Bard Cards (Songwriting Prompt Card Game)

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  • @ianuarius  Mar 3

    So, based on FAWM d20 (and some encouragement from @brrrse I started to make a design for a card game of sorts, where you draw cards and make a song based on them.

    Here's a sample:

    So now I've gotta come up with different cards for it. Here's a list of the first batch of 18:

    If you have ideas for the cards or names or what they do, I'm all ears for suggestions!

  • @brrrse  Mar 3

    These are really cool! @ianuarius ! Thank you for tagging me, but this is all you! Own it!

  • @barbara  Mar 3

    Eye-pleasing AND inspiring! I had no idea you had these talents too! That card by itself could be a challenge thread. I'll be excited when you have these available.

  • @ianuarius  Mar 3

    Here's a few new ones:

  • @alyxanderjames  Mar 3

    OMG, this is wonderful. I would pay money for these!

  • @nancyrost  Mar 3

    What a cool project!

  • @ianuarius  Mar 3

    @alyxanderjames you may get your wish 😁

  • @ianuarius  Mar 4

    Ok, here's the first batch of cards. Anything you'd want to have more of, or...?

    I think the first printable set is going to have 108 cards. So, 5 more like this.

  • @ianuarius  Mar 4

    How's this...

    I'll draw a card about the person (or songwriting persona) who gives me the best card idea. 😁

  • @brrrse  Mar 4

    Those are fantastic!!! and I'd love to see some FAWMers contribute ideas 😀 This is really cool Ia!! I cannot wait to have a deck!!

  • @owl  Mar 4

    @ianuarius how cool!
    How about separate Lyrics and Music decks so you can draw ideas from both or neither as desired?

    How about: borrow an out-of-key chord (my favorite), alter the number of bars between chord changes or the length of a measure, harmonize the vocal or a lead line with a different instrument, write a verse from a different character's point of view?

    You should also maybe look at the Weekly Challenges from this year and past FAWMs for ideas.

  • @nancyrost  Mar 4

    I've created a post listing previous Weekly Challenges, in case that's helpful:

  • @ianuarius  Mar 4

    Oh btw, I'm not going to credit anyone giving me ideas, no matter how good or how plentiful. It's just such a hassle and I'm so lazy that it would just bury this project altogether. Hope you understand. Maybe if I'll get a secretary. 😁 If you still want to offer ideas, free of attribution, just CC0, for me to use in any way I like, fire away!

    @owl I gotta think about that lyrics deck idea. Currently, I think the cards really build around the "Theme" idea and that you can always build things around just getting more theme prompts.

    I can think of a few lyrics-only ideas, but if you have them, then I'm sure I could include some as like "artifact cards" or something. 😀

    @nancyrost That is super helpful!

  • @mattfoole Mar 4

    This is great. I could do a whole 80s album using these cards!

  • @ianuarius  Mar 7

    Here are some new ones. 😀

  • @songsville  Mar 7

    Nice work! Please steal from my 50 tips video

    Edwin's Top 50 Songwriting Tips
    01 Boxify your titles
    02 12 Box Your Album
    03 Album Per Quarter
    04 Moodboard
    05 In Parallel, Several on the Boil
    06 Partial Rhymes
    07 Interesting Time Signature
    08 Spotlights
    09 Accidental Note
    10 Accidental Chord
    11 Sing! No Instrument or Chords
    12 Speech-Derived Rhythm
    13 Try a Mode
    14 Improvisation from a standard
    15 Write down the melody notes
    16 Placeholder Nonsense Words
    17 Minor
    18 Same Chords Verse and Chorus
    19 Octave Melody
    20 Break
    21 Pedal Tones / Drone
    22 Penta No 2nd/6th m or no 4th/7thM
    23 Rearrange Guitar / Volume whilst singing
    24 Looping and NoodleComping
    25 Dreams
    26 Use a Cool Chord: mM7, mM9, 11, Slash
    27 Use an Even Cooler Chord: 7b5, 7#9, 7+, 6/9
    28 FEEL IT!
    29 First Touch, First Word
    30 Short Intro / Chorus First
    31 Every 5 Seconds
    32 Ditch a Verse or two / Over-write

  • @songsville  Mar 7

    33 No Chorus
    34 Try a Key Change
    35 Hybridise Two Styles / Change a Song's Style
    36 Ventilated Rhythm
    37 Dynamics, Light and Shade
    38 Make the Chorus a Verse
    39 Alt Tuning
    40 Children's Song
    41 Riff / Motif
    42 Through-Composed
    43 LandSong
    44 Lyrics First
    45 Poem
    46 Instrumental Chorus
    47 Congruency Test
    48 Eyebrows / Ham it UP
    49 Audience Participation
    50 Object Writing / Object Poeming

  • @tcelliott  Mar 7

    Nice list, @songsville.

  • @ianuarius  Mar 7

    @songsville Indeed an amazing list! I'll be going through this and see if I'll be switching things around with the base set.

    If the bas set sells well enough, I'll be doing a lyrics cards expansion set. 😮

  • @metalfoot  Mar 8

    This is REALLY a great idea.

  • @tcelliott  Mar 8

    @ianuarius and @jendistad - I don't think it'll work the way I want it to, but you know what would be cool? If these were sold on the Fawm merch site. I wonder how much work it would be to do a FAWM edition (just having the FAWM logo or lettering somewhere on the art. Might be prohibitive. And unnecessary.

    Just a thought. You can ignore me now if you'd like.

  • @ianuarius  Mar 8

    @tcelliott I could definitely make maybe a few FAWM exclusive cards that are only included in the decks ordered from the store. I think it's a great idea, but it's a bit of a logistics hassle, I would imagine.

  • @coolparadiso  Mar 8

    This is good on so many different levels. Awesome idea and the cards look great!

  • @tcelliott  Mar 8

    @ianuarius It would probably depend mostly on how they are produced. An on-line store such as we discussed earlier would probably prevent the Fawm store from carrying it. If one were to invest in production and shipping then it would be easier for the store but more time/money invested.

    But if you end up going with an on-line, in demand production service for the decks, you could have a special fawm edition that had a few Fawm only cards (be cool if you had like Morph or Antie Sin or Exquisite Corpse cards of some sort) with a small surcharge that you would then donate to fawm. Reduces your risk and still makes it available.

  • @ianuarius  Mar 8

    Here's the second batch. Four left.

  • @tcelliott  Mar 8

    Sweet! You used reversed audio. I didn't think it'd make the cut.

  • @johnstaples  Mar 8

    @ianuarius this is such an awesome idea! When can I buy my deck???

  • @ianuarius  Mar 8

    Thanks @johnstaples 😀

    I'm trying to get all the cards done in about two weeks. Not sure if there's a process to getting them on sale, but hopefully this month.

  • @johnstaples  Mar 8

    I want a deck!!!

  • @ianuarius  Mar 9

    I wrote two versions of a basic rule set for the game that you may or may not use as you prefer. Gimme some feedback, please. 😀

    Ideally I'd like to have the rules to fit a single card in the deck.



    Official Rules (verbose)

    Bard Cards are designed to be songwriting prompts. There is no one correct way to utilize them; you decide what works for you. Here is one idea to get you started:

    Each card can have multiple prompts, such as theme, challenge text, and additional rules (such as tempo and time signature).

    Shuffle the deck with as many cards in it as you'd like.

    Start your song by drawing two cards and combining their themes together. The first card's theme is the main theme of the song that doesn't change. The second theme is a sub-theme that you may change with every new card you draw.

    Draw a card from the deck after each section (such as intro or verse).

    Pick at least one prompt from each card you have drawn, whether it's a new theme, a chord progression, or something else. You can even use all of them.


    Official Rules (brief)

    Bard Cards are designed to be songwriting prompts. There is no one correct way to utilize them. Here is one idea to get you started:

    Each card can have multiple prompts (theme, challenge text, and additional rules e.g. tempo).

    Shuffle the deck.

    Draw two cards and combine their themes together. The first theme is the main theme of the song that doesn't change. The second theme is a sub-theme that you may change.

    Draw a card from the deck after each section (e.g. intro or verse).

    Pick at least one prompt from each card you have drawn.


  • @tcelliott  Mar 9

    I like the first one, and think it explains it well enough. But I would include the second as "Here's another idea:" Ie., include both.

  • @ianuarius  Mar 9

    They're the same thing. Other is just shorter. I'd like to have as little text as possible.

  • @tcelliott  Mar 9

    Well, the second one says the bit about combining the themes better than the first, I think. Simpler is better.

  • @ianuarius  Mar 9

    I decided that @songsville will get the card made after him, if he wants. Just let me know if you have an idea for the name and/or picture.

  • @ianuarius  Mar 9

    Here are a few fun ones from today:

  • @tcelliott  Mar 10

    Looking good, Ia, and you're producing them at a remarkable rate.

  • @metalfoot  Mar 10

    1 word: Kickstarter 😉

    No, I'm sure that would be way more hassle but you've got something really cool and amazing going here, Juha. I'm really blown away by your creativity.

  • @tcelliott  Mar 10

    Honestly, that wouldn't be a terrible idea. You'd have to get an idea of production costs and shipping and all that. I would imagine to get it off the ground you'd only need a modest campaign. And you could judge how much interest based on the success (or lack thereof) you had with kickstarter. And you'd always have the option to fall back on one of those production on demand sites (like the one songfight! used.)

  • @barbara  Mar 10

    Not only do these look like they'll easily kick off inspiration, your sense of humor showing through makes it fun to just browse through them.

  • @snoozin  Mar 10

    I think kickstarter is a viable idea.

  • @ianuarius  Mar 10

    Thanks everyone. Kickstarter is really the only viable crowd sourcing platform out there. Unfortunately their requirements make using it illegal in Finland.

  • @metalfoot  Mar 10

    Well, shoot. Having said that, there are a lot of reputable custom card deck manufacturers out there. Pick one, order 100 decks to start with and based on the FAWM response, you're probably half-way there already.

  • @ianuarius  Mar 10

    More like 20 decks. 😁 I don't have any room for storage.

    Anyway, here's the next batch of cards:

  • @metalfoot  Mar 10 -- print-on-demand manufacturer, you can set your own price/margins, don't have to have inventory sitting around

  • @ianuarius  Mar 10

    @metalfoot Yea, we were looking at that with TC. Looks promising. Thanks. 😀

  • @ianuarius  Mar 10

    I made a tiny little app for Windows which allows you to shuffle and draw the current cards.

    You might get warnings that it could be harmful, but that's because I literally just compiled the program myself and threw it to my website. It's not a "well recognized" piece of software and of course you should always be wary of such things. Just know that I at least didn't try to purposefully make malware. 😁

    Here's a screenshot:

    I might make an Android version at some point. I used wpf for now because I know it well and it allowed my to make a working version quickly.

  • @metalfoot  Mar 10

    I did get a warning, I overrode the warning, Windows ran an anti-malware scan on it and deemed it safe... for now... 😉

  • @ianuarius  Mar 11

    Ok, here's an Android version of the app. Had to get back to Java after a krhm... few years, but it seems to work fine. Let me know if you have problems. 😀

  • @johnstaples  Mar 12

    @ianuarius , tried to install. Allowed my phone to scan it was deemed safe. Then tried install...I have phone set to allow installs from 3rd party sources. But it finishes with "App not installed" message. Tried several times...same thing. LG G4 phone running Android version 6.

  • @ianuarius  Mar 12

    @johnstaples That's unfortunate. Somebody suggested that doing both V1 and V2 signature versions for the apk might help so I did another build with them:

    Beyond that, I unfortunately don't have much time to spend on debugging as I need to get on with drawing the rest of the cards. 😀

    Hopefully the fix helps.

  • @johnstaples  Mar 12

    Thanks @ianuarius ! That worked! These are delightful and I want a physical deck of them as soon as you get them ready for sale!

  • @ianuarius  Mar 12

    @johnstaples Glad to hear it! 😀

    I'll get to work. 😁

  • @timfatchen  Mar 12

    I want a physical deck too. Will Pay Money.

  • @writeandwrong  Mar 12

    Very cool! I'd love a physical deck, @ianuarius ! These are genius! 😀Maybe you could work out something with the FAWM Gods to sell them in the FAWM Merch store 😀

  • @ianuarius  Mar 12

    @writeandwrong Thanks! I'm all for selling them in the FAWM store if it's easy to do.

  • @writeandwrong  Mar 12

    @burrsettles, a possibility?

  • @ianuarius  Mar 14

    Here are some more cards:

  • @tcelliott  Mar 14

    These are all well done.

  • @mishykatz  Mar 15

    I will buy a deck or decks...bring them on!

  • @ianuarius  Mar 20

    All the cards are now ready. Still need to proofread them and see if I want to redraw some really bad ones. Then I need a back for them and a logo and box art. And gotta figure out how the production end of things works. 😁

  • @zoom  Mar 20

    wow ! Very cool ! 😀

  • @coolparadiso  Mar 20

    the app is great it works on my android phone - but i have followed this thread since the start and i am in for physical deck as well. I teach songwriting at festivals and they would be great! might even drum up some more purchasers!

  • @ianuarius  Mar 21

    Designing the card back and the logo is already done. 😮

  • @tcelliott  Mar 21

    Dang, dude. You're rocking the card design.

  • @ianuarius  Mar 21

    So finally something that I made that's not a complete disaster? 😉

  • @ianuarius  Mar 21

    Box done... everything done! Ordering test deck today. Hopefully we'll have them on sale very soon.

    Price point will be around $34.99, but we're discussing possible launch discount! 😮 Exciting...

  • @tcelliott  Mar 21

    I'll be in line to buy at least one deck.

  • @johnstaples  Mar 22

    @ianuarius that packaging is looking sweet! Are there 54 cards in the deck? What is the size of the cards? Are they the ones in your Android demo? Is the box designed to be reused as a card container or more just for initial delivery?

  • @ianuarius  Mar 22

    @johnstaples Thanks!
    - There are 108 cards in a deck.
    - They're the regular poker/mtg size.
    - They include the ones in the android app and 54 more.
    - I'll know more about the box when it arrives, but I assume it's like the box that comes with playing cards.

  • @johnstaples  Mar 22

    @ianuarius I am very excited to get a deck when they are ready!

    If I were you I'd go ahead and start joining songwriting forums where they allow pitching products (or even if they only allow a sig with product pitch!)

    In my experience it is fairly common for someone to have a really good idea but quite rare to see it through to such a professional product! What you have produced is incredibly professional while being super clever and totally useful to your target audience!

    As I said, I cannot wait to get my hands on a deck and I will be happy to promote you in the various songwriting places I frequent online! You have created something really special here and I wish you great success!

  • @ianuarius  Mar 22

    @johnstaples You do have a point about the promotion stuff, but I have never been on any songwriting forums and if you just create an accopunt and post an advertisement... that's generally really frowned upon.

    I also think that it's A LOT more effective, if well-known, active personalities from those forums post about products that they're excited about. I can promise, that if there's ever going to be an expansion set, active promotors like that can have their ideas made into cards (as long as they're within reason). 😀

    Thank you for your high praise. 😮

    Here's another 3D render:

  • @mikeskliar  Mar 22

    just finally saw this thread now-- looks like a great idea! and yes, would be great to have a a set of the actual physical cards!

  • @alyxanderjames  Mar 22

    Excited to hear how the proof deck turns out, and to order one when they're available to the rest of us! 😁

  • @berni1954  Mar 22

    I'd take this deck over a tarot deck any day!

  • @ianuarius  Mar 22

    @mikeskliar @alyxanderjames @berni1954 Thank you! 😀

    If anyone wants to help, sharing this thing in the social media would seriously give me a boost! Time to get people excited about Bard Cards! 😁

  • @hummingbear Mar 22

    There is a Twitter handle of BardCards already and the#BardCards tag is used for some storytelling and Shakespeare cards. There aren't many hits though. Maybe the tag #SongBardCards? If there were a #SongBardCards Twitter account, songs made with the cards could be linked to the product, reciprocity will draw more attention. And for other websites a badge or logo that links to purchase site? FWIW.

  • @hummingbear Mar 22

    A more expensive option would be to set up a couple of giveaways at songwriting websites or events, could collect emails for a mailing list too.

  • @ianuarius  Mar 22

    @hummingbear Giveaways are not out of the question. The twitter linking idea is great. Gotta figure out a sensible way to open the twitter account. Maybe we gotta get a domain first for the email. Or create stupid temp emails. Seems I'm creating a lot of accounts for different products lately. Hard to keep track and they don't seem to serve much of a purpose, but maybe with this one!

    Of course, the card pdf sheets will be available so that people can print the cards themselves if they want to.

    EDIT: Oof, people use the #bardcards hashtag like once a year on twitter. I think we can just hijack that. 😁

  • @hummingbear Mar 22

    Yup, there's kinda a chain of choices to be made, gotta have a plan so when this takes off like wildfire (fingers crossed) you're ready for it. : )

  • @ianuarius  Mar 22

    First instinct is to wing it. If it does take off, that's a happy problem.

  • @bethdesombre  Mar 22

    Wow -- this is cool!

  • @iveg Mar 23

    I just saw this. I'm going to try it out now, dropping little pieces of paper onto my iPad to select cards

  • @writeandwrong  Mar 26

    @ianuarius , I don't mind sharing if you want. My Twitter account is mostly indie artists, stations, and a few friends from my Sierra On-Line/ImagiNation Network days, including Larry Laffer from Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards 😉 These cards are awesome!

  • @johnstaples  Mar 26

    @ianuarius I was not suggesting you spam songwriting forums! 😀 That would def be counter productive!! I suggest you join them and participate. Do the work to become a member of the communities. Then you may be able to move a bunch of these.

  • @ianuarius  Mar 26

    @writeandwrong Thanks, that would be great. 😀

    @johnstaples Hmm, yeah. I don't really have the time to participate, nor do I believe I'd have anything substantial to offer anyone on a songwriting forum.

    I don't believe in doing everything yourself. I don't have the resources to do that sort of marketing personally. It's just never going to happen. Maybe if we sell a lot of copies I can pay someone to do the marketing. Someone who is already an active member on such forums. It just makes sense. It's a one-minute job for a person like that, but a hundred-hour commitment for me. And I don't even really want to do that. I'm not that social of a person.

  • @johnstaples  Mar 26

    @ianuarius if you find a way to sell stuff without doing the work please lemme know! 😁 But seriously, if you want anything significant to come from others doing the promotion you might want to come up with some sort of affiliate/commission program. Otherwise you may get one or two mentions and then it will all dry up. I think you have a really cool concept here but it can take a lot of marketing to get even cool concepts to take off and bring in something substantial that is sustainable. Another approach might be to find a company (like Cards Against Humanity) already set up with marketing and give them a big cut to do it all for you.

  • @ianuarius  Mar 26

    @johnstaples Sure. I'm not a marketing guy so it will probably just dry up. I'm... semi ok with that. Whenever I start doing marketing, I just hate my life. I hate it so much. If me not doing marketing means that nobody will buy Bard Cards then that's probably how it's going to go. I'd rather just work in an office testing virus protection software 9-5 than do marketing. And perhaps that's what's going to happen one day.

    Thanks for the suggestions. I'll maybe look into those. Probably not. Sorry.

    Me asking people to share this is me doing marketing. And I even hate that so much that I almost didn't ask. If people don't want to do it, then I'm assuming they don't. That's all there is to it.

  • @johnstaples  Mar 26

    Yeah, I sure do get the marketing avoidance! I hate it too! And direct sales is even worse!! I'd love to see you hook this up with someone who already sells songwriting books and resources because I really think you have created something awesome here!

  • @coolparadiso  Mar 26

    I am with @johnstaples i think its really good stuff and wish it could get out in the market. But you gotta do what ya gotta do. If the marketing is not your thing and no one comes out of the woodwork so be it. Its your decision to make, be silly to be unhappy! No one can take away the great idea and the lovely little App.

  • @writeandwrong  Mar 27

    @ianuarius, done deal! (No pun intended, of course! 😉 )

  • @ianuarius  Mar 27

    @writeandwrong That's wonderful! 😀 Thank you very much.

  • @writeandwrong  Mar 28

    @ianuarius , you are very welcome 😀

  • @ianuarius  Apr 11

    And the prototype arrived. Probably need to make some adjustments, but overall, I'm happy with these.

  • @tcelliott  Apr 11

    Love that blaster master card.

  • @johnstaples  Apr 11

    @ianuarius stop teasing us and take our money already!

  • @iveg Apr 12

    Congrats! They look great!

  • @ianuarius  Apr 15

    Bard Cards are now available for purchase!

    Get one pack for yourself and several more for those friends of yours who don't use the internet that much. 😁

  • @tcelliott  Apr 16

    Got one coming and will spread the word.

  • @ianuarius  Apr 16

    @tcelliott Thank you very much! With your help we'll get rich! 😁

  • @alyxanderjames  Apr 16

    Hooray! I'll be ordering my copy as soon as I get paid next week!

  • @ianuarius  May 24

    Here's a little video of the cards in action!

  • @timfatchen  May 24

    Yeah well I was sold to begin with. But I've blown my entire budget for April May and June on (forced) computer changeovers, and blown my looper up to boot, so can't buy till sometime in July 😞 Plugged on my FB pages

  • @ianuarius  Jun 4

    If you order now, you'll probably get them before 50/90 starts!

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