Presented by Zero of Mystic Mask Media
Maybe you watched two individuals playing a card game in a store. Maybe you were watching a cartoon, or reading a comic in which the protagonist takes on their rival in a card game with everything on the line. Whatever the case, you are suddenly filled with inspiration and are now looking to release this built up creative energy in some way. You think “maybe I can make my own card game?” Why not? Go for it!
I’ve attempted and restarted my trading card game, TerraZone, Clash of Creatures, countless times until it reached its final form as far as rules go. The point of this article is to share what I know about starting up one’s own trading card game. Some aspects of this may even translate to other types of games you may want to create, or even other types of media. Overall, I’m here to hopefully give you a hand at getting started.
The first thing you want to do is ask yourself: “which path do I want to take?” Do you want to use it as a quick outlet for your inspiration, or do you wish to go big with it and share it with the world? Neither path is incorrect, however this decision is very important, for you will be maneuvering the path differently depending on your choice.
Should you go with the quick outlet option, you would be viewing this project as more of a side hobby. This is a good option if you have another primary goal in life, that of which requires more attention, or is more valuable to you. With this, you’re really just looking to create something fun for your close friends and family to enjoy during your down time. I also highly recommend this choice if you’re still in school, or if you feel you lack the proper training or experience to take the more serious path. Starting this path could also aid in preparing you for the other one. In fact, I highly recommend starting with this one, as you don’t have to be committed to a path after choosing.
Going with option two sets you down a path in which you are dead serious on making this a reality. You’re going to be working to share your project with the world. Perhaps this is something you have always wanted to do. Maybe you started on the previous path and have pushed the project aside to focus on other aspects of your life, only to return to the project, because you just could not bare to let it go. Just know, this path is incredibly difficult. You will trip. You will fall. Along the way, you may have breakthroughs, or you may feel discouraged. No matter what happens you must tell yourself you’ll stand back up and press forward.
I have been on both of these paths and I am currently walking the serious path as we speak. With this article, I will be sharing with you some of my experiences on both of these paths and providing whatever tips I may be able to provide other aspiring creators that may be reading this.
Path 1: The Hobby Path
So, should you choose path number one, you are acknowledging that you are simply using this to either quickly express your creativity, or perhaps for you to find out if this is something you want to get serious about. If you’re still in school, or feel you lack the skills and experience to go big with it, this is the perfect option.
The first thing to consider is: “What am I creating?” Let’s say it’s a card game for the sake of this article. The very next thing is to analyze what your strengths are. Are you good at drawing? Are you knowledgable at making up rules to a game? Are you creative? Do you have experience with all of this? Before you jump right in, ask yourself one more thing: “What are my weaknesses”? Maybe you know how to make rules up, but feel you have no talent for drawing. The art is a big aspect of every card game. You’ll need pictures, otherwise your cards will just have text with no additional fun flavor to them. Consider having friends or family help you if you need it.
When getting help from others on this path, it would be best to seek out those that will help you for free. That is why I recommended close friends and family. Chances are they won’t ask for payment. They just want to share in the fun. You will definitely want to save your money for other important aspects of your life, seeing as how this is going to be a side hobby for you to just have a little fun. Of course, you can also use it as a learning experience. You can look back on these times and analyze what you did right and what you did wrong.
I took this path as early as childhood. I had a lot of ideas that popped into my head as I got inspired by the cartoons I watched and video games I played. I was happy simply letting it out in some way, even if there really wasn’t an audience to share it with. This path continued for years and years. Eventually my close friends were brought in. Once I shared my card game with them, they were hooked. I even took advantage of Facebook and created a group for everyone where I would release cards and they’d post their thoughts. It was overall just something fun to do with everyone while I worked my way through college.
Walk the Hobby Path if you’re viewing the project as a fun thing to do on the side, or if you feel you may eventually drop it for something else. Try not to dip into your finances, especially if you know you will drop it. It’s very easy to let go of a lot of your savings and create trouble for yourself. Ultimately, just have fun while traversing this path. Take your time with it. Don’t worry at all about the “negative” opinions of others if you know you won’t get serious with it. Use it as a learning experience if you’re planning to eventually go big with it though.
Path 2: The Career Path
You are determined. You may have walked the Hobby Path and learned a great deal from it. You may have gone to college, or vocational school to acquire whatever knowledge or further experience you felt you needed. You are dead serious on fulfilling your dream.
As I mentioned before, this is going to be extremely difficult. It is very important that you understand this. Many people give up and throw away their dreams when things get too hard, or they feel like they’re not good enough. Don’t be one of those people.
You will want to start by reexamining what it is that you want to do and what your strengths and weaknesses are. It is extremely important to know what it is that you can handle by yourself on this venture. I highly, highly recommend getting assistance here. Gather up those that want to see your dream take off and that eagerly wish to help you do so. They will help cover your weaknesses. It takes a team of passionate individuals to create something remarkable. Acknowledge that you may not be able to handle it all by yourself, and that’s okay. It’s very likely your project may not succeed in the big leagues without some help.
Hold onto the valuable connections you have made over the years. You never know who may become a very important key player in your life. The people you want to bring in on the project must be as serious as you. If they are not, your project will suffer. If they are not aiding in your endeavors the way you wish them to, kindly, and as civil as possible, ask them to go. Do what you can to protect your dream and help it grow.
Start a business if you feel you need to. It may help others take you more seriously if you have an official name you work under. Start it up with a small collection of strong allies. I highly recommend starting with a small team. With more people working with you, it may be too challenging to divide roles up to everyone. Also, the more people involved in the main core of the project, the more butting of heads will occur, which will ultimately slow your progress.
Progress is extremely important on this path. If you’re serious, you need to work consistently on getting your life’s work out there for people to see. Meet with your associates daily, if possible, to continuously discuss your progress and what you must do next. Hold no critique back. Let the others know your thoughts and encourage them to do the same for you. You want this to be the very best it can possibly be if you want it to even have a chance. It is also extremely preferred if they are willing to work for you without charge, at least as a start. The lack of money will dampen your progress severely if you have to keep paying them while you’re not raking in anything.
You must utilize social media. I cannot stress this enough. This is a digital age and almost everyone is on a computer nowadays. YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Discord, Twitter; whatever you choose, use it as often as possible. Share your project news and give them little bits of information about it as the days go by. Make it sound as exciting as possible. Show the most eye-catching images you or a teammate could create. Try your best not to go long periods of time without updating viewers and readers. People will lose interest and not take you seriously. If you’re not pulling in the viewers and followers, don’t give up. Keep going. Just because you are lost in a giant sea of content doesn’t mean you will never surface. Get someone to help with marketing if you must and build more connections. No one will hear your voice if you don’t speak.
While walking this path, you are aiming to make this a career. You want to make this your main source of income as you live life. Chances are this won’t be the case right away. Know that you are trying to make this a career, but you must also do what you can to keep a stable living as you do so. Unlike the Hobby Path, you must dip into your finances at times in order to go down the Career Path. You’ll want to branch out and seek assistance from those not in your immediate social circle. These strangers will want to be compensated for their work and you must respect this. They’re trying to make a living, just as you are. Calculate how much money you need to spend in order to move forward. Save up whatever you make from other jobs and use only what you must. Try offering commissions. This could net some funds while also potentially building connections. Consider what further assistance you require that you nor anyone on your team can provide and specifically seek it out. I really recommend not spending your hard-earned income on someone else to do whatever you can do, or a teammate can do.
A few years back I started up my business, Mystic Mask Media. It began with a whopping six members, including myself. This was far too many. Some members couldn’t contribute as much as others and I had an extremely difficult time dividing up roles. Some left, while others were asked to leave. Fortunately, we are all on good terms and they became more like “hired help” on occasion. You can have as much of that as you like, as long as you can pay them. However, the tightly nit group should start small, especially if you have to pay them. We now have three main members, including myself, and we meet often on Discord calls to give updates and plan our next moves. We work close together to make sure we accomplish our goal of releasing a game on Steam revolved around our card game. We also analyzed our own strengths and weaknesses, so every member offers their own skills to the project. We post often on Discord, Instagram, and Twitter, and occasionally on YouTube and Facebook. To this day, we move forward and none of it would be possible without the help of my teammates, Draco and Taitu.
I sincerely hope that this article helped you in some way. If it even only helps one person start down the right path, that would be awesome. Of course, I only shared what I know at this current time, for I, myself, am still traversing the Career Path. There is much more for me to learn, so let’s all learn and experience together.
Next time, I plan on discussing tips on the actual creation of one’s own trading card game, as this article was just to set you up with the right path.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you’re interested in my trading card game: TerraZone, Clash of Creatures, you can follow Mystic Mask Media on YouTube, Twitter, or our very own website, as well as join our Discord community. You’ll find the links below.
Our website: https://www.mysticmaskmedia.com/
Discord server: https://discord.gg/R6QefxE