How to sleeve the investigator cards in Arkham Horror: The Card Game

A.B.H. Always Be Hacking.

Sometimes you get an idea. Sometimes you figure something out on your own. In this case, I saw a comment on a Reddit thread on sleeving the Arkham Horror: The Card Game cards. Someone mentioned that the investigator’s card has the same height as the width of a regular card: 2.5″ (63.5mm).

My goal was to find a mini card sleeve for my investigator cards. Fantasy Flight Games provide sleeves for regular cards and mini cards. The regular-sized card sleeves have a myriad of styles and colors, while the mini sleeves come in one style: clear.

I like to use the solid color sleeves for my player cards and have the colors match the character classes:

  • Guardian: Blue
  • Seeker: Orange / Yellow
  • Rogue: Green
  • Mystic: Purple
  • Survivor: Red
  • Neutral: Gray

I have been creating a character and deck of cards for Jenny Barnes, a rogue class. The main class of cards have a green border, so I want to use green-backed card sleeves. I have never been able to find green-backed mini card sleeves, so I decided to make my own out of larger green sleeves.

Follow these steps to make your own investigator sleeves from full-sized card sleeves:

  • Get some full-sized sleeves. I like the consistency and quality of the sleeves from Fantasy Flight Games and BCW.
  • Insert the investigator card into the sleeve rotated 90 degrees
  • Trim the excess sleeve with a sliding paper cutter. I prefer the Cricuit or Fiskars paper trimmers.

I love the results. I hope this hack saves you some time or money. Well, maybe not that, but at least your investigator’s sleeve will match your player card sleeves!

Gen Con 2020 Online: Arkham Horror LCG Card Council

Hats off to the team at Fantasy Flight Games for their running of events at Gen Con 2020 Online. It’s a weird year for sure, but I love seeing how creative people have been trying to create real experiences online. Although I didn’t have to wait for inline for food, brave hoards of people, or walk (run) to an event at the convention hall from Lucas Oil in 7 minutes, I had a great time attending the events of Gen Con 2020.

To end the annual event, I attended the Arkham Horror LCG Card Council held live on Twitch to design a new card for Arkham Horror: The Card Game. I got to be a part of the in-person card council last at Arkham Nights 2019 held at the Fantasy Flight Headquarters in Minnesota. I helped design the card, “Shrine of the Moirai BETA”. Matt Newman mentioned during the live stream that this card is coming up in the next cycle!

The Fantasy Flight Team leveraged Twitch polls and chat to help design a new card based on Romana Kendelic’s artwork from Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game. The art is from Ian Hardaway’s Uncanny Presence card from The Sleeper Below series.

The new card will be for Arkham Horror: The Card Game and will be tagged with “BETA” until it is play-tested and released with an upcoming campaign. We spent over an hour debating the class, what makes this card playable, its name, its trait, and what the card does. The conversation + chat + and polls made the whole process enjoyable and productive.

Here’s what the “Exiled Council” came up with…

  • Name: Burn After Reading
  • Class: Survivor
  • Level: 1
  • Text: Discard or Exile a non-weakness card in your hand or play area. Discover clues equal to half that cards level rounded up. If you exile that card, remove one doom from the current agenda.
  • Cost: 2
  • Trait: Insight
  • Icons: Will & Intellect

Fantasy Flight Games announced on Twitter that they made a print-and-play version of the card and linked to a high-resolution PDF in the game’s support area. Some changes were made.

“Burn After Reading” BETA card created by the Council-in-Exile at Gen Con 2020

Thanks to Fantasy Flight and especially, Matt Newman, Jeremy Zwirn, and Evan Johnson for hosting a great event! Hopefully, we will get to see each other next year!

Arcade Cabinet Upgrade: Custom Acrylic Sign with RGB Backlight

As someone said, “always leave things better than you found them… especially people.” I have co-opted this motto in my life. I try to help others and upgrade things that I love on a daily basis. I can’t get a lot done each day, but I can do something. Every. Day. Over time, the changes really add up!

I recently was looking around my game room for some inspiration for a quick project. I have a custom arcade cabinet based on RetroPie running on a Raspberry Pi attached to a smart TV. It has been a lot of fun playing my video games from 30+ years ago. My project this time was to add a custom acrylic sign with an RGB backlight. I wanted the cabinet to look more like an actual arcade cabinet.

My go-to site for graphic printing is Signs.com. I have used it many times for upgrading Arkham Horror: The Card Game and for other projects around the house. I designed a sign using Adobe Illustrator and got it made out of acrylic. I cobbled together vector logos of many of my favorite systems plus the RetroPie logo and named the arcade cabinet, “The Scharcade”. See what I did there? Do you see it?

I used an RGB Led Strip with IR Remote Control as a backlight for the sign and to edge light the TV screen. The IR remote is handy to change the color of the lights. Just make sure that you expose the IR receiver on the power supply so you can change the color from the front of the cabinet.

My upgrade to the upgrade was to frost the arcade cabinet sign to make it look better. The original sign was completely transparent and you could see the lights shining through from each one of the LEDs. LEDs love diffusers. To fix this issue, I used Rust-Oleum Frosted Glass Spray Paint on the backside of the sign. I tested out the spray paint on a scrap piece of acrylic. I was really worried about ruining the custom sign. Once I was confident with the results, I went ahead and sprayed one even coat of the paint on the backside of the sign. It takes about 20-30 minutes in order for the paint to activate. I wanted in anticipation for 20 minutes and I gradually saw the clear acrylic turn frosted. I was really happy with the results. The 20 minutes felt light an eternity.

Arkham Horror: The Card Game Acrylic Player Mats

I recently built a board game table that included custom Arkham Horror: The Card Game artwork inspired by The Dunwich Legacy expansion. I love the artwork and the look of the table when playing Arkham Horror.

I was looking around BoardGameGeek and Etsy for any player mats that I could print out and use to play Arkham Horror: The Card Game. While searching, I thought of an idea. “What if the player mat was on transparent acrylic? Then, you could see the awesome artwork on the game table through the player mat.”

I reached out to MomoMonsterCo on Etsy to see if they would provide the artwork assets for their player mats as individual files with transparent backgrounds. They sent me a link to the files a few days later and I had them printed on acrylic using the Custom Acrylic Signs option on Signs.com. These were not cheap, but I really love how they turned out.

Elfa Utility Board + Cricut Hacks

I recently updated my board game design workshop with Elfa custom shelving. Elfa is provided by The Container Store.

Light Fun Game Design Workshop

Warning

If you like stuff organized and have things put away into bins, stay away from The Container Store. I am addicted to organization hacks and The Container Store is my drug of choice.

Cricut Cutting Mat Storage

The sticky cutting mats used for the Cricut cutting machine are really important to keep dust free and stored properly. I never know what to do with them. I now store them on the Elfa Utility Board using a slim hook. This keeps the mats in a convenient place and protected from accidentally sitting things on them. Also, write the date of their first use on them with a marker. The mats do not last long, but I recommend using the Monicut brand of mats. The Monicut mats are about 66% cheaper and work just as well.

Cricut Tools

The Elfa slim hooks are also perfect for hanging the Cricut tools. By handing up the tools, you get easy access to them and keep the sharp parts out of the way.

Magnetic Storage Bins

The Elfa Utility Board is made out of metal and magnets like metal. Over at the Dollar Tree, I found magnetic storage bins for $1. This is a great deal. The bins also have a clear lid. I use them to store game components and keep them in view while designing games.

Building My Own Board Game Table

Thou shalt not covet. When it comes to board game tables, I am almost willing to break a commandment. Very fancy board game tables have popped up at conventions, Kickstarter, and Etsy. I want it.

Board Game Table on Etsy

In most cases, a game table is just a dedicated surface for playing all manner of tabletop games. They usually include a spongy surface for being able to pick up cards and tokens easily, a wide frame to place your cards or area to write, and cup holders.

I decided to make my own gaming table.

The decision to make my own versus buying was helped by the fact that I had an attic filled with two-by-four pieces of wood and a giant 6’x3′ sheet of subflooring. The previous homeowner was in the middle of some unfinished woodworking projects. Since the sub-flooring sheet was 6’x3′, I made that my dimensions for the table. This also means that many gaming mats will fit perfectly. Gaming mats are like giant mouse pads with a print and made of a spongy backing.

Design

My design was simple. Build a 6’x’3 frame out of the two-by-fours. Add table legs. Put 6’x3′ subflooring panel on top. And, finally frame the whole thing to give the table a small ledge. I used 6″ oak panels from Lowes to build the ledge. The ledge is a separate piece so I can swap out the gaming mat if needed or clean up spills without ruining the whole thing.

Tools and Things

I didn’t have any woodworking tools. So, I assembled a short list of tools and things needed to build this table…

  1. Snacks
  2. Beverages
  3. Friend with tools
    1. Miter saw
    2. Power drill and screwdriver
    3. Power sander
  4. Screws
  5. Corner brackets
  6. Sandpaper
  7. Pre-stain
  8. Stain
  9. Polycrylic sealer

To keep the costs down, I bribed a friend to help me. They get a lifetime pass for gaming action on a cool DIY game table… and, snacks and beverages. The main tool needed was a miter saw. This was used to make nice straight cuts. Other tools needed: power drill to drill holes for screws and a screwdriver to screw the screws into the holes.

Table Frame

I was only trying to make sure that the outside dimensions were 6’x3′. I made up the configuration on the spot.

Table Ledge

The ledge acts as a frame around the sub-flooring panel. This gives you a nice place to hold cards or write notes. I used corner brackets to square up the ledge and used the sub-flooring panel as my guide.

Table Assembly

The table is three separate parts: frame, subflooring surface, and ledge. Obligatory selfie. First Game = Arkham Horror: The Card Game.

Finishing

For a while, I tried to talk myself out of sanding and staining the wood. The wood had sharp edges and rough spots. It took some convincing, but I decided to finish this off and it made a huge difference. The finishing process took way longer than the assembly.

My Process

  • Sanding – so much sanding – this creates a lot of dust – wear a mask – be prepared to clean up dust for months – use 80 grit first, 120 second, and 220 third – be patient
  • Pre-staining – apply pre-stain to the wood and let dry – this really helps with staining or so YouTube says
  • Staining – apply stain within 2 hours of the pre-stain and repeat
  • Sealing – use a water-based polyacrylic sealer to seal the ledge – this will help with spills and cup rings and protect the wood or so YouTube says – let dry for 30 minutes – lightly sand with 220 grit and repeat two more times – it’s worth doing this as many times as you can fit into a weekend

Going Next Level

Deep-Cut Studio creates custom gaming mats for any size surface. I uploaded a custom piece of art to enhance my Arkham Horror: The Card Game campaign. Deep-Cut is based in England and it took less than two weeks to get my custom gaming mat. More on that on a later date.

Get Automated Email with the Latest Arkham Horror: The Card Game News

It’s hard to follow what’s going on with Arkham Horror: The Card Game without consistently checking out the Fantasy Flight Games blog. Fantasy Flight publishes several posts per month and they cover many of their active game properties. The news articles about Arkham Horror: The Card Game are important. Fantasy Flight often announced special events where they give out promos for participation or when they announce new products where you get promos by pre-ordering directly from them. It is possible to generate an RSS feed of just Arkham Horror: The Card Game news. I use IFTTT to monitor the RSS feed and send me an email when new posts are published about Arkham Horror: The Card Game.

Here’s how to get an email when the latest news gets announced on the Fantasy Flight Games blog:

Check out more Arkham Horror: The Card Game tips, checklists, and stories chronicling my latest game obsession.

Nintendo Switch: My Happy Place

Becky surprised me with a gift. I unwrapped the Nintendo Switch in front of my family. I didn’t contain my joy. Memories of my brother and I playing the original NES flooded back to me. The Nintendo Switch is a portable and dockable game console. I have always had a soft spot for Mario, Zelda, Kirby, and Donkey Kong and the Switch has them all covered. My first order of business was signing up for Nintendo Switch Online and getting access to the library of NES games.

My happy place is playing Tecmo Bowl for the first time since 1989.

Meeting Richard Launius, Designer of Arkham Horror Board Game

As the story goes, Richard Launius designed a board game based on the Call of Chutulu RPG. Richard was not able to get time to play the RPG while raising his young family. He took matters in his own hand and created a game that he could play. He was able to pass the time and at the same time create a new era of board games. Games that were cooperative and still provided competition. Everyone in the Arkham Horror board game is fighting off insanity and encountering unmentionable horrors in a world inspired by H.P Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos. The game took over 10 years for this to catch on in the mass market. Now, there are many Arkham Horry themed and styled games. You can now buy an updated version of Arkham Horror and expansions published by Fantasy Flight Games.

At the Buckeye Game Fest in 2015, I was able to meet and chat with the legendary game design. He was awesome and told me about the early days, mail order games, and reworking the original game to what it is now.

Gaming with Edo Interview About Building Game Design Communities

I really love building communities. And, I really, really love tabletop games. After moving to a new area for my technology career, I wondered how I could meet other game designers, publishers, and playtesters. After reading Mike Selinker’s book, Kobold Guide to Board Game Design, I decided to create a game design workshop using the book as its basis. A lot has changed since the book was first published – Kickstarter, legacy-style games, and Kickstarter – to name a few. My workshop fills in the gaps with hands-on exercises and discussion using the very latest research and references. The workshop is live and in-person which I really like for board games since they exist in the physical dimension.

Through some mutual contacts, I got introduced to Eduardo Baraf’s work. Edo has built a community on YouTube and is always putting out fresh content. He is also publishing some really high-quality games and supporting a large community of backers on Kickstarter with Pencil First Games. We started talking about his efforts and my projects, and Edo decided to have me on his YouTube channel, Gaming with Edo. It was a blast and an honor to be a part of his show. My episode is called, Q&A: Hans Scharler – Game Design Workshops.

Thanks for having me on, Edo. I look forward to your new game and video releases.