Card Frames Part 2: Shadowverse and Hearthstone


I feel like it's cheating to put Shadowverse on here, as the game barely even qualifies as having frames. The game forgoes a normal card frame in order to capitalize on being a digital card game, one where you can hide all of the information behind a quick tap or click on a card. As such, the average Shadowverse card looks something like this.

Imperial Dragoon

I like this a lot. The border of the card denotes rarity, with the above card being a legendary, the game's highest rarity. The small colored gem in the bottom center denotes which of the game's eight classes it belongs to, if it belongs to one at all. The resource cost and name of the card are incredibly easy to read, and the lack of an on-card rules test allows for the artwork to really shine, even when it really, really shouldn't.

However, if Shadowverse was a game where all the bodies had no effects, all the spells did nothing, and all the amulets just took up board space, that would make for a boring game. Luckily, the game does have rules text on most cards, it's just not displayed on the card. The rules text is quite good, explaining what most of the keywords are by tapping on them from the text box (i.e. tapping on the word “Fanfare” in the text box for “Master Mage Levi” will make a small textbox explaining what it, and other keywords on the card, do) and being clearly readable in terms of font styling (note, serif fonts can help people with dyslexia, if you use them then you get bonus points).

Shaodwverse has a really good frame, with my only complaint being that it doesn't take full advantage of being a digital card game when cards are on board, having effect icons slowly flicker between the two instead of having multiple icons at the same time, and occasionally reusing effects for similar abilities in cases where distinction is important (partial vs. full damage reduction). It also sacrifices flavor in the frames in order to show card rarity, a double edged sword in my opinion.

Shadowverse card design rating. Readability: 5/10. Having the card effect reduced to a small menu is okay, but could be better in my opinion. Good choice of font, and card stats and name are quite large Efficiency: 6/10. While every pixel of the card is used by something, it's used in a way that, again, moves the text box away from the card. Flavor: 4/10. The ornate design of the card frame and the full art cards do help, but choosing to denote the frame for rarity is severely limiting.

Shadowverse total K-Score: 15/30.

There's a lot of potential in the SV frame, but it's a shame it won't be fully used.


This frame is a lot like the inverse of the Shadowverse frame. Rules text is printed on the card, the border of the card is used to denote its class alignment, and the small gem in the center of the card is used to denote its rarity. However, this all leads to a far easier reading experience. Though it uses a sans serif font in the rules text, it bolds any keywords such as taunt and lifesteal. Minion effects are often presented on the board as visual effects, such as a shield for taunt minions or a windy aura around the card. There isn't much to say as, like I said, it's almost the complete opposite of the SV frame in many aspects. Look for yourself

The Lich King

Hearthstone card design rating Readability: 8/10. Though it doesn't use a serif font, the bolding of keywords and the way hovering over a card displays everything including keyword definitions make this quite an easily readable game Efficiency: 7/10. The border is quite large, even if it is used to denote class, so it loses a few points here, but that aside cards use the space they are given quite well, without a need to scroll to read half of a card's effect because it isn't well compressed Flavor: 7/10. Hearthstone's aesthetic isn't anything original, but with everything from the card backs to the class borders everything has a wonderful Warcraftian flare to it.

Hearthstone total K-Score: 22/30

The Hearthstone frame is an incredibly good frame as a basis for a digital card frame, if you want a standard, look no further.

MtG and YGO K-Scores

MtG: Readability: 9, Efficiency: 9, Flavor: 7, total: 25

YGO: Readability: 3, Efficiency: 3, flavor: 2, total: 8