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Personal Project | 2014-2017

Jester's Trade

Project Owner & Manager:

- Systems Design

- Content Design

- Component Design

- Rules Writing

- Testing management

- Budgeting

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Project Description

Jester’s Trade is a trading based card game for 3-6 players, where lies, sleight of hand and all around swindling are allowed. In the game, collect cards, worth positive and negative points, and attempt to trade them in order to have the highest valued hand at the end of the game. All the while, players are allowed to say or do anything about their offers in order to entice other players into accepting their trade.


When creating Jester’s Trade, I had the idea of a social card game that was simple to understand both mechanically and visually. Through multiple iterations and testing, the game now is clear and easy to

pick-up and play.

While developing Jester’s Trade, I spent a considerable amount of time, polishing the game in an effort to eventually publish. This involved a lot of work that I had never done before, and was one of my first deep delves into the areas of advance game testing and quality assurance itself.


It didn’t take long to bring the game into a polished state. The bulk of my time went into refining the game in two main areas: Readability & Cost


Original Game

After the design requirements were lifted, the cards were shifted to by Poker dimensions (2.5" x 3.5"). While not being as trickster friendly, they are significantly easier to handle and costed far less.




Amount based on per unity in 1000*

When it came to readability, I had re-written the rules over 30 times, bring them to new players with each test to make sure they play and understood the game without any aid. I even took the rule booklet to professional writers and proofers, who helped me refine my rules even further. 


With regards to cost, I had to make multiple changes to make sure I would be able to produce within a reasonable budget. This entailed a lot of industry cost research and reshaping the components to be in-line with industry standards. After multiple tweaks, from changing card and packaging sizes and including extra content, after comparing the old and new development costs, the price reduced, on average by about 40%

On Reflection:

I am very proud of what I accomplished  with Jester's Trade; with over 130 hours of development, and dozens of iterations, I was able to get past a ton of roadblocks that physical games often hold. However, this wasn't without it's struggles that I could have avoided with some better planning and management skills.

- Concepting Layouts in-tandem with writing rules

- Conducting market research earlier

- Wasting time and money on purchasing the trademark for Jester's Trade (yes, I did that)

- Errors in prototype manufacturing orders

What Jester's Trade became is something I will hold in my memory for years to come. However, if I dealt them earlier in I might have either been able to successfully publish the game itself, and not wasting so much time and money on useless prototypes and legal matters.

As of today the game is technically in a fully publishable state, but while I wait for an opportunity, I plan to try and find solutions to lingering cracks in the design; from player count rulings to the length of play.

The Team:

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Me: Jared Ciano
Project Owner & Lead
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Greg Mingles
Graphic Designer
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