Fully-Custom ANCIENT ROME Deck

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Fully-Custom ANCIENT ROME Deck

Unread postby RandyButterfield » Tue Jan 05, 2016 5:09 pm  

Hey Everyone,

I haven't done this since working on the Imperial Deck, but I thought it would be fun to start a thread in the Drafting section while I work on my next project. My next fully-custom design will center around a theme I've wanted to tackle for years - Ancient ROME!

Last night I finished the first Character Drawing - Julius Caesar. There are still plenty of other elements I need to create before putting him into an actual Court Card layout, but it's a start!

The Logo is something I whipped up real quick. I'll probably change it as time goes by. I'll post updates every 2-3 weeks as the project progresses. I'm shooting for a May / June / July.... KS launch (or whenever it's ready).

thanks, Randy
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Re: Fully-Custom ANCIENT ROME Deck

Unread postby NCarter » Wed Jan 06, 2016 2:39 pm  

I'm a bit of an expert on Rome so I will be interested to see how this develops.

The logo does look like you have pinched it straight from the Total War series, the R is almost exact. I would suggest making it slightly thicker but a serif font is definitely the right way to go.

What is the general theme of the court cards, are you using Roman generals, members of the the senate or even invaders?

If you where using Emperors, Augustus, Mark Antony, Pompey and Lepidus would be good Kings as all four of them did fight a civil war with one another ...though that would discount Julius Caesar as he was already dead by that stage.

Or maybe famous generals and invaders like Scipio Africanus or Hannibal Barca?
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Re: Fully-Custom ANCIENT ROME Deck

Unread postby RandyButterfield » Wed Jan 06, 2016 4:11 pm  

NCarter wrote:I'm a bit of an expert on Rome so I will be interested to see how this develops.

The logo does look like you have pinched it straight from the Total War series, the R is almost exact. I would suggest making it slightly thicker but a serif font is definitely the right way to go.

What is the general theme of the court cards, are you using Roman generals, members of the the senate or even invaders?

If you where using Emperors, Augustus, Mark Antony, Pompey and Lepidus would be good Kings as all four of them did fight a civil war with one another ...though that would discount Julius Caesar as he was already dead by that stage.

Or maybe famous generals and invaders like Scipio Africanus or Hannibal Barca?


Hi NCarter,

Serif fonts like that are very popular with Roman Logos / Headlines, so most are similar to Total War and many others. I'll definitely use a more decorative or bolder font when I get closer to coming to the Tuck Box design. It's just FPO for now.

For this project, I'm concentrating on the time period of Caesar and early Augustus. If it goes over well, I may come back to it and do a sequel in a couple years (focusing on later Emperors like Nero, Commodus, Marcus Aurelius, Constantine...)

I've been back-and-forth on having Lepidus, Casca, Sulla or Crassus as Jacks, but have them on the bench for now. Here's my current outline for the Courts:

Jack of Spades - Cassius
Queen of Spades - Cleopatra
King of Spades - Marc Antony

Jack of Hearts - Brutus
Queen of Hearts - Servilia
King of Hearts - Julius Caesar

Jack of Clubs - Cicero
Queen of Clubs - Octavia
King of Clubs - Pompey

Jack of Diamonds - Marcus Agrippa
Queen of Diamonds - Livia Drusilla
King of Diamonds - Augustus


thanks! Randy
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Re: Fully-Custom ANCIENT ROME Deck (wap)

Unread postby Räpylätassu » Wed Jan 06, 2016 7:27 pm  

Looks great, I love the theme!

Great choise on the courts but shouldn't Julius Caesar be the King of Diamonds and not the hearts?

The Jokers are naturally Lucius Vorenus and Titus Pullo, those two affected the history more than any other men :D:D Joking aside, I don't think the Jokers have to be people, they also could be something like important Roman symbols.
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Re: Fully-Custom ANCIENT ROME Deck (wap)

Unread postby RandyButterfield » Wed Jan 06, 2016 8:56 pm  

Räpylätassu wrote:Looks great, I love the theme!

Great choise on the courts but shouldn't Julius Caesar be the King of Diamonds and not the hearts?

The Jokers are naturally Lucius Vorenus and Titus Pullo, those two affected the history more than any other men :D:D Joking aside, I don't think the Jokers have to be people, they also could be something like important Roman symbols.



Good point! I originally had him as the KOD because of the historical Playing Cards significance. I then switched him to the KOH because I was thinking about having some knives in his back, and in a toga outfit (a sort of different "suicide" King). I nixed the idea when I thought it would be too cheesy, but I forgot to switch him back to the KOD.

I'll swap the Heart Courts and Diamonds Courts!

I love HBO's Rome! It's great seeing the actors who played Pullo and Vorenus pop up in so many Movies and TV shows afterwards.

The Jokers will be full-body statues. One will be Julius Caesar, and the other will be Augustus. They'll each have the off-white marble coloring.

Thanks, Randy
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Re: Fully-Custom ANCIENT ROME Deck

Unread postby NCarter » Sat Jan 09, 2016 4:30 am  

Jack of Spades - Cassius
Queen of Spades - Cleopatra
King of Spades - Marc Antony

Jack of Hearts - Brutus
Queen of Hearts - Servilia
King of Hearts - Julius Caesar

Jack of Clubs - Cicero
Queen of Clubs - Octavia
King of Clubs - Pompey

Jack of Diamonds - Marcus Agrippa
Queen of Diamonds - Livia Drusilla
King of Diamonds - Augustus



Remember Augustus was not named as Augustus while Julius Caesar was still alive, he was Octavian, he was also the nephew of Caesar and his official inheritor so it might make more sense to make him the Jack in the same suit as Caesar.

Cassius backed Pompey in the civil war not Antony, it would make more sense for Crassus to be jack in the same deck as Pompey as they where best friends. Also Cicero's son joined Pompey not Cicero himself.

I would say Brutus (Jack) and Cassius (King) should be in the same suit and make Servilia Caepionis the queen.

Just my suggestions :)
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Re: Fully-Custom ANCIENT ROME Deck

Unread postby RandyButterfield » Wed Jan 13, 2016 11:47 am  

NCarter wrote:
Remember Augustus was not named as Augustus while Julius Caesar was still alive, he was Octavian, he was also the nephew of Caesar and his official inheritor so it might make more sense to make him the Jack in the same suit as Caesar.

Cassius backed Pompey in the civil war not Antony, it would make more sense for Crassus to be jack in the same deck as Pompey as they where best friends. Also Cicero's son joined Pompey not Cicero himself.

I would say Brutus (Jack) and Cassius (King) should be in the same suit and make Servilia Caepionis the queen.

Just my suggestions :)



Augustus / Octavian is my favorite, so he'll definitley be in a King spot. I'm concentrating on the time period of the last few years of Julius Caesar to just after Augustus defeated Antony. So having Augustus, Agrippa and Livia Drusilla together in a Suit should go nicely.

I've been back-and-forth on where to put Cicero. Since Cicero was so anti-Antony with his speeches, it would be fun to put him in with Antony and Cleopatra.

Below is my current Courts outline (the Spades and Hearts are loosely Augustus time period, and the Diamonds and Clubs are loosely Julius Caesar time period):

Jack of Spades -  Cicero
Queen of Spades - Cleopatra
King of Spades - Marc Antony

Jack of Diamonds - Brutus
Queen of Diamonds - Servilia
King of Diamonds - Julius Caesar

Jack of Clubs - Cassius
Queen of Clubs - Octavia
King of Clubs - Pompey

Jack of Hearts - Marcus Agrippa
Queen of Hearts - Livia Drusilla
King of Hearts - Augustus

I'll probably post the current look of the Court layout sometime next week.
I'm in the middle of creating a lot of separate elements to go with the Character Drawings.
It's looking cool so far!

Thanks, Randy
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Re: Fully-Custom ANCIENT ROME Deck

Unread postby RandyButterfield » Mon Jan 18, 2016 10:04 am  

Here's the look of the Court Cards' layout! I may do some minor changes as I go, but I'm really liking the look and feel of it. The Back Card design will have a flipped version of the diagonal Banner from the Faces. The diagonal Banner for the Courts and Spades suits will be a different color and different pattern, but the edges for all are a 30c, 30m, 30y, 100k Rich Black color-build that will eliminate marked Face Cards.

Here's a Link to a better quality image: http://www.midnightcardcompany.com/CaesarCourt.jpg

thanks, Randy
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Re: Fully-Custom ANCIENT ROME Deck

Unread postby MagikFingerz » Mon Jan 18, 2016 5:49 pm  

You've outdone yourself, Randy. I love how the diagonal banner fills out the court (with the indices and suit indicator on the opposite side), and fading it at the end to eliminate marked cards is brilliant.

Can't wait to see the back design!
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Re: Fully-Custom ANCIENT ROME Deck

Unread postby sprouts1115 » Mon Jan 18, 2016 9:56 pm  

Randy - Have you considered Caligula and Nero as the Jokers. Just a thought.
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Re: Fully-Custom ANCIENT ROME Deck

Unread postby RandyButterfield » Mon Jan 18, 2016 10:36 pm  

Thanks Magik!! I'm glad you like the Banners!

Sprouts - nah, Caligula and Nero are later than the time period I'm concentrating on. If this project goes well, I'll do a sequel in a couple years with the later Caesars (especially Caligula, Nero, Marcus Aurelius, Commodus, Constantine, Trajan....).

thanks, Randy
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Re: Fully-Custom ANCIENT ROME Deck

Unread postby Bruno » Tue Jan 19, 2016 11:17 am  

.... 'with the later Caesars' ....
Woop !
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Re: Fully-Custom ANCIENT ROME Deck

Unread postby RandyButterfield » Mon Feb 01, 2016 11:10 am  

I finished up the second Court over the weekend - Mark Antony!
Now I'm jumping into Augustus, before tackling a Queen.

I also did some minor adjustments on the darkness of the Map background, making it darker in the areas to the right and left of the Court characters. Their names are also subtly added to the Map area, just south of Spain. I wanted to go with their full names, but they're much too long for such a small area!

Here's a link to a Hi Res version: http://www.midnightcardcompany.com/ROMEPair.jpg.

thanks, Randy
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Re: Fully-Custom ANCIENT ROME Deck

Unread postby sprouts1115 » Tue Feb 02, 2016 7:58 pm  

Randy - I can't give you any constructive criticism on your theme or layout. It's a good solid poker deck. You're already at :ucstar: :halfstar: :nostar: without even seen the pips. The deck seems a bit to safe will your understanding of playing cards. Break some rules and make it work. Maybe more lines or shadows in the faces of the courts. Lets see when USPCC starts missing the detail. Jackson has tested it. I like the semi3D-ish of the clothes. Maybe the faces need some 3D-ish with cracks. I know you can give some more depth or shadows or lines in the faces. I've seen it before in your work. Of course, this is advise is from a person who draws stick figures crooked.
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Re: Fully-Custom ANCIENT ROME Deck

Unread postby RandyButterfield » Wed Feb 03, 2016 1:11 am  

Hey Russell,

Breaking rules just to break rules is simply irresponsible design!

The theme and style of each Deck should drive it's design features, not vice versa. I suppose the "rule breaker" in the Rome Deck would be the diagonal Banners that extend to the side bleeds. Part of the reason I did that is because it fits perfectly with the vision I have for the other elements of the Deck - Numbers Cards, Aces, Back Cards, Tuck Box and Toga Sleeve. It all has to tie together nicely.

When I'm creating a new design, the first two priorities are (1) adherence to theme and (2) high playability. If the theme allows for breaking a rule, cool! If not, it's off the table.

Trying to force a theme into breaking the rules would only amount to a weak design with a bunch of bullet points checked (EX. crazy Index Font - CHECK, non-symmetrical courts - CHECK, wacky border - CHECK, faces and backs with different color edges - CHECK.......). If you concentrate on breaking a bunch of rules, you'll probably get a crappy Deck!

As for the courts, I think you're referring to the style I did for the unprinted Big Lebowski Deck (the Stranger's Court attached below). With the Lebowski theme, I used flat colors without painting or shading. The details and depth are brought out by many black line works and darker shades of the colored line work. The Rome drawings are almost the opposite. For the Rome Courts, the details and depth are brought out by the painted colors from the rough brushwork. The black line work is in place to accent only the important facial and clothing details. The style of the Lebowski drawings wouldn't fit well with the Rome theme. It's much too clean. An Ancient Rome design calls for some rough noise and bold colors.

The Rome characters' faces have some nice depth in shading, but I made sure not to get them too dark. Each face is pretty small at actual print size, so I have to be careful that they don't print muddy from too much detail and shading (I hate it when I see a Court face that has so many details it looks like a big ol' mess - usually with Black & White etchings).

There's no way I'll be using USPCC for this Deck (or probably any of my personal Decks in the foreseeable future). I've been burned too many times with their poor trim registration, Tuck Box bottom panel glue errors, last minute rule changes, and constant print overages!

The Rome Deck will be printed by Legends.

Thanks, Randy
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Re: Fully-Custom ANCIENT ROME Deck

Unread postby RandyButterfield » Thu Feb 11, 2016 10:41 am  

Here's the finished King of Hearts - Augustus!

Link to Higher Res version: http://www.midnightcardcompany.com/ROMEKingHeart.jpg.

thanks, Randy
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Re: Fully-Custom ANCIENT ROME Deck

Unread postby Jamm Pakd Cards » Tue Feb 16, 2016 11:08 pm  

RandyButterfield wrote:Here's the look of the Court Cards' layout! I may do some minor changes as I go, but I'm really liking the look and feel of it. The Back Card design will have a flipped version of the diagonal Banner from the Faces. The diagonal Banner for the Courts and Spades suits will be a different color and different pattern, but the edges for all are a 30c, 30m, 30y, 100k Rich Black color-build that will eliminate marked Face Cards.

Here's a Link to a better quality image: http://www.midnightcardcompany.com/CaesarCourt.jpg.

thanks, Randy



Looks great Randy!
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Re: Fully-Custom ANCIENT ROME Deck

Unread postby RichK » Wed Feb 17, 2016 3:48 pm  

RandyButterfield wrote:Here's the finished King of Hearts - Augustus!

Link to Higher Res version: http://www.midnightcardcompany.com/ROMEKingHeart.jpg..

thanks, Randy


Randy,

Like the deck idea but Augustus looks a lot like a sad Frodo with his arms cut off. I mean no offense because I can't draw so you're a better man than I am. Are you not planning on showing any arms on any courts? I totally get the Senator look, was that in the time period you're working from? Just my opinion because the suits, color slant, map, name, etc. are great.
Move on, nothing to see here.
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Re: Fully-Custom ANCIENT ROME Deck

Unread postby RandyButterfield » Wed Feb 17, 2016 11:34 pm  

RichK wrote:Randy,

Like the deck idea but Augustus looks a lot like a sad Frodo with his arms cut off. I mean no offense because I can't draw so you're a better man than I am. Are you not planning on showing any arms on any courts? I totally get the Senator look, was that in the time period you're working from? Just my opinion because the suits, color slant, map, name, etc. are great.


Hey RichK,

I never thought about it before, but I guess Augustus and Elijah Wood share a good number of facial features (comparison pic below)! My likeness references, and sometimes pose references, are based on ancient Statues. The toga Augustus is wearing in the statue reference reaches down to his right wrist, so I went with it.

Not all of the Courts will have their arms hidden. I'm working on Octavia now, and her right hand will be visible.

thanks, Randy

@Justin (Jamm Pack'd) - I'm glad you like them!!
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Re: Fully-Custom ANCIENT ROME Deck

Unread postby sprouts1115 » Fri Feb 19, 2016 10:57 pm  

RichK wrote:
RandyButterfield wrote:Here's the finished King of Hearts - Augustus!

Link to Higher Res version: http://www.midnightcardcompany.com/ROMEKingHeart.jpg....

thanks, Randy


Randy,

Like the deck idea but Augustus looks a lot like a sad Frodo with his arms cut off. I mean no offense because I can't draw so you're a better man than I am. Are you not planning on showing any arms on any courts? I totally get the Senator look, was that in the time period you're working from? Just my opinion because the suits, color slant, map, name, etc. are great.


He might be saying the courts usually hold something in the hands. In traditional cards its a flower, scepter, sword, axe, orb, pole arm, and whatever the Jacks have as bludgeoning weapons....
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