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I'm designing a card-based rpg game and I'm looking for an equivalent to http://lulu.com but for printing online cards on demand.

The card would be either playing cards like Magic or similar, or Tarot cards (big cards).

Any suggestions? Any feedbacks on the suggested services?

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I originally posted there (see the comments) : rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/7313/… –  Klaim Apr 18 '11 at 16:25

7 Answers 7

Artscow.com is the site I always hear about. I've never used it but it's constantly mentioned on boardgamegeek.com as the place to go for printing custom cards. See:

http://www.artscow.com/photo-gifts/card/multi-purpose-cards-rectangle-394

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Artscow is pretty darn expensive for what you get (both quality of materials and quality of printing itself). –  Charles Boyung Apr 19 '11 at 20:26
    
You mean the paper isn't good quality? –  Klaim Apr 20 '11 at 9:01
    
@Klaim - yes, the paper isn't a great quality. And the printing itself is much blurrier than I would expect for their price. –  Charles Boyung Apr 21 '11 at 16:02
    
What makes Artscow worth it, in my opinion, is the promotions. You can often get things like 30% off or free shipping. Check their "Special Offers" page. –  EagleV_Attnam 2 days ago

Are we talking testing, demonstration or production?

If this is just for testing gameplay I suggest you go for an even cheaper solution than Mark suggested. Assuming you some other cards in that size then just print yours on normal paper and sleeve them together with the real playing cards. At this stage all you need is a cheep way to test out potentially numerous revisions.

EDIT: I recently discovered a card game by the name of "Summoner Wars". It is self published by the designer (Colby Dauch) using some card printing service (in China I think). You could ask him what service he uses or could recommend. You know, from designer to designer...

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I need production, I know I could use my own tools to make testing ones. My problem is more to get quality card printing, with curved borders (sorry for my poor english) and thought-for-cards paper. –  Klaim Apr 19 '11 at 9:20
    
@Klaim: I've edited in an idea that might help you. –  Kempeth Apr 20 '11 at 18:34
    
I have found that most folks in the hobby industry are pretty forthcoming about printing services and answering questions. I've asked multiple folks at multiple small hobby companies this kind of question, so asking a designer seems like a fruitful approach. –  jjb Apr 20 '11 at 23:43

http://www.drivethrucards.com/ does on-demand card printing, for card games and also arbitrary decks of cards and tiles that might be used in other games.

(disclosure: I used to work for this company)

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For small quantities (for example during beta testing), you can print using any photo-printing service. Two cards per 4x6 photo is a reasonable size, they're durable enough for a couple of games at least, and super-cheap. For even pilot production, you'd want a different solution, though.

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I looked at these sites and found them to be helpful.

From the RPG site, posted by AceCalhoon

A quick Google search reveals:

The Game Crafter

Guild of Blades Retail Group

From the sites, it sounds like there are some issues with producing cards on demand that lead to a slightly lower quality than traditional publishing.

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I have had good experience with The Game Crafter and it had much better prices than Artscow when I was looking. –  TurqMage May 14 '11 at 2:14

I've been looking into this a bit myself, and Superior Print on Demand http://www.superiorpod.com seems like a good candidate. I haven't tried it out yet, but I'm probably going to be giving it a try soon.

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Seems interesting indeed. Too bad they don't have tarot card size yet. –  Klaim Apr 20 '11 at 9:08
    
I was just looking at them and they now have the Tarot card size. It's at the bottom of their Custom Card Decks section. –  Granger44 Oct 25 '12 at 19:44
    
@jjb: Did you try them out yet? What was the result? –  Hennes Dec 7 '13 at 15:18
    
@Hennes no, sorry, I haven't yet. I've had some trouble with the artwork on that project and have gotten derailed. I'm going to try and get another run at that project on January and will post here if I use this service. –  jjb Dec 10 '13 at 5:10
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I have used this service to print out a prototype of a card game just this past year. My experience was mixed, the construction and print quality of the card was very good. Unfortunately they had incorrectly printed my order twice, with one set of cards having the wrong backs. To their credit, they showed good customer service attempting to correct their mistake (twice) at no cost to me. As such, I would use them again. –  ErroneousPlanet Oct 16 at 8:19

Printer Studio is a good source. they have file downloads onsite edition and previews for the whole deck before you order. http://www.printerstudio.com/unique-ideas/blank-playing-cards.html

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