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Playing Cards For Board Games

Most board games contain a variety of pieces. Some board game pieces have obvious names and well-known designs, such as a pair of D6 dice, while others may look unfamiliar and have names that you’re nor familiar with.

If you’re creating a board game, knowing what these pieces are and how they’re produced can give you a much stronger understanding of the board game manufacturing process, letting you create your own game with a more concrete plan.

Even if you’re not interested in creating a board game, understanding the many pieces found in a typical game can enhance your gaming experience and help you avoid confusion.

Board game pieces are occasionally also referred to as components, or simply by the name of each piece. For this guide, we’ve used “pieces” and “components” interchangeably.

Below, we’ve listed the numerous pieces we produce that you can use in board games, as well as the function each piece serves, how it’s made, and what you should know before considering this piece as part of your game.

Playing Cards for Board Games are probably the main part of every board game and card game. Cards are the parts that are held the most touched the most and hence are most prone to damage. In addition, cards come in a variety of sizes and options and have their unique tuckbox. In this page we will cover everything about playing cards, and cards for board games.

Standard Size of Playing Cards

Generally speaking, there are 7 standard playing card sizes that are commonly used in most board games 

  • Poker Size cards – 63x88mm
  • Bridge size cards – 57x88mm 
  • Mini size cards – 44x68mm
  • Large tarot size cards – 70x120mm 
  • Small tarot size cards – 70x108mm 
  • Large square cards – 70x70mm 
  • Small square cards – 63x63mm 

Following this, there are two approaches when deciding which card size to use in your game or the number of cards to have in your game. First, through game testing, you get an idea of the best number of cards to have in your game and follow it blindly.

The second way is to work from the manufacturing backward to know how many cards fit in a sheet of paper, this way, you maximize the number of cards while controlling the manufacturing costs.

Custom Deck and Size of Playing Cards

If the standard card sizes are not suitable for your needs you can also have your own size of playing cards. However, you do want to take into account the available sheet sizes, to ensure that you are maximizing the use of materials. 

There are three size sheets we can use: 

  • 270*420mm – this is a small sheet suitable if you only need a few cards, such as reference cards. 
  • 420*570mm – this is a medium size sheet and can hold a nice amount of cards. 
  • 520*760mm – this is a large sheet already, the one that we use for most cards. 

Please note that with custom-size cards, the cutting, collating, and corner rounding are done manually, so the quality will not be as high as the standard cards. (It is possible to make your own cutting mold for the automatic machines, but that is if you need to make over 100K decks of cards.

Things to take into account for custom size cards:

  1. Need a bleed of 3mm on each side, so add it to the card size in the calculation.
  2. You cannot have more than 80 cards in a sheet unless it is a standard playing card size as specifically mentioned below.
  3. Cards with rich artwork might not be suitable for small or large printing plates, ask us.
  4. You cannot choose two different plates for the same cards, as the color will not come out even. If you choose large sheet you must continue with it. You cannot have one large sheet and one small sheet in the same deck of cards.

Materials of Playing Cards

There are three types of paper that can be used for any playing cards: white core, blue core, and black core. Some factories offer a gray core paper, but we at Hero Time stay away from it due to its poor quality. 

The best most stuffable cards use high-quality German black core paper, however, this is mostly reserved for magicians and poker houses. If you would like slightly better durability and elasticity you can choose Chinese black-core paper or blue-core paper.  However, there are three drawbacks to consider

  1. in Chinese black and blue core, there are widely varying qualities, and the cheap ones are worse than the white core.
  2. As they have a black or blue core, their surface is not as white, which can influence the quality of the print. 
  3. They are slightly smaller than white-core paper and hold only 54 cards per sheet. 

For most game creators we recommend using a high-quality white core paper, either 300gsm (0.32mm thick) or 350gsm (0.35mm thick). If you are searching for the lowest price you can also find cheaper white core paper. 

Watch our video to learn more about paper qualities. 

Playing cards Box Dimensions

You can use any boxes for playing cards. If your game is an independent card game with only cards in it, using the tuck box (the same box used in poker cards) is most recommended, as it keeps the prices as low as possible. If you have over 100 cards in your game, you might want to consider a small two-piece box. If you woould like your card game to be more prestigious, the best box for that will be the flip box, which has a magnetic latch and a one-piece box. 

You can learn more about boxes in our box page.

How to Calculate the Size of the Box

To achieve this, we first check the total thickness of the cards in the game. A 300gsm paper is around 0.32mm thick, and 350gsm paper is around 0.35mm. Once we know your total number of cards, we can figure out the size of the box needed. For example, if you have 130 cards in your game and want the premium 350gsm cards, you have a total of 130×0.35mm = 45mm thickness. In that case, we would prefer to split your cards into two decks and place them side by side. 

You can also check our component guide for standard box sizes:

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– Hersh (Founder of HeroTime)


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