[⚔Swords & Stationery✐] “Visual cards” as gaming and teaching aids

When playing tabletop RPGs, I use and re-use these handouts which I call “visual cards” to better illustrate the imagery of the scene. However, I’ve also found visual cards to be very helpful and, more importantly, cost-effective when teaching various concepts. Read on to find out more about them.

Visual Cards layout

What visual cards are

In a nutshell, they’re A7-sized laminated cards with pictures. That’s really all there is to them.

Why use visual cards

There are a few reasons why I use visual cards for teaching and for gaming:

  1. They’re cost-effective. You can print up to 4 visual cards on one A4-sized paper. All you need are a ruler, a cutter, a colour printer and a laminating machine w/ laminating sheets (the last three are probably the costlier items in the list, but I find them to be a good investment).
  2. They’re easy to do. You can easily get ideas off Google Images.
  3. They’re re-usable.
  4. They’re multi-purposeful. Want to use them as story cards? Check. Make games or flash cards out of them? Check.

Creating visual cards

It’s a snap to create visual cards, especially if you have Adobe Photoshop. If you don’t, Microsoft Word works too. Below is a set of instructions to help you get started, using Microsoft Word as our main application. Do note that while this tutorial is easy and straightforward, it assumes some basic familiarity with Word on the reader’s end.

The first thing you’ll want to do is to download the Visual Cards Template.

Next, copy and paste your first image into the template. Make sure it’s wrapped in front of text, like so:

tut1

Slowly adjust the image until the main part of it is inside one of the four central boxes. If you need to make fine adjustments, use the arrow keys to move the image around. The lines extend all the way to the edges of the document to assist you in cutting out the cards.

The template assumes portrait format for your cards, but you can have landscape ones too by rotating your images:

tut2

Repeat the steps above until you’ve got four images in your central boxes, like this:

tut3

If some of the images are too large and are eating into that of other images, you might want to trim them a bit in Paint. Once done with everything, you’re ready to print and cut them out. Remember to print for A4 paper, and don’t enable scaling in your print options.

Wrapping it up

There are a lot of things one can do with visual cards. In the featured image above, you can see some of the visual cards that I use for games, but they work fantastically in an educational setting too. You’re only limited by your creativity. I hope this tutorial has been helpful. Let me know what you think of it, and do share your results too should you decide to try out visual cards in your games or classes. Thanks for reading, and have a great week ahead!

-Jim

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