DnD 5E RPG Condition Cards: Materials

DnD 5E RPG Condition Cards: Materials

Materials can make all the difference.  Playing cards have been around for some time, but manufacturing them remain as a specialized industry.  With our 5e RPG Condition Cards kickstarter we wanted to find the best materials to give a great look and feel to these cards.  We qualified our paper along four main characteristics: paper, core, tactile, and durability.


The paper used to make playing cards is highly proprietary and specialized.  The larger manufacturers that print for casinos and playing card companies consider the exact paper and origin as a trade secret–some of the best stocks come from Germany.  The thickness of the paper is given in gsm, grams per square meter.  Common weights include 280gsm, 300gsm, and 310gsm.  The paper is layered and glued together.  This produces a laminate which is generally stronger and more durable than normal paper.


Different printing houses offer different ‘cores.’  The core is the material sandwiched in between the front and back of the card.  It is mainly used to block light in order to prevent seeing through the card.  It is identified by color: blue, grey, or black.  The best cores let no light through and ensure that the card faces are completely concealed when playing the game.


The exact feel of the cards and how well cards slide over one another is determined by the texture of the paper.  Common cardstock can fell stiff and slide poorly.  Papers can be used with additional texturing.  These small bumps reduce the overall surface area of the card and reduce friction.  The overall effect means that cards will slide more easily against one another, slide more easily on tabletops, and feel better overall in one’s hands.


Paper playing cards are usually coated with finishes such as Ultra-violet (UV) or aqueous.  UV coatings provide general protection and appear as high-gloss.  A liquid is applied in the printing process and hardened under UV light.  Aqueous are water-based coatings that provide all around protection from fingerprints and blemishes.  These coatings seal the underlying inks from the air.



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