Frequently Asked Questions about PlayThinker

Questions about the digital version

What is the digital version?

The digital version of PlayThinker is a PDF formatted for double-sided printing at home or at a local printing shop. Here is a sample of what a card sheet looks like. Printing instructions are included in the PDF.

Are there restrictions on the use of the digital version?

You are welcome to make copies and give them to friends for free, and you are welcome to send the PDF to friends so that they can print copies themselves. Are you running a class or seminar? Print as many as you need, and your students can even take them home afterwards.

But please don't stick the PDF on torrents for strangers, and don't resell the PDF, or PlayThinker decks printed from the PDF. $1 isn't a big asking price!

How is the download delivered to me?

PayLoadz handles payment and delivery. You pay through PayPal or credit card or whatever, and PayLoadz emails you a download link.

How do I get the best printing results?

The PDF is formatted for printing on A4-sized document paper. At 300 DPI, it produces cards of approximately the same size as the printed version of PlayThinker. If you're printing on other paper sizes, it is best to center the print region vertically and horizontally on the page; this ensures that the fronts and backs of the cards will align properly.


Questions about the printed version.

Who manufactures the printed version?

The Game Crafter (TGC) does, located in Madison, Wisconsin, USA. They're a company specialising in print-on-demand board games and card games.

How are my cards shipped to me?

TGC ships via USPS Priority or USPS First-Class, or you can pick up from their facility. Shipping within the US is estimated to take 7–10 business days, and international shipping 12–15 business days.

TGC's site has more information on shipping.

How big are the cards?

The cards are 65mm x 90mm (2.5" x 3.5"). The printed area on each card is 50mm x 75.5mm (2" x 2 15/16").

What do the cards feel like?

To me they're similar to the property cards from a Monopoly set. They are printed on 165lb card stock. They're not plastic-coated like playing cards are, but they're smooth and don't feel fragile.

Is the plastic box the only packaging option?

Yes. Cardboard boxes crush in your bag, they get wet, and they wear out and tear. Ain't nobody got time for that!

I have a product quality complaint, or my cards haven't arrived!

Please report it on TGC's Shop Support Forum, or if it's a private issue, please email TGC directly.

Buy the digital version! ($1, instant download)

Or buy the printed version! ($10 plus postage)


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Questions about PlayThinker and related tools.

Why do cards have different icons?

Each player-game interaction is sorted into one of seven categories. Aside from being another tool with which to compare and contrast interactions, these categories are also used in some of PlayThinker's game variants to help you deal with things like genres and not-so-random idea generation.

How many card types are there?

There are 3 instruction cards, 6 Positional cards, 6 Indirect cards, 4 Constructive cards, 4 Destructive cards, 3 Inquisitional cards, 4 Modificational cards, and 7 Goals and Challenges cards.

What other tools might I like?

For other card decks: For software tools:

Why isn't PlayThinker a web tool?

I think that the physical nature of the cards complements the process of brainstorming with PlayThinker. You're shuffling ideas, drawing them randomly out of a pile. You can throw ideas around, put them back into the deck, shuffle them around on your table, even position them to show how they nest and relate. It's more intuitive to work this way than to work within the confines of a screen.

Wasn't there a free version of this before?

I stopped updating it when I made this professional version. You can still find it here, but the cards are smaller and some of the descriptions are a little confusing.

Who designed PlayThinker?

Desi Quintans from Cowface Games. I tend to go by the name Cowface in the gamedev community. You can contact me if you like.

What third-party stuff went into this website?

I used CSS Globe's Easy Slider plugin for the image slideshow. I used Sintony for all the headings.