Pokemon Swap
Project Completion Time : 2 Months | Completion Date: July 31st 2016

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I believe the concept came about when I was chatting about games, as I often do with my partner. I brought up the fact that while I really enjoyed pit I was never fond of the aesthetic (my copy was very old, bearing iconic images of grains with a two tone brown & white color scheme). And while I thought of it as a great ice breaking game to bring to parties, I was always a little embarrassed of my ratty old copy. Somehow, one of us mentioned that if instead the grains were pokemon it would be a much more appealing game. And that was when something 'clicked'. What a great idea! Take the pop culture phenomenon that is Pokemon and reflavour a beloved game with it!

My Set of Pit Cards

The idea seemed to meld well enough, the back would obviously be a pokeball, and each 'suit' would be a different type of pokemon, but with 18 types of pokemon I certainly didn't want to draw nine of each! That was far too ambitious, the pit set I have is 7 suits, so I decided to start with the Eevee evolutions and make those eight my types. Then from within them I picked pokemon that I liked, or were iconic, or other people liked, and those were my nine.
with this project, I really wanted to capture a fluffy and airy kind of feel, it is supposed to look and feel like a little kids game. I opted to draw the pokemon on very large pieces of paper so that the lines would be very thin and light after I scanned them. I went with a plain white border and a very austere text box, featuring the icon that related to the type, the name of the type and the point value.
For the image itself I used the textured overlay to brighten each image and help the pokemon blend with the background, rather than pop. this project felt much more like a design than an art project, since all the drawings are rather simple.

Line Art

Image Without Overlay

Finalized Card Image

the back was a challenge, originally I had an image of a pokeball drawn & colored in the same style as the pokemon themselves, but it looked so out of place with the title. Which was kind of locked in, being so iconic. Therefore, I eventually settled on a more symbolic flat image of a pokeball instead.

Old Card Back Concept

Finalized Card Back

Also, because this was a game I needed to distribute the point values among the pokemon, deciding which pokemon yielded a higher point value obviously leaves some room for bias, but then a friend of mind said "why don't you organize the points based on weaknesses? So Electric is worth more than water which is worth more than fire and so on?” this seemed like a very good idea. Then when we went to do printing we realized it was much cheaper and more appealing for customers to buy a 54 card set than a 72 card set, so they were split into a "base set” & an "expansion set” both of which are standalone games containing five sets of cards. The base set contains Normal, Electric, Water Fire & Grass, while the expansion contains Normal, Fairy, Dark, Ghost and Psychic. The base set was given the tens point values (100, 80, 70 etc.) while the expansion was given the fives point values, (85, 75, etc.) making it possible to mix the sets cohesively if one wanted to.
I want to address the two unique cards in the game, Ditto and Team Rocket


Team Rocket

These cards serve a unique function mechanically, Ditto is a wildcard and counts for anything, Team Rocket however, is a dead card and counts for nothing. I wanted to capture each of these concepts with the colors I used, so Ditto has a rainbow sort of look while Team Rocket is black and red, evoking feelings of evil and just general unpleasantness.
Another challenge was that this was also a full game, therefore the ominous 'rules insert' problem crept up. Pokemon Swap is a rather simple game, but a rules document is still necessary when selling a game.
Making the rules card wasn't too difficult.

Rules Card

For the rules insert I knew the rules would only take up one page, this game didn't require a playmat like triple triad so I figured I could use the back as a way of showing some of the cute flavor of the game.

The "story" of pokemon swap

The actual rules insert

Overall I'm conflicted about the project, there are some drawings that definitely feel a little rushed, there's a part of me that thinks the aesthetic may not be entirely cohesive. In print the Normal & Electric look very similar. This initial run of the project leaves me feeling slightly unfulfilled. Perhaps in the future I will have time to touch it up and improve on some of the rough edges. But due to the time crunch of the looming convention and other personal projects weighing on me, I can't afford any more attention at present.

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