (or suitably employed adult) who buys by the box.

    the other problem I see was that generally, in a 36 pack of boosters… you’d never get a real breakdown of an expansion – ie, there were
    Common: 66
    Uncommon: 89
    Rare: 55
    Sponsor: 06
    in your set.

    In a box, that means youd get roughly 2/3 the rares, most of the uncommons, and roughly 4 of each common.

    so to complete a set, you’d end up buying another box… and due to the random distribution, you’d still end up with a hole or two in your uncommon and rare cards, and have 6-10 of each common. You’re now sittng on somewhere between 300-500 unuseable cards. And they’re probably unsaleable too….as they’re the same commons and uncommons as everyone else is sitting on after 2 boxes.

    yes… its a money maker for the production companies, cuz it builds to the impulse buys, and the addiction factor…. but it’s a real drag to the consumer….

  • 2. sonjaya  |  April 24th, 2006 at 8:27 pm

    One of the things we discussed a lot what how many booster boxes we wanted people to buy before they got a full set. We opted for two — and it is not just for monetary reasons.

    You don’t want them to run out of cards too quickly — if it only takes one booster box to get a full set, then in about 4-6 months, your players are essentially out of content. The core players through purchases or trades would end up getting a full set.

    At two boosters you give yourself 9 months to come out with the next expansion — which isn’t a lot of time for a small company — unless you are the big players, these ccgs don’t bring in a lot of money.

    So, that is why we were shooting for a distribution that required 2 booster boxes for a full set. We felt we had a plan in place that could deliver expansions every 9 months (and we were shooting to get it down to every 6 months) — now if we just could have got that license sorted out 😛

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