Fairway 3 Games https://www.fairway3games.com Play games, have fun, learn Sat, 19 May 2018 18:27:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.6 https://www.fairway3games.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/cropped-fw3-white-150x150.png Fairway 3 Games https://www.fairway3games.com 32 32 111969149 Three easy tricks to make public domain art work better for your game https://www.fairway3games.com/three-easy-tricks-to-make-public-domain-art-work-better-for-your-game/ https://www.fairway3games.com/three-easy-tricks-to-make-public-domain-art-work-better-for-your-game/#respond Sat, 19 May 2018 18:27:35 +0000 https://www.fairway3games.com/?p=1035 There are lots of free sources of high resolution, public-domain images out there. Many of the best pieces to use are illustrations from old books or oil paintings.  And lots of new designers try to use those in their games.  There’s usually one problem: just slapping them onto a card usually looks terrible.  In this quick tutorial, I offer three tips for “doing it better” using Gimp.

The British Library collection on Flickr.com is an amazing resource of old illustrations.  There’s one really common issue: everything is yellow.

Getting started

Let’s start with an illustration.  For purposes of this tip, I’ve cropped it to a reasonable size.  The source image is show to the right.

Tip #1 – It’s all about the crop

It should go without saying, but you probably can’t and shouldn’t use the image in it’s original form. What’s more, if you’re trying to use lots of images in your game, you’re probably going to want them the same dimensions.  So, rather than using the “rectangle tool” we’re going to create an image and then paste the source image into the properly sized image.

Create a new file.

Set your dimensions and click “OK”

In the new file, you’re going to “paste” the source image.  Then on your layers’ menu, find the Floating Selection, right-click on it and select “To New Layer”.

Now, you can use the “Move Tool” to move your pasted layer to move the image to a better centering.

I moved it to focus on the ladies’ faces.

Now we can resize the layer.  Click “Layer -> Scale Layer…”

I usually try something slightly larger than the image dimensions.

And then use the movement tool (on “Move Active Layer”) to center it.  The final result is shown in the next step.  The result is also that you’ll have an easily repeatable way to crop any other images.


Tip #2 – Let its true colors shine through

Fixing the colors

After loading the image into Gimp, go to “Colors -> Levels…”.

Click “Auto”. Then “okay.”

The image should almost immediately appear more “normal” in color.

If that didn’t quite clean it up.  You can also use the “pick black” and “pick white” options from the same “Levels…” dialog box.

And then pick a “white” spot on the actual image.  You may need to play around with which spots result in the best color results.

This results in the above example is slightly brighter and more white results.


Tip #3 – Use Waifu2x…

Lots of paintings and illustrations also have distracting imperfections. These could be a result of the painting technique, the illustration technique or just the consequences of aging.  One way to turns those public domain works into something that look more modern or digital is to use an online enlargement tool called Waifu2x.  This won’t work for everything and you should use the technique thoughtfully.

There are a few online versions. I use waifu2x.udp.jp.  Just upload the image you want to the site.  Click that you’re not a robot and then click “Convert”.  Don’t change any of the settings.

At the default settings, the image will also be enlarged., but the result can work quite nicely for your illustrations.

(Result after the full upsized resolution)

(Result after waifu2x without scaling the image)

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Where do I get art… for “free?” [an ongoing list] https://www.fairway3games.com/where-do-i-get-art-for-free-an-ongoing-list/ https://www.fairway3games.com/where-do-i-get-art-for-free-an-ongoing-list/#comments Sat, 19 May 2018 02:54:06 +0000 https://www.fairway3games.com/?p=1009 It’s common when trying to make polished prototypes to go in search of free art to flesh out that idea.  New designers, not yet ready to sink lots of money in their game, often struggle to find good art, photographs, or illustrations to use. And more importantly, some times, high resolution images. This list is meant to help you find those locations.

I’ve broken this down into a few different categories based on the type of permissive licensed works that are mostly in Public Domain or licensed CC0 or CC1:

Illustrations | Paintings | Photography | General Public Domain Resources | Video Game Assets | Textures | Small Art Sets | Attribution Required




British Library Public Domain collection on Flickr.com

Millions of high resolution scans of old book illustrations.

New York Public Libary

Use the “Search only public domain records”

Comic Book Plus

We only hold comic books and images that are in the Public Domain.


The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) Open Access Collection

You can use the Creative Common Search to find the item you’re looking for. Then click the “original source” to get the higher resolution version.

The National Gallery of Art Open Access Collection

“On this website you can search, browse, share, and download images. A standards-based reproduction guide and a help section provide advice for both novices and experts. More than 51,000 open access digital images up to 4000 pixels each are available free of charge for download and use. NGA Images is designed to facilitate learning, enrichment, enjoyment, and exploration.”

Getty Museum Open Content

More than 100,000 images are available as part of the Getty Museum’s open content search.  They ask for attribution if you use the high resolution images.

Rijksmuseum Open Access Content

You may need to register for an account to easily download images.

Wikimedia Commons

Most of the paintings are public domain. Some of the other assets (e.g., photographs) may require attribution.

Yale Center for British Art

“[T]he Center nevertheless provides free and open access to images of works in the public domain and certain other materials. The Center hopes to encourage further the use and reuse of its public domain resources by all who may have access to them. See Using Images for further information.”



Photographs licensed for public domain (CC0)


“All photos published on Unsplash can be used for free. You can use them for commercial and noncommercial purposes. You do not need to ask permission from or provide credit to the photographer or Unsplash, although it is appreciated when possible.”

Negative Space

“For personal or commercial use, all of our CC0 licensed images are completely free to use!”


“Pixabay is a vibrant community of creatives, sharing copyright free images and videos. All contents are released under Creative Commons CC0, which makes them safe to use without asking for permission or giving credit to the artist – even for commercial purposes.”

General Public Domain Resources


“NASA content – images, audio, video, and computer files used in the rendition of 3-dimensional models, such as texture maps and polygon data in any format – generally are not copyrighted. You may use this material for educational or informational purposes, including photo collections, textbooks, public exhibits, computer graphical simulations and Internet Web pages. This general permission extends to personal Web pages.”

Library of Congress: Maps Division

The site (as a US Government Agency) makes no specific claim of copyright and maps prior to 1920s are in the public domain.


Bildgeist – Images from the Public Domain

The site requests attribution, but much of the materials is in the public domain. “BILDGEIST is a visual journal of scientific illustrations, illuminated manuscripts, photographs, prints and artworks from the public domain. Its topics are zoology, botany, astronomy, medicine & anatomy, cartography, alchemy & mysticism, the occult, ethnology, mythology, and art history.”

Archive.ORG Texts Collection

There are lots of contributions to this site. Many of which are in the public domain. You should confirm that the license is correct.





“All artwork found under this section is licensed CC0 (Public Domain), this means there is no copyright and it is absolutely free to use for everyone and of course also free for commercial use”

Video Game Assets and Sprites

Glitch Game Assets

“All files are provided by Tiny Speck under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal License. This is a broadly permissive “No Rights Reserved” license — you may do what you please with what we’ve provided. Our intention is to dedicate these works to the public domain and make them freely available to all, without restriction. All files are provided AS-IS. Tiny Speck cannot provide any support to help you bring these assets into your own projects.”


Over the last couple of months I’ve created over 20,000 assets which are all licensed CC0 (public domain).

Other Small Art Sets


“Thanks to the generosity of the Kickstarter backers for Godbound: A Game of Divine Heroes, I am making freely available all the art from both it and Sixteen Sorrows: A Handbook of Calamities for other uses, both personal and commercial. Other small publishers are welcome and encouraged to use the more than thirty images in this pack to create their own products. I only ask that you retain the credit to the artists named in each file and consider them for your future commissions.”

Attribution Required

Open Game Art

The game assets here are variously licensed.  Many require attribution, but you can search by license type. I will note that many of the art assets are lower resolution.


Much of this site requires attribution.

The Noun Project

A great collection of icons. Almost everything on this site requires attribution.


Alisha Volkman’s Free Assets

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


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Desolate: Review https://www.fairway3games.com/desolate-review/ https://www.fairway3games.com/desolate-review/#respond Thu, 03 May 2018 15:00:00 +0000 https://www.theindiegamereport.com/?p=11372 If you haven’t heard, Fairway is judging a contest at The Game Crafter: The Solo Game Challenge. What better time for him to review a new, solo game from Grey Gnome Games available from The Game Crafter: Desolate.

Desolate is a one-player only survival game from Jason Glover and Grey Gnome Games in which the player is the lone survivor of an ill-fated rescue mission to a distant moon. The player must survive a series challenges with limited health, ammunition and air and recover five power cells before you die.

Initial Impressions

  1. The game is almost entirely done in greyscale that calls to mind a classic sci-fi horror movie. And while aspects of the game’s art have a more modern, futuristic appeal, the greyscale draws on that retro horror vibe.  The only dashes of color are from the three trackers for health, oxygen and ammunition and the five bright green energy cells.
  2. There’s not a lot of cards in this game with only 15 cards making up a bulk of the actual game play.
  3. The game was easy to learn: draw two cards, reveal one, decide if to discard and reveal another, engage in combat, rinse, repeat.
  4. It also plays quickly. Most of my playthroughs are done in less than 20 minutes.

How to play

To start a game of Desolate, the player takes the two tracker cards: health and oxygen and ammo trackers and places the three colored markers on the highest values (14, 4, and 7, respectively).   Next the player shuffles a small deck of Item cards and draws three and keeps two of them.  These item cards provide the player with various bonuses, including some that extend the amount of life or oxygen or enable the player to take specialized actions. The remaining Item cards are set aside. Now, the two remaining decks, exploration cards and conflict cards, are separated and shuffled and placed face down on the table forming a draw pile.

Now you’re ready to play.

A game of Desolate is played over a series of “levels.” Each level consists of series of turns until the player goes through the entire exploration deck.  Each turn has two phases: draw and reveal.  At the start of a turn, the player will draw two cards from the top of the Exploration deck and place them face down on the table.  Then, the player will reveal one of the two face down cards and either resolve it or discard it.  If the player elects to discard the card, the second card is revealed and must be resolved.

When resolving a card, there are two types of exploration cards: rooms and conflicts. Resolving a room card will gain the associated resource or action. For example, resolving the Armory will provide the player two ammo.

Resolving a conflict card means the player engages an enemy alien.  This is done by revealing the top card of the conflict deck.  Each conflict card has two spaces for a die. The total of the dice on this space is the total number of hit points for the alien. The first die is taken from the number next to the “CONFLICT!” title on the Exploration card.  The second die is the value shown on the Conflict card itself. The bigger the combined value, the harder the combat will be.

Once the dice are assigned, combat begins. First, the player takes damage first lowering the player’s health. The amount of damage is indicated below the dice on the Conflict card. Second, the player must decide how much ammo to spend on the attack.  Each round of ammo provides the player with one die. So, four ammo means four dice. If the player spends no ammo, he or she will do only a single point of damage to the alien. With the spent ammo, the player rolls the dice and sums up the value.  If the total is greater than or equal to the alien’s health, the player claims victory. Otherwise, you reduce the life of the alien by counting down on the dice on the Conflict card and then starting over with taking damage by drawing the next card in the Conflict deck.

If a player is victorious, they will draw another Exploration card and choose either the small or large crate on the bottom side of the card.

At the end of a level, the player lowers their oxygen by two (not one, two!) and the exploration cards are reshuffled. If the player runs out of oxygen or health drops to zero, they die.

The only way to win is to find the five power cells.  And that might be victory enough, but you can use the total of health, oxygen and ammo left as a measure of that success.

In the hole

Art and theme.  Desolate captures the retro, horror, sci-fi vibe really well. The grey scale cards and illustrations give the game a feeling of desperation. And the grey-white feels lunar/spacey. It’s compelling and eye catching. This meshes with the overall feeling of the game: a desperate attempt to survive, by yourself, on a distant moon.

Learning and play time.  Both of these are excellent.  A game taken to conclusion is easily completed in twenty minutes. The simple set up and easy to follow combat and exploration mechanisms make quick work of what could have been overly-complex game play.

The fact that the exploration deck is only 15 cards means that the “levels” go impossibly fast at times.  It’s always at least two cards per turn. If you end up opening a crate, that’s an extra card a turn. And you’ve only got enough to do three levels unless you find some oxygen.

Combat. Probably one of the more innovative things the game does is make use of thoughtful combat mechanism that paired well with the game. At heart, Desolate is a resource-management, survival game. That resource management shows up in the in-game conflict of “how much ammo do I really spend on this alien?”  Is the player going to play conservative and take three dice to roll six or just two and risk losing health and spending the ammo anyway. This is not an instance of a game designer just tagging on their favorite die-rolling combat mechanism.

Where it comes up short

So, while I was playing, I started asking myself: is there a reasonable, reliable pattern to this game that increases the likelihood you’ll win most of the time?  I think the answer is, “yes.”  And the more I played it, the more I found myself unable to think of a reason to stop following the pattern.  See, the game has you draw two exploration cards.  You always have the choice to ignore the first one you turn up. If you reveal a conflict card on this card, there’s no reason to resolve it. Resolving a conflict means you lose life, don’t get to see the second card (which might have the fuel cell), and when you win, you must draw another exploration card for the crate — thus, you lose one extra flip and lose the chance it’s the fuel cell. So, unless the first card is a room you can take for resource, you don’t take that card.

Let me be clear, though: I actually don’t think this is that big an issue.  It’s, in part, a function of the game itself and an aspect of the providing player some choice. One minor tweak might make resolving the first card more worthwhile: instead of drawing a new card from the exploration deck, use the other face down card.  This actually does a few things: it means that you know what card was face down. And second, it doesn’t cause you to waste needlessly an exploration card as a “reward” for combat.

In the hole

Desolate is a solo gaming gem: quick, simple, engaging, and immersive. The art direction and theme are a perfect fit a resource management, survival game. The survival and resource management is intertwined in every aspect of the game. I think anyone looking for a solitaire game, who likes great illustrations and a sci-fi theme will like this game. It’s on my definite recommend list for solo play.

You can pick up a copy of the game from The Game Crafter: Desolate.

Desolate is in the hole for a Birdie.


You can see the full contest rules here.

In this contest, you must design a new game in which the primary player count is 1. A solo game is one like Friday or Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island or Onirim in which an entire game is expected to be played without another player. You can find additional examples on BoardGameGeek.

The contest will be judged by Mike Wokasch of Fairway 3 Games, LLC. His game Starving Artists contains a solo variant and he was the designer of the solo variant for Underlings of Underwing.

To qualify, your game must comply with all of the following rules:

  • Your game must be playable with only a single player. Games with additional player counts will be judged based on the solo game, except that the inclusion of player counts may garner points in the “other” category of the rubric.
  • You may use any printables or game pieces.
  • The total cost of your game must be less than $34.99
  • Play time should be no more than 60 minutes, once you’ve learned the game.
  • Any theme or narrative is allowed and unique themes are encouraged.
  • A rules document must be downloadable from your game’s shop page.
  • The game must be publish ready (as it relates to our shop, not as it relates to being finished). This means it has a logo, backdrop, shop ad, action shots, description, and cool factors. It must also have all images proofed, and have packaging.
  • This must be a new game created for this contest. It cannot have existed on TGC prior to the start of the contest.
  • All artwork must be your own, commissioned by you, licensed to you, or in the public domain.
  • All entries must be submitted through TGC’s game editor (by clicking on the “Contests” button) no later than Noon UTC (6am US Central) on July 23, 2018.
  • Contestants may submit multiple entries to this contest. Each entry will be judged separately.


You retain all rights to your game and are welcome to sell it in our shop during and after the contest, regardless of the outcome of the contest.

The first round of judging is handled by a community voting process. The final two rounds are handled by the judge. See complete details.


All of the finalists shall receive a review by The Indie Game Report.

The winner shall receive all of the following prizes:

  • Automatic Showcase status for their game on thegamecrafter.com.
  • 100,000 crafter points.
  • $100 of shop credit on thegamecrafter.com.
  • The possibility of judging a future contest.
  • Induction into The Game Crafter Hall of Fame.

This post was originally published on The Indie Game Report: https://www.theindiegamereport.com/2018/05/desolate-review/

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Animus: Review https://www.fairway3games.com/animus-review/ https://www.fairway3games.com/animus-review/#respond Mon, 30 Apr 2018 15:00:54 +0000 https://www.theindiegamereport.com/?p=11337 The multiverse has fractured and strange, powerful beings from across time and space have invaded our universe. Fairway takes control of a team of these beings in an attempt to take control of the universe in this review of Animus.

Animus is a two-player, card-drafting and combat game. The game involves drafting a team of nine beings and then attempting to knock out enough of your opponent’s team to win the game.

Initial Impressions

  1. The game has a lot of unique characters.  There are six unique main characters and thirty-six unique entities.  All the cards have unique art and unique powers. We were impressed with that right out of the gate.  And even though it doesn’t sound like a lot of cards, the draft to start made each game really different.
  2. The start of each game begins with a draft that went quickly.  It was reminiscent of the draft from7 Wonders Duel.
  3. Rules were quick to learn and teach. The turn sequence made sense and was quickly figured out.
  4. Combat was simple and might be too simplistic for some.

How to play

Animus is played in two phases.  First, players draft a team of beings from the multiverse.  Then, players pit these two teams against each other.  Once one player takes out ten points worth of foes, the game ends.

At the start of the game, players select one of the six characters — alternatively, players are dealt one of the six at random.  The characters are printed on oversized card.  They provide players with an unique special power.

Then, players draft their teams.  A total of 18 cards are dealt into a small pyramid of cards.  Some cards face up and others face down. If you’ve played 7 Wonders Duel, you’ve seen something similar.  Players take turns drafting one of the face up cards into their team.  Face down cards are revealed only once they’re uncovered.

In addition to unique art, favor text and title, each of these cards has a number of game-impacting attributes: an alignment, a power, a point value, and attack values (melee and range).  During combat, the melee and range values are the base attack and defense values (to which a die roll will be added).  The special power is typically available during one of several different stages during the combat sequence.  The alignment works as a rock-paper-scissors mechanism providing the player who has the advantage an extra die roll.  Finally, the point value indicates how many points a card is worth when they’re removed from the game during combat.

Once the cards have all been drafted, players will shuffle their nine cards and draw a starting hand of three cards.  The game now switches to the combat phase.

During the combat phase, players take turns performing a series of actions. On a player’s turn, they will play cards, use abilities, move cards around, attack the other player, and reset their hands.  These actions are taken through a series of phases each turn.

In Animus, each player has a series of positions in which to play cards: 1 melee slot, 2 ranged slots, and 2 support slots.  When a player plays a card, he or she takes a card from their hand and places it into any unoccupied slot — unless the melee slot is open in which case, that must be filled first.  The slot in which a card is played indicates how that card attacks, generally, and which attack value it will use in attacking and in defending.  There are a few exceptions, like when the melee attacker attacks a ranged character and vice-versa.

Combat is fairly simple.  During one of the two tactical phases, the active player can use each card to attack once per turn.  During an attack, both players will roll a die and add it to the base attack value.  The player with the higher score wins and the other player takes a damage.  If there’s a tie, both players take a damage.  A card is removed from the game if it has three damage tokens applied.

Animus also uses a RPS system to award certain cards advantages against other cards.  When this happens, the player with the advantage will roll two dice and choose the higher of the two values.

The game continues this way until one player takes out 10 points worth of foes.

On the green

The Art.  This game has really nice character art. It’s a very impressive number of unique characters in this little game. There’s a wide array of characters, races, genders, species, etc.

The special powers.  We very much liked the range of abilities the cards had. The cards accommodated a number of different play styles and none seemed over- or under-powered. Also, given that there isn’t a huge number of cards, there wasn’t a lot of time spent learning their powers.

The Draft.  We’ve definitely played our fair share of living card games or deck-construction games to know that you can spend most of your time just building the deck.  Animus deftly does away with the time consuming task while still making players feel like they’re in control.  The limited number of cards face-up, the mostly one-line powers, and the convenient “score-as-proxy-for-quality” attribute made this task quick and fun.  It also resulted in a lot of variety in starting decks.

Playing field.  The game is also structured around a simple playing field designating melee, ranged and support cards. The arrangement was orderly and kept the game moving.

RPS combat modifier.  One interesting thing is that the game implemented a rock-paper-scissors mechanism that was not so overpowered. The advantaged player merely got an extra die roll. So, it was generally worth it, but wasn’t so worth it to trump attacking from the disadvantaged position but with a stronger attack value.

Play time and learning time.  This is a very quick combat game. We had some initial reservations about how long it would take to knock out 10 points worth of characters, but the game progressed very quickly.  Likewise, the rules were quick to learn. It only took a round or two for players to find their groove.  The only sticking point were on some of the more unusual powers, but those were in the minority.

Where it comes up short

There were two things that were the subject of much discussion in our games: 1. the proximity of most cards’ attack values; 2. the die rolls.  Scrolling through the cards, it becomes clear that most every card has a 6, 7 or 8 for their attack values (both melee and ranged). This meant that almost every battle started out as just about neutral — it was hard to line up cards that were anything but even.  And in most cases, an attacker had just a +1 (or at most a +2) advantage over another character.  That’s just such a weak difference that the roll of a d6 mostly determined the results.

In the hole

Animus has beautiful art atop a quick, light combat game.  The introduction of a team drafting mechanism at the start of the game makes for a fresh, interesting start for each players.  While the combat mechanisms (die rolling and RPS mechanisms) will leave some more heavy gamers wanting more, it is a good introduction to card drafting and card dueling games. We had fun with the game and it is definitely a game that would make a good addition to a game library for anyone who enjoys card drafting games and/or combat games.

You can get the game today on The Game Crafter: Animus.

Animus is in the hole for par.

This post was originally published on The Indie Game Report: https://www.theindiegamereport.com/2018/04/animus-review/

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Creating Renders of Your Cards https://www.fairway3games.com/creating-renders-of-your-cards/ https://www.fairway3games.com/creating-renders-of-your-cards/#respond Tue, 10 Jan 2017 17:16:39 +0000 https://www.fairway3games.com/?p=842 In this brief tutorial, I show you how to use Powerpoint and Gimp to create quick renders of your cards that you can use for campaign pages and your rule books. This tutorial assumes you’re using something like The Game Crafter’s templates and that the cards you’re looking to render are in individual image files.

So you’ve seen those rendered images showing cards splayed out or with reflections?  You don’t need any specialized software if you’re already have Microsoft Powerpoint and a copy of Gimp.

Rounded Card image in Gimp

The first thing to do is snag the proper-sized card with a rounded border.  The Game Crafter template show you the trim line (denoted in red on the template). The trim line is the theoretical location that the cards will be cut and for our purposes exactly where we’ll cut. It turns out that for Poker cards, that line is exactly 35 pixels from the edge of the image.

Use the template for a sanity check.  

For our own sanity, let’s enable the template as the top layer with an opacity of like ~10%. You should just barely make out the template over the card. Make sure the template layer is visible by checking that the eyeball is lit up.

Select All. 

Now let’s set the “selection” to the entire image.  Press Control-A.  You should get a line around the entire card shown by a moving dashed line.

Shrink the selection. 

You can now “shrink” the selection to get just the cut card by click “Select->Shrink…”

You’ll now get a small popup window.  Enter the value “35” and make sure the units is set to  “px” (for pixels) and make sure “Shrink from image border” is marked.

The moving, dotted line should now encircle the card image at approximately the trim line.

Make the selection “rounded.”

It stop here, we’ll get a perfectly rectangular card. Most cards have a curve along the corners. To get this effect, click “Select->Rounded Rectangle” from the menu bar.

Now enter a Radius (%) value. You can play with the following value, but I’ve found that 10 works pretty well.  The larger the number the more round the entire rectangle becomes.

Save for Future Use?  (Optional)

All of the preceding steps only need to be done once per card.  You can save your selection as a “Channel” so that you can always redo it with just a single click. To save it, simple click “Select -> Save to Channel.”

This will add it to the “Channel” menu.  You can then always re-select it by right-clicking on the “Selection Mask” and clicking “Channel to Selection”.


You can also now just drag and drop the Selection Mask to other images rather than recreate the same selection mask.

At this point, turn off the template by clicking the eyeball. You don’t want this in your final images.

Copy the Image

With the appropriate part of the image selected, and the template hidden, press Control-Shift-C. This copies the selected area of all layers.  IF you just press Control-C, you’ll copy only the selected layer.

Making the Rounded Image Pretty with Powerpoint!

Open Powerpoint, create a blank presentation.

Paste the image

The image is still in your Clipboard. You can paste the image by pressing Control-V.  The image will be huge because it was created at 300dpi, roughly three times what Powerpoint is expecting.

Resize the image to make it manageable.

In the Ribbon go to “Picture Tools” -> “Format” and look for the little Height/Width fields. You’re going to want to scale these by changing the “Height” to be the actual size of the card. For Poker cards, they’re 3.5 inches. You don’t need to change the other value, it will keep it proportional for you.


Add a Reflection

At this point, you can do whatever you want. However, we’re going to add a common request: a reflection.  To do that, select “Picture Tools” / “Format”.  The select “Picture Effects” from the ribbon.  Under Picture Effects, select “Reflection” and click “Half Reflection, touching” in the top middle under “Reflection Variations.”  Hovering over this option will give you preview. You can use any of the options though, including the ones with a bit of separation.


Add 3-D Rotation

You can also “rotate” the images so that they appear slightly turned. This is a nice way to cram a bunch of different cards into a much smaller space.  To do this, select “Picture Tools” / “Format”.  The select “Picture Effects” from the ribbon.  Under Picture Effects, select “3-D Rotation”.  I pick the middle-right option under “Parallel” called “Off Axis 2 Left”.


Copy the Image

You can then select your image, click Control-C to copy and you can use it wherever you want, including pasting it into your rule book or into an image you’re creating for a Kickstarter campaign page.

Multiple Images at once

Another useful feature: you can bring lots of card images into Powerpoint and then apply the Picture Effects to all of them all at the same time. To do that, just select all the images (holding ctrol and click each individually or ctrl-A). You can then apply the steps above to all of the images at the same time. This results in a consistent presentation.




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Library of Cut Out Shapes https://www.fairway3games.com/library-of-cut-out-shapes/ https://www.fairway3games.com/library-of-cut-out-shapes/#respond Fri, 29 Jul 2016 17:25:28 +0000 https://www.fairway3games.com/?p=689 I’m going to create a library of cut out shapes that you can use on any of The Game Crafter’s custom punch out templates.

You should be able to save any of following SVG files and use them in any of the punch out templates. Note that they do not include any nicks.  These are free to use without attribution for any of your Custom Punch Out needs.

Banana for scale
Ray Gun!
Ray Gun!
Battle Axe
Broad Sword
Rubber Duckie
Rubber Duckie
Christmas Tree
Christmas Tree
Shield I
Shield II
Oil Barrel
Oak Barrel
Oak Barrel
Ringed Planet
Painters Palette
Blob / Splat
magnifying glass
Magnifying Glass
Waving Flag
Check / Checkmark
Tree I
Tree I
Tree II
Clover / Four Leaf Clover
Speech Bubble
The Game Crafter’s Bot
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Creating Custom Punch Outs from Images https://www.fairway3games.com/creating-custom-punch-outs-from-images/ https://www.fairway3games.com/creating-custom-punch-outs-from-images/#respond Wed, 27 Jul 2016 20:21:30 +0000 https://www.fairway3games.com/?p=673 The Game Crafter recently announced the ability to create your own custom punch outs. That means you can make custom, cardboard shapes. I’m going to imagine that most people want to create shapes that look like some image they already have. The “trick” to make this happen is to create outlines of the shapes.  There’s a bunch of helpful video tutorials for how to hand draw those shapes. These work, but they’re not the nice smooth cutouts people are used to. I thought that I’d show you how to quickly create nice, uniform SVG shapes using Inkscape.

This quick tutorial is not meant to cover the basics of creating the Punch Outs or SVG optimization, but rather show how you can get uniform shapes pretty quickly.  I’m going to make a few assumptions in this tutorial: you’re trying to create a smooth custom shape; there is an icon or other graphic image that closely resembles the shape you want to create; and that you have both Gimp and Inkscape installed.

The general idea

The general idea is that we want to create a cut line for our images that resemble the shape but leave enough room for drift.  This means that the cut line should resemble the image, but a wider / smoother version of it. 

Preparing an image

In this tutorial, we’re going to make a “sword” shaped cut-out.  The sword is a nicely illustrated one from Alisha Volkman and to work in this process needs to be made solid and have fewer edge details. You’ll see why when we get to the part about creating the cut lines.

Sword by AlishaVolkman 

Preparing the Sword in Gimp

Because the sword isn’t a solid color, we need to “blacken” and “enlarge” the shape. To do this, I find gimp to be the easiest.

First, open the image file in Gimp (File -> Open).  Then, on the Layer’s menu click “Alpha to Selection”:

This will select the outside edge of the image.  Now we want to expand the selection by 15 pixels by going to Select -> Grow-> 15px.

This results in the Selection around the box growing. It also causes some of the more subtle notches and other things to get lost (good for our purposes):

Next we’re going to fill this selection in with black. Select the “Fill” tool. Make sure your foreground color is Black. Make sure the “Fill whole selection” radio button is marked. Then click within the selection area.  It will cover up the image.

With the entire thing black, “Export” the image as a PNG: File – > Export (CTRL + E). Save the file as something like “sword-black.png”. Click “Export” and then on the option screen just click “Export” again.

We’re now ready to use them within Inkscape.

Getting the “cut lines” in Inkscape.

Load the Sword Image

First, let’s open the sword image within Inkscape. File -> Open “sword-black.png”.  For our purposes, you can use the default load settings:

Once the file is open, with the “arrow” selected, click the imported image once.  You’ll get draggable arrows on the image like so:

Now from the “Path” menu click “Trace Bitmap”


From the Trace Bitmap popup, place a check mark next to “Live Preview” and make sure “Brightness cutoff” is selected.  Then click “OK”.

Note: the popup doesn’t close, but the path we need is actually created.  Go ahead and close this popup now.

On top of the original image, Inkscape has created a black vectorized version of your image.  You can see this by click and dragging it so that the vector and image aren’t stacked.  Your vector version should be a lot smoother looking compared to the source image’s jagged edges.

To make our cut out shape, we just need the cut lines.  So with the “vector” version selected, click “Object -> Fill/Stroke” in the menu:

First, let’s get rid of the fill.  On the “Fill” tab click the little “x”. The image will stay selected but appear to disappear.


Next, click the “Stroke paint” tab and then “flat color” button:

You’ll now have a stroke path for your cut. You can use the color wheel to turn it red, if you want, but it’s not necessary:


Adding Your Cut Lines to the Template!

So, getting the proper trim lines is only half the battle. You still need to add them to the template in a manner that can be used by The Game Crafter. Download then open the Small Punch Out template in Inkscape. It should look like this:

First thing you should do is open the layers menu: Layer -> Layers… and the click the lock on the “Delete” layer.  This will keep you from accidentally messing up the template.

Now click the “+” sign and add a new layer called “Cuts”.  Keep the “Position” as “Above current.”

The “Cuts” layer will be automatically selected. You’ve now prepared the template and are ready to add your shape.

Add your shape you created in the last part.

The easiest way is to go back to the other Inkscape screen and copy the path you created and paste it on the Cuts layer of the template.  It will look like this:

You should now shrink the cut to fit.  Along the top of the tool bar should be your shape’s dimensions. You can click the lock and then pick a dimension to set.  This will keep the image proportional. Note that the default units here is inches.

I set mine to have a width of 1.5 inches and then move the left and top to align along the blue dotted line.

At this point, we’d have a working cut line that we could upload to The Game Crafter if we “Delete” the “Delete” layer. You can remove the Delete layer by right-clicking on the layer and clicking “Delete Current Layer.”

Now save the resulting SVG by click File -> Save -> sword.svg.

Result on The Game Crafter

Skipping a head a bit, if you upload an appropriate image and the “sword.svg” file to a Small Custom Punchout, you can see the result. Here is result with an appropriately sized image uploaded to The Game Crafter and with the proofing overlay using our sword.svg:


A few notes:

  1. This doesn’t have the required nicks.
  2. The current cuts would use an entire slug for a single sword.
  3. This tutorial did not take you through the creation of the image files (face and back) necessary to actually use the cut files.










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Free Poker-sized Card Templates https://www.fairway3games.com/free-poker-sized-card-templates/ https://www.fairway3games.com/free-poker-sized-card-templates/#respond Mon, 13 Jun 2016 14:55:11 +0000 https://www.fairway3games.com/?p=619 Starting game designers waste a lot of time trying to build reasonable-looking prototypes for their cards. I started to create some card templates to assist others.  I’m making the card templates free. And, as I get the urge to make more, I’ll continue to grow the number of poker-sized card templates.These templates are all full-bleed and compatible with The Game Crafter’s poker-sized cards.  I’m trying to offer simple versions that are just a PNG with transparency and the fully-layered versions that open using Gimp.

You can see a few of the examples below. The current growing list on this page.  The page includes links to the various types of files as well as the fonts that I used to create the samples.



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Starving Artists: Strategy Guide for New Players https://www.fairway3games.com/starving-artists-strategy-guide-for-new-players/ https://www.fairway3games.com/starving-artists-strategy-guide-for-new-players/#respond Wed, 25 May 2016 17:22:56 +0000 https://www.fairway3games.com/?p=572 In the world of Starving Artists, there aren’t a lot of possible actions: work, paint, and buy. But your choices and combinations of actions impact greatly your ability to survive and win the game. After numerous people asking how to win, I have compiled a list of strategies that have help guide other players and assisted them in surviving.  Also in this post, I do math.

No strategy guarantees that you’ll win or make it all the way to victory. The game with the default rules is hard. There is a risk of starvation even under the best of circumstances. That said, there are things that will increase your chances.

Basic rules

Let’s make sure you have the basic rules correct. Often players who have a hard time, miss one or more of these rules and make for a very difficult game since the market grows too slowly.

  • You start with six paint cubes drawn randomly from the bag.
  • The market starts with four paint cubes.
  • At the start of each day, you add four more paint cubes to the market.
  • You may trade your paint cubes for cubes in the market once per day as follows: 2 cubes for 1, 5 cubes for 2, or 9 cubes for 3.
  • When you purchase canvases from the market, you pay paint cubes to the market.

With these rules, the number of paints in the market grows until someone sells a completed painting.

Opening strategy

I find it best to start a game with these initial three goals:

  1. Acquire a canvas with cubes that closely resemble the paint cubes currently in your studio, otherwise wait
  2. Work until you have a good percentage of the necessary paint cubes
  3. Trade to the market frequently for paint cubes you’re missing

Looking at the mechanisms in Starving Artists, here’s what this means:

  • You have 10 actions. There are up to ten actions you can take before you actually run out of nutrition (2 actions per day).
  • You only need to use three to four actions to finish a canvas. For most canvases, you need to preserve three to four actions to complete your first canvas: one to acquire the canvas and two or three to apply eight to twelve paint cubes. But that means that you can acquire up to fifteen cubes (for a total of 21 cubes) at random and still have a day left.
  • You should be trading and trading often. There are up to five opportunities to trade for cubes that you need.
  • You should not waste your paint actions.  You can apply up to four paints per paint action, and you should make sure to apply that many when you do paint.

Knowing this, your first canvas acquisition should be strategic: which painting in the market most closely matches your current assortment of cubes?

Have more than one canvas

After you acquire your first canvas, you should also be thinking about getting your second canvas even before you finish your first. In Starving Artists, the most common mistake is to waste paint actions: i.e., not applying all four paint cubes on a turn. I liken this to browsing Reddit or Kickstarter when you should be working. This happens a lot when the canvas you’re working on has some number of squares that isn’t perfectly divisible by four (note this isn’t always the case if you’ve been painting multiple canvases).

In Starving Artists, you can apply the four paint cubes to any number of canvases you own. So, you should always be thinking about having at least two canvases in your studio so that when you complete one, you can add any extra paint cubes to the next canvas.

Food first

For beginners, I suggest a food-first strategy. It’s almost always the right decision to snag canvases that reward two nutrition, especially when this is your “primary” canvas you are working on.  Two nutrition equates to four more actions.  As I noted above, most canvases take at least three to four actions to complete putting two nutrition canvases as a sweet spot.

Look at the maximum number of paints a canvas will return second. It turns out that once you start your canvas painting engine running, the actual return on any given canvas matters a lot less than making sure you’re selling when you can get paint cubes that will help finish your next painting.

Points matter for victory, but they’re not necessary for victory either. Rushing to complete a bunch of paintings can be equally effective as spending a lot of time on the higher scoring paintings.

When to trade?

Trading does not cost you one of your actions.

As such, you should be trading just about every day if you can. The market is constantly getting new paint cubes (either because it’s the start of the new day or other players are buying canvases or trading for cubes themselves).

Per the rules, you can do it any time during your action phase (first or second).  This means that in a day where you work twice, you can wait until after you’ve drawn your sixth cube and then trade to the market.  My typical rules of thumb:

  1. If I’m taking a work action, trade after I work.
  2. Trade on my second action of the day, unless there’s only one of a cube I need and someone else is likely to take it.  The reason is that it’s possible for the market to grow slightly between your first and second action in a day.  Waiting until the second action gives you that advantage.
  3. Trade if it means you’ll finish the market and be able to retake those paint cubes when you sell your painting. This trick is especially useful for when you use the 5:2 and 9:3 trade actions.

When to sell?

This aspect is perhaps the most vexing for beginning players. Over the course of the game, the proper timing will change.

  • Early in the game, it makes sense to sell quickly, especially if you can be the first. Since the first seller has essentially the pent up value of the first 2-3 days.
  • Later in the game, I tend to follow this pattern:
    • Sell when I have to, such as when I’d otherwise starve.
    • Sell when I know I’ll get a decent return on my canvas
    • Sell when I know I can grab paint cubes that will help me complete my next painting.

Note that I do not say that it’s always best to sell when I have the most valuable painting.  In some cases, when there’s few paints in the market, I might take less (as a percentage) of a high value painting versus someone selling a lower value painting.

What to take from the market?

You should be taking paints that will help you with your next one or two canvases. Even if you don’t have a canvas in your studio, you should be looking at the Canvas market to see which paintings you could finish quickly. If none of the remaining cubes help, acquire either blue (the color that appears most frequently on canvases) or red/violet (the colors least likely to be drawn from the bag).

Use your wild paints / split squares

Wild paints are great: you can use one to to substitute for any color on a canvas.  My recommendation is:

  • Always use the wild paint cube as the last paint cube onto the canvas.
  • If you have more than one in your studio, use at least one on a canvas you’re painting. Don’t hold onto them. Use it to substitute a color you can apply to a different canvas.
  • You can use them to trade, and you should think about doing that especially if it helps you complete a canvas.

Some canvases have squares that let you use one of two different colored cubes. Like wild paint cubes, generally, you should wait until the end to paint these squares because you might be able to use one color or another on a subsequent canvas.  By waiting to see what you will use, you might preserve one additional work action or save a trade for another necessary color.


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Pre-orders and Post-Kickstarter Add-ons https://www.fairway3games.com/pre-orders-and-post-kickstarter-add-ons/ https://www.fairway3games.com/pre-orders-and-post-kickstarter-add-ons/#comments Tue, 24 May 2016 18:36:00 +0000 https://www.fairway3games.com/?p=581 I’ve gotten a few messages asking to get the game now that the campaign is over and, for current backers, how to add a game mat or additional copies of the game.

Good news everyone: you can do it now.  You can now securely Pre-Order Starving Artists and add Add-ons. Some enterprising folks have already realized I posted it and have ordered copies already.

Pre-order and add Add-ons
Pre-order and add Add-ons

I’ve set it up for current backers can add either additional copies of the game or game mats to their current orders at the Kickstarter price.  Make sure that you include your backer information in the shipping notes.

I’ve set up a pre-order page where new Starving Artists can acquire the game shipped for less than MSRP ($35 US).

Note:  I won’t be charging the credit cards for these purchases until I place the order with the manufacturer. Prices include US shipping.

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