As a firm believer in gaming as both a hobby and a personal growth mechanism, I’m naturally inclined to support any interest my daughters have in any game. My oldest (6) is wildly in to Pokemon the TV show, and many of the associated things like ‘stuffies’ and figurines. She has a Pokemon Encyclopedia she has all but memorized.
It should come as no surprise then, that I introduced her some time ago to the Pokemon TCG. Our decks of choice are the Keldeo vs. Rayquaza duel decks, a fine introductory product even if Keldeo is a bit overpowered. For those not aware, Pokemon decks like these come with a paper play surface that describes all the key areas and overall is a wonderful introduction to the game. The big downside being that paper has folds, and it doesn’t quite hold the proper number of benched Pokemon. With my previous success making a custom play mat with Inked Gaming, I knew if she took to it I would be crafting a Two Player Playmat for us.
There are some Pokemon Playmats available, and there are Two Player versions that have all the card locations the starter mats have. I knew I wanted something that wasn’t available anywhere however. The look I most wanted to emulate was the Pokemon TCG Online default play surface (pic).
I really liked the bright colour palette and the Pokeball at the center. I thought something like this would really help get Olivia in to the game a bit more. I also just really wanted to do this little project and see if I could make it work.
Designing the Mat
After watching some YouTube videos on how to make starbursts in Photoshop I gave that a go without much success. I just couldn’t get it looking the way I wanted. In the end I found the perfect background using a selection from a Texture Pack I found using Google Image Search. The image I found was a bit too dark for my taste, so I ended up placing it at 50% opacity over a lighter blue background with some light blue -> transparent circles to give the Pokeball the glowing effect.
The Pokeball in the middle is once again the result of a Google Image Search. After finding one that looked nice a clean I added some embellishments to give it a more unique feel. One of the Pokemon Playmats on Inked Gaming helped a lot here.
The last main elements were the containers for the cards themselves. I used sizing based on cards-in-sleeves, since I only play with sleeved decks. The biggest challenge was the Prize Card area; many playmats show the full 6 cards stacked in some way but when I tried it I didn’t like the result. I ended up choosing a size that ‘looked’ correct relative to the rest of the board, and can easily hold 6 cards spread-out. It’s also good to know that my daughter and I usually only play to 3 prize cards, so the less-defined space gives me some wriggle room in the regard.
The playmat I initially submitted to Inked Gaming was the following:
See the obvious problem? Trademarked Logos are a big no-no, and I was asked to remove them and re-submit. Not a problem and I kind of expected that but wasn’t sure, Kind of sad because I really like that look on either side of the center.
Above you can see the modified final design. After rethinking it I decided to add some of my daughters favorite characters to the mat, to give it a personal touch. I also didn’t label the containers, which in some respect I regret, but I like the cleaner blank containers overall. You can see a stylized picture of the final product over on my Instagram feed. It looks even better in person.
If you would like to use my .psd file on dropbox as a starter for your own mat you are more than welcome. I would appreciate a tag on Instagram or some other notice, just so I know if people are liking it.